Smart Yields

Providing Agricultural Data For Small Farmers

Company Information

Website:

https://smartyields.com/

Sector:

Agricultural Technology

Location:

Honolulu, HI

Smart Yields is a digital platform providing data analytics to small farmers.

By receiving detailed information about their crops, and real-time alerts regarding sudden weather changes, farmers can optimize their operations.

There are more than 570 million farms around the world. 87% of these are considered “small farms,” meaning they are less than 5 acres in size.

In addition to the day-to-day worrying about growing their crops, farmers worry about such factors as the temperature of food storage and sudden climate changes. For small farmers, shifts in the weather can have a significant financial impact, while unexpected droughts and floods can put them out of business entirely.

With its state-of-the-art technology, Smart Yields provides a solution to these farmers. Here’s how it works:

Farmers access the platform via a computer, tablet, or mobile device. The platform enables them to view their crop output and see any changes in activity. Farmers can also view satellite images of their farm, enabling them to see crop conditions and stay on top of any issues.

At the same time, Smart Yields sends real-time text messages regarding unexpected changes in weather. This enables farmers to take action and potentially save their crops in the event of a cold front or flash flood.

One major apple grower, for example, used Smart Yields to save his multi-million-dollar crop. He received an alert warning him of an unexpected frost, and was able to take the necessary action to prevent his apples from being ruined.

Smart Yields also offers plant sensors that can be placed directly in the soil or in storage areas. These sensors monitor soil and temperature conditions, and provide detailed information to farmers looking to optimize their growth.

One farmer, for example, kept losing his produce because he wasn’t able to continuously monitor the crop’s storage temperature. Using Smart Yields, he received alerts and could take action when the temperature passed the threshold he set.

Over time, Smart Yields’ platform gathers the data it collects from each farm. Farmers can access this data and make more informed decisions about their own crops.

Smart Yields offers three subscription models:

The Monitoring plan is $14.99 per month, and offers text alerts for climate-related events.

The Starter plan is $49.99 per month, and includes environmental sensors and access to the platform’s mapping system.

And the optional Irrigation Add-On for $99.99 per month includes additional sensors that monitor soil temperature and moisture levels.

Smart Yields launched in 2015. Since then, the company has achieved considerable progress. For example:

In late 2015, the company completed the Blue Startups accelerator. This program provides mentorship and capital to Hawaii-based early-stage companies, and was recently recognized by MIT’s School of Management as one of the “Top 20 U.S. Accelerators."

In 2017, Smart Yields completed the Elemental Excelerator, a program investing in startups focused on sectors including energy, water, and food & agriculture. This program previously guided five companies to successful exits, including Spider9 (a tech startup providing renewable energy storage solutions that was acquired by Pathion) and BrightBox Technologies (a company developing heating and cooling control systems for commercial buildings that was acquired by NEXTracker.)

And SmartYields was one of nine companies chosen to present at the inaugural Laudato Si’ Challenge tech accelerator in Rome, Italy.

Smart Yields received additional funding from Vega Ventures, a professional investment company, and earned a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This year, the company was named Hawaii’s “Most Innovative Company” by the U.S. Small Business Administration Awards, and won the 2018 Pacific Business News Business Leadership Hawaii award for “Best in Small Business.”

Smart Yields has customers in four states and two countries. By the end of 2019, the company aims to expand to nine states and three countries. To fuel this expansion, Smart Yields is working with the 3rd-largest Farmers Union in the U.S., which represents more than 25,000 farms.

The company tripled its revenue growth from 2016 to 2017, and is on track to achieve 10x growth this year.

Team Background

Vincent Kimura - Co-Founder & CEO

Vincent has more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience.

Prior to starting Smart Yields, he spent nearly 10 years as CEO of Inovi Green, a company that helps businesses implement environmental strategies through technology solutions.

He previously served as Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Pacific Basin Economic Council, an association working to facilitate business in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2016, Vincent was named Clean Tech/Ag Entrepreneur of the Year by the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, and was a finalist in the Pacific Business News Business Leadership Awards. He was also named to the Pacific Business News’ 2016 “40 Under 40” list, which recognizes outstanding business professionals in Hawaii.

He began his career as an accounts coordinator for KPMG, a global consulting group.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and an MBA through Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Jeff Frank - Co-Founder & COO

Jeff previously worked for Elemental Excelerator, an accelerator program supporting early-stage companies in the areas of energy, water, and food & agriculture.

Prior to that, he worked in the U.S. Senate for six years, and was a senior research analyst at The Brookings Institution, a research company focused on economics, foreign policy, and government.

Jeff previously founded and sold an online startup. He earned Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science, as well as a Master’s degree in Applied Economics.

Ryan Ozawa - Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer

Ryan has more than two decades of experience in communications and community building.

He previously co-founded Hawaii Open Data, a charitable organization dedicated to adopting open data policies in the state.

He hosted a popular talk show on Hawaii Public Radio called “Hawaii News Now.” In addition, he was a columnist for Honolulu Civil Beat, a science and technology website.

Ryan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Hawaii.

Axel Hollanda - VP of Engineering

Axel oversees Smart Yield’s technology division, and brings nearly two decades of experience in IT, engineering, and product development to the role.

He previously served as a partner for CT&H Consulting, a business management data analytics-driven consulting firm. In addition, he was Research and Development Manager for FUCAPI, a private university located in Brazil.

Axel worked as a senior electronics engineer for Diebold Nixdorf, a technology company specializing in manufacturing service transaction systems such as ATMs.

He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

Brandon Fowler - Software Engineer

Brandon works alongside Smart Yield’s VP of Engineering Axel Hollanda.

Brandon was previously an intern on the Research & Development team of Genesys, a company selling call center technology systems to medium- and large-sized businesses.

He recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

Cody Young - Customer Success Manager

Cody handles customer relations for Smart Yields.

He brings domain experience to the position, having served as an organic farmer from Indiana.

He was a horticultural supervisor for Greenleaf Landscaping, and a gardener for Willow Wind Organic Farms in Washington.

Cody earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Indiana University.

Co-Investors

Blue Startups

An accelerator providing mentorship and capital to Hawaii-based early-stage companies. Recognized by MIT as one of “Top 20 U.S. Accelerators.”

Elemental Excelerator

Program investing in companies focused on areas including energy, water, and food & agriculture.

Vega Ventures

Professional investment company focused on companies in the healthcare, business services, and real-estate industries.