Announces first portfolio investment in soil analytics leader Trace Genomics
FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) announced today that it has launched FMC Ventures. The new venture capital arm of FMC Corporation is targeting strategic investments in start-ups and early-stage companies that are developing and applying emerging technologies in the agricultural industry.
"At FMC, we are investing in the future of agriculture," said Mark Douglas, president and chief executive officer at FMC. "Through FMC Ventures, we are able to quickly identify, assess and invest in emerging, sustainable technologies that will complement our technology portfolio and deliver strong return on investment."
FMC Ventures evaluates emerging technologies of relevance to the agricultural industry and will invest in those that create unique competitive advantage for FMC. Agriculture's most pressing challenges are being addressed through advances in artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, robotics, precision agriculture, biopesticides, synthetic biology and other innovations. As progress in these disciplines converge, they will radically alter how crop inputs are developed, sold and applied. The new venture capital arm of FMC will initially focus investments in these advanced technology areas.
Investment in Trace Genomics
FMC Ventures announced its first portfolio investment in Trace Genomics, Inc. With operations in Burlingame, CA, and Ames, IA, the start-up combines DNA sequencing with machine learning that not only explains how soil diseases emerge, but also identifies beneficial microorganisms that can be developed into biological products that counter harmful pathogens. Trace Genomics' technology can identify bacteria, fungi, nematodes and pathogens, as well as their interactions with each other and the plant. An in-depth analysis of microbial diversity and its impact on crops are critical data sets needed by agronomists to recommend the right biological products.
"Trace Genomics' superior sequencing and analytical approach to managing soil data will complement the growth objectives for our biological portfolio," said Amar Singh, managing director of FMC Ventures. "Understanding the important role of soil biology and accurate prediction of disease risk in fields will be increasingly important as the adoption of sustainable, biological crop protection products continues to accelerate around the world. Soil tests on the market today are insufficient to answer all the right questions in detail. Trace Genomics technology changes that."
Trace Genomics was recently selected as one of the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers, which recognizes the world's most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation.
"FMC has deep roots in the food production system worldwide—I know because I've worked with their products and technologies for over four decades," said Trace Genomics CEO Dan Vradenburg. "Having a global leader like FMC in our corner validates our investments to change how we nurture soil, our most important agricultural asset. To create a future where this planet can feed 10 billion people, we need to collaborate across the food and agriculture system. All stakeholders in agriculture—and certainly solution providers like FMC—want science-backed soil intelligence to unlock the full potential of our living soil. We look forward to collaborating with them as we expand agricultural practices and solutions to help improve farm productivity in a more sustainable manner and restore our living soil."
FMC Corporation will retain a minority equity stake in Trace Genomics. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
FMC Corporation, an agricultural sciences company, provides innovative solutions to growers around the world with a robust product portfolio fueled by a market-driven discovery and development pipeline in crop protection, plant health, and professional pest and turf management. This powerful combination of advanced technologies includes leading insect control products based on Rynaxypyr® and Cyazypyr® active ingredients; Authority®, Boral®, Centium®, Command® and Gamit® branded herbicides; Talstar® and Hero® branded insecticides; and flutriafol-based fungicides. The FMC portfolio also includes biologicals such as Quartzo® and Presence® bionematicides. FMC Corporation employs approximately 6,400 employees around the globe. To learn more, please visit www.fmc.com.
FMC, the FMC logo, Rynaxypyr, Cyazypyr, Authority, Boral, Centium, Command, Gamit, Talstar, Hero, Quartzo and Presence are trademarks of FMC Corporation or an affiliate. Always read and follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions for use. Products listed here may not be registered for sale or use in all states, countries or jurisdictions. Hero® insecticide is a restricted use pesticide in the United States.
About Trace Genomics
Trace Genomics has developed the first analytics engine that learns as it maps the living soil. Founded in 2015 by two Stanford PhDs, Poornima Parameswaran and Diane Wu, Trace Genomics helps agricultural industry professionals including agronomists and growers maximize the value of every acre. The company is building the largest, most actionable body of soil intelligence, making their customers experts on what's underground. Working collaboratively across the agriculture ecosystem, Trace Genomics has operations in Ames, Iowa and Silicon Valley. Dan Vradenburg joined the company in 2019 as CEO, bringing four decades of farming knowledge and business expertise. Positioning the company for scale and success, Vradenburg has appointed an experienced and accomplished leadership team. The company has raised over $35 million in funding.