Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE: VMI), a global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and irrigation equipment and services for agriculture, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Israeli ag tech company Prospera Technologies Inc., a privately-held Israeli-based AI company, focused on ML and CV in agriculture. The transaction, valued at approximately $300 million, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Founded in 2014 by CEO Daniel Koppel, Shimon Shpiz, and Raviv Itzhaky, Prospera is an agriculture technology data company that develops intelligent solutions for farmers to grow crops more efficiently. The company develops both hardware and software solutions that collect and analyze multi-sensor data with state-of the-art machine learning algorithms.
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Israel has always been at the forefront of agricultural innovation and development. Back in the 19th Century the early Zionist pioneers drained swamps and found ways to irrigate their crops in areas with little or no water. Israel literally learned how to grow vegetables in the desert.
In the decades after its independence, Israelis went to third world countries in places like Africa to help the local peoples with their farming and to teach them the techniques they themselves had developed in Israel. It was an Israeli version of America’s Peace Corps, a decade before it was started by President Kennedy.
Now Israel is best known as Startup Nation with a wealth of high tech startups. So it makes sense that the country uses high tech to innovate in agriculture.
Prospera explains that optimizing agriculture with data is extraordinarily complex. The number of relevant parameters is massive, their interactions varied and hard to predict. The company analyzes field images with Convolutional Neural Networks to identify pests and diseases, monitor agro-technical activities and collect yield data. It uses Deep Learning techniques to solve multi-dimensional planning and assignment optimization problems across massive data sets. And it extract insights from multiple data sources that are harmonized in an advanced Big Data framework.
“Today’s acquisition is a testament to our commitment to make the farm more efficient and increase productivity while dramatically improving sustainability. Building on the successful partnership with Prospera, we are accelerating our commitment to provide services that enhance the lives of our customers and the communities in which they operate, as well as finding new ways to achieve higher crop yields using less – land, water, chemicals, fertilizers, fuel and time,” said Valmont President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen G. Kaniewski.
Kaniewski continued, “Over the past two years we have delivered a widely-adopted, differentiated grower offering and significantly accelerated the deployment of AI technologies on irrigated acres, positioning us well for strong, highly-accretive growth of technology sales over the next several years. We are excited to welcome the Prospera team to Valmont and collaborate to commercialize technology for growers with unique in-season capabilities, while having a positive impact on our planet and enhancing long-term stakeholder value.”
“Our strategic partnership has demonstrated the unique combined value of Prospera’s capabilities and Valmont’s agricultural expertise and market leadership,” said Prospera Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Koppel. “This combination is the fastest way to scale impactful ag-tech solutions. We are excited about the future and the opportunity to continue to further our work to feed an expanding global population through our machine learning technologies that allow growers to make more informed, efficient and scientific decisions.”