1. Indigo Ag

A better way to feed the planet

Founders: Noubar Afeyan, David Berry, Geoffrey von Maltzahn
CEO: David Perry
Launched: 2014
Headquarters: Boston
$650 million
Valuation: $3.5 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, machine learning
Industry: Agriculture, farming

George Kavallines | CNBC

This Boston-based agricultural technology start-up is creating seed treatments that optimize the health of a plant in order to increase its yield. The aim is to use natural microbiology and tech to improve sustainability, profits for growers and, of course, consumer health. Currently, the company's seed treatments are used for five major row crops — corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton.

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In September, Indigo Ag introduced the Indigo Marketplace, a digital platform that allows growers and buyers to electronically connect with each other. Buyers are able to more easily source the kinds of grain they want, and growers can make more money by having access to a larger market. Indigo handles the grain-quality testing, transportation and payments between growers and buyers.

With more than 650 employees and seven global locations, Indigo Ag is one of the most well-funded agtech start-ups. It raised $250 million in September, bringing its total funding to over $600 million. In December it acquired Tellus Labs, a satellite imaging company. The purchase now allows Indigo to create a living map of the world's food supply to gather further information about where it needs to focus its efforts. CEO David Perry joined the company in 2015, a year after it was founded. Previously, he had run and sold two successful start-ups, one of which was acquired by Pfizer for $5.2 billion.

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