When Mike Prorock decided to move back to his former home state of North Carolina after living in the northeast, he purchased a farm that he intended to operate. But, he had a lot of trouble getting details about his own soil.
Prorock wanted to know the ground’s temperature, the makeup of the soil, and what would thrive on his farm based on that information.
His background in data analytics helped him solve this information gap. After talking to several farmers in the area, he founded Mesur.io in 2016 to help them all make informed, more sustainable decisions about their crops.
“The challenges are multi-fold. If you understand the ground soil temperature, you understand the right time to plant,” says Tom Rump, who joined the team as CEO shortly after its founding.
“If you understand the makeup of the soil, you can narrow down the best crop to plant and what companion [crop] would work best,” Rump explains.
Prorock, now CTO, and Rump created and commercialized Mesur.io’s agriculture data platform, Earthstream.
The platform brings in any available data — weather, satellite, USDA soil sample data, aerial drone shots, and more — together in one place. The company also provides a proprietary sensor that captures real-time soil moisture, temperature, humidity, and light.
The platform then runs a prescriptive model to give the user a suggested crop list and planting schedule to make more sustainable decisions over time about everything from pesticides to irrigation.
“If a threat or pest is coming and you need to apply a pesticide, it would be better to know ahead of time so that you can put the correct application out in order to avoid that issue,” he says.
The startup targets three different markets — agriculture, golf courses and turf management.
On the agriculture side, Mesur.io is working with larger enterprises like Bayer Crop Science and Cotton Incorporated.
When on-boarding these agricultural clients, the team installs any sensors needed for the project and uploads local climate data and any customer-provided data.
Golf courses looking to prevent brown patches can use Mesur.io’s technology to measure soil moisture, temperature, and disease modeling, setting up their irrigation schedule in line with incoming weather patterns to save energy and water.
Mesur.io’s two-way API capabilities also allow them to push data into any existing platform the client already has in place.
“Any data element that we have can be reported. For example, you can track current precipitation, plus go two years back to review, and easily export a report about the changing weather at your property,” says Rump.
He explains that their differentiator is the data science element to their platform, which is agnostic as to the source of data, unlike competitors.
The team went through the Techstars Austin accelerator in 2018 and has more than 20 customers across the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan.
They’re also working with research teams at the University of Tennessee, Purdue University, Rutgers University and Cornell University to develop advanced plant disease modeling.
“These projects in plant science will help us with our data science and modeling as upcoming pests or threats emerge,” says Rump.
Mesur.io raised a pre-seed round earlier last year, plus a small bridge round in the fall. Now, they’re raising a seed round to add to their software engineering team and further penetrate the market by gaining larger enterprise clients.