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Tenacious Ventures seeds Geora, which uses NFTs for agtech

The Australian company Geora stores and verifies all of its agricultural data on its permissioned Ethereum network.

Melbourne, Australia-based Tenacious Ventures has announced the ninth investment from its inaugural agtech venture capital fund, leading the A$1.5 million ($1.1 million; €946,400) seed round of agtech-fintech start-up Geora.

Tenacious led the seed round via its first fund.

Geora bills itself as having the first SaaS blockchain platform in agriculture that links traceability data with financing solutions.

The seed round funding, also backed by NAB Ventures and Flying Fox Ventures, will be used to bring more finance solutions into the Geora platform through relationships with banking partners and the blockchain ecosystem.

Geora’s customers pay a monthly subscription to access a standard set of digital tools available in its platform. Information from the farm and along the supply chain is aggregated to a single asset record and stored as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Geora platform, a permissioned Ethereum-based blockchain.

NFTs are unique digital assets that can be bought and sold over the internet. Many people know of NFTs for the virtual sale of such items as artwork, music, and other entertainment and media items, including trading cards. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million.

The number of items being turned into NFTs is growing and their use also includes verifying identities, property rights and more, such as how Geora uses them to authenticate its agtech data in the blockchain.

“A key feature of the platform is being able to certify some sort of action within the blockchain layer itself and have a third party attest to that being a fact – so it’s not just a self-declaration that something is organic, say. It helps overcome the challenge of greenwashing… being able to secure the data that backs a certificate, holding that on the blockchain,” Geora co-founder Bridie Ohlsson told Agri Investor.

“The really exciting stuff we have raised money for is [what that data means] for being able to finance that farmer, either through directly financing the asset record and having asset-backed finance, which is quite novel still when you look at agri lending, or using this real-time data flow to innovate around how a product is delivered.

“So, can we pay an advance on the finance while the asset is still in the field because we have great visibility over that asset, for example?”

The company is also hiring, expanding its remote team with new roles in Sydney and Singapore.

Fund I at 60 percent

For Tenacious Ventures, its first fund held a final close of A$35 million in mid-2021. This surpassed its initial fundraising target of A$30 million and included cornerstone commitments of A$8 million each from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Grok Ventures.

Matthew Pryor, Tenacious Ventures co-founder, told Agri Investor – an affiliate of Venture Capital Journal – the latest investment in Geora takes the fund to 60 percent deployed, including reserve capital for follow-on investments.

The Geora investment is also Tenacious’ ninth publicly announced deal, with Geora co-founder Ohlsson saying the company was sure from “very early on” that it wanted Tenacious to lead the seed round if possible.

Among the fund manager’s other investments are: waste management start-up Goterra; autonomous agricultural vehicle platform SwarmFarm Robotics; US-based carbon marketplace Nori; cellular agriculture company Vow; digital crop protection platform RapidAIM; sustainable protein company Nowadays; and crop management and analytics firm Regrow.

On the prospect of Tenacious Ventures raising a second fund, Pryor said: “We are definitely spending more time thinking about what a Fund II would look like but have not come to any concrete decisions on timing or size yet.”

This article first appeared in affiliate publication Agri Investor