Nutrien acquires startup Agrible, Inc. for $63 million

Nutrien, a publicly traded Canadian fertilizer company and the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, acquired Champaign, Illinois based startup Agrible for $63 million on August 1. The deal marks an important gain for Nutrien toward growing its retail business, and delivering customers the best products, services, and agronomy advice. The acquisition helps…

agrible2

Nutrien, a publicly traded Canadian fertilizer company and the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, acquired Champaign, Illinois based startup Agrible for $63 million on August 1. The deal marks an important gain for Nutrien toward growing its retail business, and delivering customers the best products, services, and agronomy advice.

The acquisition helps Nutrien scale up its capabilities and leverage Agrible’s suite of ag tools designed to help farmers optimize their growing decisions, planning, and logistics.

Agrible is a digital agricultural company using predictive analytics and data science to equip farmers with better information and insights. Agrible’s software tools help connect farmers with ag, food, and consumer products companies to drive sustainable crop production.

The Agrible brand’s primary digital product offerings include Morning Farm Report®, Spray Smart®, Nutrient Engine and Find My Seed®, and it boasts large U.S. food and beverage company customers including Frito Lay, General Mills, ADM and AB InBev.

SPN recently spoke with Paul Miller – Nutrien’s Head of Science and Analytics, formerly the Chief Science Officer at Agrible – about Agrible and the acquisition deal. According to Miller, Agrible was founded to put agronomic predictive analytics in the hands of growers.

The founding team recognized and wanted to respond to what they saw as the incredible potential for agronomics and the economic and societal benefits to farming stewardship. They believed that they could develop the informatics technology to optimize farm sustainability and profitability – and set out to do just that.

Agrible was founded in 2014 and has 55 employees under the Agrible brand now part of the Nutrien family. Miller explained that many at Agrible have either themselves deep agricultural roots on a family farm, or personal and professional ag connections. Agrible built an A-team of experts from engineers, developers and designers – to meteorologists, geospatial analysts, atmospheric and data scientists – to marketing, sales, and innovation gurus. Miller calls Agrible’s technology the “best predictive analytics platform in ag – built for and by growers.”

Miller recalls one of the memorable moments for him at Agrible was the launch and first sale of the platform. He said that achieving scale and delivering a great product to farmers makes him proud of what Agrible built. Agrible reached three million acres in a year of launch, and almost 20,000 users on the platform with over 10 million acres at the time of acquisition by Nutrien.

Miller notes that he sees a generational shift in which younger farmers are accustomed to using online technology and mobile applications and want that agility in their operations. Agrible technology offers this to farmers. Agrible’s Morning Farm Report, for example, provides one of the highest delivery statistics for a daily email currently available to farmers, according to Miller.

The platform’s permissions permit sharing among the users of the individual farming operation all the way to scalability at the scale of Nutrien’s with its customers, which creates great facility for everyone.

Miller said the acquisition by Nutrien made a lot of sense based on Agrible’s goals, and the team saw a great alignment for Agrible’s excellent data science and analytics platform with Nutrien’s massive retail business. The acquisition of Agrible by Nutrien means more automation and better insight, understanding, and knowledge for growers – earlier and more seamlessly.

Agrible leadership, when approached by Nutrien, was keenly attuned to Agrible’s business while balancing the risks and interests of investors; they knew they wanted a strategic partner, not just an acquisition. They were careful and thoughtful about the decision, Miller noted, because they knew they had worked hard to build a great platform and team and could demonstrate great value to farmers.

The acquisition opportunity came about unexpectedly. It was “an amazing experience that you only understand once you live through it, and it was truly a revelatory experience to become part of Nutrien’s vision. Balancing life with building a team and a company from the ground up was not easy – it was the most difficult, but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” recounts Miller.

Miller said the team is excited about the opportunities for continued scale and prospect to reach growers in every part of the world.  Mike Frank, President of Nutrien Ag Solutions, stated in a press release,

Agrible has developed a very impressive set of digital agronomic and sustainability tools which can be immediately incorporated into our existing digital platform. These will strengthen the unique omnichannel offering that we have created by combining the independent knowledge and customer focus from our local agronomist network and our extensive distribution system, ensuring our customers get the best products, services, agronomy advice and e-commerce convenience. Agrible has also developed an industry leading sustainable ag platform and solution, developed through strong partnerships with some of the world’s most prominent food and beverage companies. We are excited to welcome Agrible’s talented team to Nutrien Ag Solutions’ digital organization and to expand our presence into Champaign, Illinois,” added Frank.

Nutrien has 20,000 employees, and its President and CEO is Charles Magro. See the companies’ websites for more information: https://www.nutrien.com/ and https://www.agrible.com/.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

Sign up to receive daily updates in your inbox.