Credit: AcreTrader

One of the preeminent questions facing our planet is how we will feed the world’s growing population, currently at 7.8 billion people. Ensuring food availability and food security is also top-of mind as research advances conversations on climate change. While we will certainly encounter (and I’d love to hear about) all sorts of projects related to food supply innovations, from precision agriculture to vertical farming, there is no better source of food than good old-fashioned farmland.

Farmland is also an excellent investment that has historically outperformed most asset classes and other forms of real estate. But buying and maintaining farmland directly is extremely difficult without local knowledge, ongoing management capabilities and large investment commitments.

That’s why Anthemis is leading AcreTrader‘s Series B round. AcreTrader provides transparency, flexibility and ease of use to people wanting to invest in farmland, while handling all aspects of administration and property management, from insurance and accounting to working with local farmers and improving soil sustainability.

Founded in 2018, AcreTrader utilizes proprietary technology to facilitate the buying and selling of land, one of the largest U.S. real estate sectors, exceeding $3 trillion in value, through a unique and streamlined customer experience. AcreTrader’s platform provides investors, buyers, and sellers with unique access to land, data, and tools enabling efficient and informed transactions.

AcreTrader carefully reviews each farm, selecting a small fraction of the total parcels considered, then places each farm offering in a unique legal entity and offers shares to investors through their online platform. And the company is hard at work to facilitate whole farm transactions, enriched data resources and to embed a suite of financial services and expand geographic distribution.

Fitting squarely into our embedded finance and insurtech thesis, AcreTrader not only democratizes access to this important asset class, but also serves as an efficient resource for asset managers. Asset management, an essential component of the insurance value chain, has been challenged since the financial crisis given the low-yield environment. Insurance CIOs are, therefore, increasing exposure to alternatives in order to better leverage policyholder surplus and provide solvency for liabilities.

Perhaps most exciting for me is AcreTrader’s extensive remote sensing and data science focus. By analysing satellite and aerial imagery, the company is developing not only a large repository of investible farms, but also a trove of important data to provide field-level information about farm sustainability. If we don’t measure it, we can’t conserve it. If it takes 500 years to produce one inch of topsoil, then it behooves us to think critically about inputs and farming practices, as they relate to the value of the property, and to its long-term productivity.

We look forward to supporting Carter Malloy, CEO, and the whole AcreTrader team on this mission.