Farm Tender

Ag Tech Sunday - TeleSense appoints former GrainCorp CEO Mark Palmquist to global Board

TeleSense, an industrial Internet of Things (IoT) innovator revolutionising grain storage and securing the food supply chain, today announced the appointment of Mark Palmquist, formerly CEO of GrainCorp and current CEO ofASX-listedUnited Malt to its global Board of Directors.

TeleSensealso announced the closure of a $10.2 million Series B round of financing led by foundation TeleSense investor Finistere Ventures, an ag and food investment pioneer, and the appointment of Soren Wolck Schroder, former CEO of Bunge, to the global Board.

Australian alternative investment fund Artesian was among several institutions joining the funding round.

Artesian's investment involved participation from GrainInnovate, a $50m venture capital fund established by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Artesian to invest in startups to help drive the future profitability and sustainability of Australia's grain growers. Funds raised will be used to accelerate the company's expansion in key international markets including Australia, where TeleSense recently established a local office headed by Executive Chairman Marcus Kennedy, a former GrainsCorp executive.

Mr Kennedy, who worked closely with Mr Palmquistas part of the executive team at GrainCorp, welcomed the successful funding round and new appointments, saying: "Mark brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the grains sector, in Australia as well as the US and Europe. The strategic importance of TeleSense's grain quality management capabilities in the current local Australian conditions -with the potential of a large harvest almost upon us–should not be underestimated.

"In a presentation of theTeleSense solution to the recent AustralianAgTech Showcase held by the GRDC, Mr Kennedy singled out the opportunity that TeleSense provided grain managers to improve their grain monitoring, given the large expected grain crop that will need to be stored for longer than normal and the high utilisation of the on-farm storage capacity built over recent years in Australia.

Robert Williams from Artesian said: "A key feature of GrainInnovate is its global mandate and reach. The Fund has been established to invest in new technologies and innovation sourced from Australia and around the world that can provide value to local growers, and TeleSense is well-positioned to deliver this across its suite of grains storage monitoring products."

2A powerful mix of new investors and industry leaders with global reach, including Fulcrum Global Capital(FGC), UPL Ltd. (NSE: UPL), Artesian and Mindset Ventures, as well as existing investors such as Rabobank's Food & Agri Innovation Fund also joined the round. Schroder and Palmquist will now actively support the company's aggressive growth plans by sharing their extensive expertise and making connections throughout their global grain networks.

 "The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the inefficiencies of our global food supply chain and accelerated the digitizing of it," noted Spencer Maughan, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. "Having led both the Series A and Series B investments, we believe strongly that TeleSense is a prime visionary in redefining how grain is stored, handled and traded. Ultimately, TeleSense is creating a digital global grain supply chain that uses data to combat grain spoilage –making the supply chain more sustainable and saving companies billions of dollars in lost grain along the way."

"A grain monitoring pioneer, TeleSense brings the advances of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to the grain industry and provides the data-driven actionable insights needed to improve post-harvest grain management decisions that can have tremendous impact on supply chain economics," remarked Palmquist. "The grain industry is striving to use data to drive decision automation, but it can be a costly and time-intensive endeavor. TeleSense offers an approach that is practical, useful and delivers immediate value –making the promise of data-driven decisions readily available for the grain industry at large.

" With its suite of grain monitoring products, including the novel CellularSpear, already helping major grain players to mitigate spoilage, reduce quality degradation, reduce energy costs and increase worker safety, TeleSense will use the funding to scale to meet growing demand for its solutions. Recently establishing offices in Australia and Europe, the company will now focus on strengthening its global sales channel, speeding production and further building out its data science team to maintain its position as the primary artificial intelligence (AI) leader in the grain industry.

Schrøder added, "Having spent more than 30 years in the grain industry, I am very impressed by TeleSense's use of smart analytics and prescriptive actions to not only preserve quality, but also to optimize merchandising decisions for maximum profitability. Like with any business, success in the grain industry is all about what you know, when you know it, and how to take action on that knowledge. TeleSense enables higher quality decision making at a very competitive price." 

TeleSense provides IoT monitoring solutions that deliver an accurate view of the current and future condition of stored grain, while automating the detection and mitigation of potential issues. Meeting the differing accessibility and scalability demands of both developed and developing economies, TeleSense helps manage key risks in the world's perishable commodities supply chain. Its machine learning algorithms provide users with the smart alerts they need to effectively manage and predict grain quality, eliminate human error, ensure safety, improve operational efficiency, and increase profitability.

"Rabobank has supported TeleSense since 2018. The original mission to digitize the grain supply chain is being realized. The technology is more widely adopted and there is a growing consensus in the sector on the value proposition and the market need," added Richard O'Gorman managing director of the Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund. "Bringing accelerated and sustainable efficiency to the food supply chain is a central theme in the investments we make. TeleSense continues to be a great illustration of this theme, and we look forward to scaling the company together with an expert Board and strong group of investors."

"The complexities of the food supply chain continue to evolve, and the grain industry needs to keep pace. The ability to know real-time storage conditions, accurately predict future grain quality and optimize merchandising timing delivers higher profits," said TeleSense Co-Founder and CEO Naeem Zafar. "We are dedicated to bringing the power of data to the grain industry and helping grain growers and handlers improve their financial outcomes. We're excited to work with our investors to buy and make buy and casses with grain majors and make TeleSense products the standard for the global grain industry."

About TeleSense - TeleSenseis digitizing the post-harvest grain supply chain. Utilizing advanced IoT, real-time environmental monitoring, and cloud-based AI technology, TeleSense provides grain managers with actionable insights about their stored grain, so that they can make storage decisions easily, quickly and accurately. The company's easy-to-use sensors and app work together to continuously monitor grain and automatically send issue alerts to users, mitigating spoilage, infestation and grain quality degradation. TeleSense also retrofits traditional temperature cable systems to integrate them with its fully wireless software ecosystem. Backed by a collection of high-profile investors and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, TeleSense has offices in Europe and Australia. For more information, please visit