Trans-farm-ative Fintech


May 15, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


May 15, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


Agriculture fintech has been on the rise. Demand for food globally is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, requiring billions of dollars of investment and technological transformation to achieve. Today, the agriculture market is already massive - over the past 50 years, US farm banks have steadily decreased in number even as total originations continue to increase. In the US, farms contributed over $100b to GDP in 2020, while agriculture-adjacent industries accounted for over 5% of GDP.

In emerging markets, the opportunity is even bigger, as farm and farm-adjacent industries can account for as much as 25% of GDP. However, micro-financing for agriculture in these regions has historically been difficult to underwrite. Administering small scale loans are expensive for traditional banks, and the industry comes with a host of risks primarily relating to weather and uncertainty around yield.

A combination of fintech and AI technology is well positioned to disrupt this market and introduce efficiencies to agriculture lending both in the US and abroad. Satellite data, simulation algorithms and behavioral analytics are just a few ways that large data sets can help improve underwriting models, while innovations in digital infrastructure can reduce loan approval cycles significantly. Payments, banking, payroll, insurance and many others are also well poised for innovation within agricultural communities who have historically been underserved.

2022 saw a wave of agriculture fintech coming to the market, and we’d expect more in the coming years given the size of the opportunity. After all, lots of mouths to feed - November 15, 2022 marked the first time the world population surpassed 8m, and it also happens to be the day 19 year old Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest world No. 1-ranked singles player!

Newsletter Image 5/15/23

Portfolio News

J.P. Morgan partners with Vestwell to expand 401(k) business - J.P. Morgan announced this week that it selected the New York City-based fintech company as a new record-keeping option and to help power Everyday 401(k), Chase’s workplace savings program for small businesses. Vestwell will act as the private-labeled record-keeping solution for Everyday 401(k), allowing J.P. Morgan to provide fiduciary 3(16) administrative service, plan access to an assigned client success manager, a structured third-party administrator offering and enhanced payroll integrations. Read more

Simetrik recognized as the most innovative financial sector company in the region - Simetrik was honored in the Infrastructure, Ecosystem and Back-End category at the Financial Innovators in the Americas Awards thanks to its SaaS solution for reconciliation automation. Fintech Americas brings together banks and financial actors in the region that promote projects making finance in the Americas faster, more efficient, and more inclusive. Read more

Ocrolus adds OpenAI GPT embeddings for deeper automation in financial document analysis - The addition of OpenAI GPT embeddings strengthens Ocrolus' ability to process semi-structured and unstructured documents, such as bank statements, paystubs and mortgage applications, without human involvement. Integrating GPT embeddings from OpenAI further cements the company as a leader in creating best-in-class automation solutions for small business, mortgage and consumer lenders. Read more

MoneyLion’s Q1 2023 results highlight growth and steady path to profitability - MoneyLion reported topline and bottom line figures above expectations (+34% growth on revenue) and +$7m in Adjusted EBITDA (had guided to -$4m to breakeven for the quarter). Total customers saw a record add of 1.3m QoQ to reach 7.8m. Outperformance in Adj. EBITDA was the highlight of the quarter, and the company is transitioning to GAAP rev/Gross Profit figures. For Q2 and the full year, ML expects positive Adj. EBITDA profitability. Read more

Plaid signs agreements to migrate traffic to financial institutions’ APIs - The firm is now migrating 100% of its traffic to APIs for financial institutions, including Capital One, J.P. Morgan Chase, USAA and Wells Fargo, and has also signed agreements with RBC, Citibank and M&T, and it will migrate its traffic to their APIs in the coming months, according to a recent blog post. These partnerships recently announced by Plaid illustrate the benefits open finance can offer to consumers. Read more

Industry News

Mastercard, PayPal and Robinhood dive deeper into crypto as industry shows ‘promise’ - In recent weeks, a number of brand-name mainstream financial institutions have been rolling out new crypto products and services in an attempt to make the space more accessible. At the end of April, Mastercard, PayPal and Robinhood all independently talked about the measures they’re taking to do so at Consensus 2023 and how they are furthering their moves into the crypto ecosystem. Read more

Blackstone in talks with US regional banks over lending partnerships - The discussions come amid signs the recent industry turmoil is morphing into a credit crunch.Jon Gray, president of Blackstone, told the Financial Times his company was talking to regional banks about entering into partnerships, which would involve lenders making or “originating” loans that the private equity group can funnel to its insurance customers. Under Gray’s proposal, the insurers would pay a fee to Blackstone for directing the assets their way. Read more

Robinhood to launch 24-hour trading on weekdays in stocks and ETFs - The move is part of a growing push in parts of the financial industry to expand trading beyond traditional Wall Street operating hours. The brokerage plans to allow round-the-clock trading between 8 p.m. ET Sunday and 8 p.m. ET Friday in 43 securities, including some popular stocks such as Amazon.com, Apple and Tesla. Read more

Goldman, Microsoft, Cboe and others team up to launch blockchain network - A group of firms are joining a new blockchain system aimed at linking disparate institutional applications, potentially encouraging broader adoption of distributed ledger technology in financial markets. Participants in the Canton Network, which will start testing some features in July, say the system offers better privacy and controls than currently available. At the same time, it will achieve a scale and standard appropriate for financial institutions. Read more

Some buy now pay later users face rejection - Higher interest rates and recession concerns are challenging the business model behind services such as Affirm, Klarna and Sezzle, which say they are tightening credit standards to focus on making a profit, rather than growth. Some customers say they have been caught off guard by unexpected denials or lower spending limits when they try to make purchases. Read more

Big banks face billions in extra FDIC fees after SVB failure - Although the plan could be tweaked in the coming months based on public comment before it is finalized, the FDIC made clear that big banks will be on the hook. The agency said that institutions with more than $50b in assets would pay 95% of the fees, and those with less than $5b wouldn’t have to pay. Read more

The companies trying to make live shopping a thing in the U.S. - The market for selling goods in real time online is relatively small, but a number of start-ups and big tech names are betting American consumers will catch on. Read more

Select Financings

8fig - Austin and Israel based company which offers tools and financing to online retailers for supply chain management raised $40m in Series B funding led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. Read more

Cable - San Francisco based fraud detection and automation startup raised $11m in Series A funding led by Stage 2 Capital and Jump Capital. Read more

Charlie - California based neobank for the 62+ community raised $7.5m in Seed funding led by Better Tomorrow Ventures. Read more

Firmbase - Tel Aviv based financial planning and analysis platform raised $12m in Seed funding led by S Capital. Read more

Inbox Health - Connecticut based patient billing communications platform raised $22.5m in Series B funding led by Ten Coves Capital. Read more

Liquidity Group - New York based provider of large debt facilities and equity deployment solutions raised $40m in new funding led by MUFG. Read more

Prewave - Austria based supply chain tech startup raised €18m in Series A+ funding led by Creandum. Read more

Range - Virginia based AI WealthTech platform raised $12m in Series A funding led by Gradient Ventures. Read more

Salsa - San Francisco based embedded payroll company raised $10m in funding led by Greycroft, Better Tomorrow Ventures and Definition. Read more

ThreatFabric - Netherlands based fraud detection company raised €11.5m in Seed funding led by ABN Amro and Motive Ventures. Read more


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