May 5, 2021Valmont acquires AI firm Prospera for $300 million
Irrigation leader Valmont Industries announced May 5 it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prospera Technologies, a privately held Israel-based artificial intelligence (AI) company focused on ML and CV in agriculture.
The transaction, valued at approximately $300 million, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Since 2019, Valmont and Prospera have successfully integrated AI technologies with center pivot irrigation to develop real-time crop analysis and anomaly detection solutions, resulting in strong adoption and greater returns for the grower. Leveraging Prospera’s unique technology, the partnership has expanded its intelligent solutions, monitoring five million acres in 2020 against an original estimate of one million, with twice as many growers using the service as compared to 2019. Grower adoption is expected to double in 2021 with greater acceleration in the near-term.
“Today’s acquisition is a testament to our commitment to make the farm more efficient and increase productivity while dramatically improving sustainability. Building on the successful partnership with Prospera, we are accelerating our commitment to provide services that enhance the lives of our customers and the communities in which they operate, as well as finding new ways to achieve higher crop yields using less — land, water, chemicals, fertilizers, fuel and time,” Valmont President and CEO Stephen G. Kaniewski said in a press release.
“Over the past two years we have delivered a widely-adopted, differentiated grower offering and significantly accelerated the deployment of AI technologies on irrigated acres, positioning us well for strong, highly-accretive growth of technology sales over the next several years. We are excited to welcome the Prospera team to Valmont and collaborate to commercialize technology for growers with unique in-season capabilities, while having a positive impact on our planet and enhancing long-term stakeholder value.”
“Our strategic partnership has demonstrated the unique combined value of Prospera’s capabilities and Valmont’s agricultural expertise and market leadership,” said Prospera co-founder and CEO Daniel Koppel. “This combination is the fastest way to scale impactful ag-tech solutions. We are excited about the future and the opportunity to continue to further our work to feed an expanding global population through our machine learning technologies that allow growers to make more informed, efficient and scientific decisions.”
Combining capabilities to accelerate industry leadership
- Unique, Disruptive and Differentiated Value Proposition. The transaction will create the largest global, vertically-integrated AI company in agriculture, immediately providing a highly differentiated in-season solution. Using the pivot as the digital data hub, this solution brings demonstrated, advanced agronomy and unprecedented visibility to the field, enabling the grower to take immediate action to remediate issues. Leveraging Prospera’s technology and Valmont’s global reach and omnipresence on the field, the combination will create the first commercially available subscription model of its kind, providing innovative and disruptive solutions to help growers lower costs, increase yields, use less land and save time.
- Catalyst for Growth. Strengthens and expands total addressable market by pursuing opportunities beyond traditional, pivot-based irrigated acres. Accelerates technology adoption with growers and provides a less-cyclical sales contribution delivered through recurring revenue from subscription-based data analytics and insights.
- Entrepreneurial Spirit and Key Talent Additions. Adds world-class talent across technology, data science and agronomy, including Prospera’s senior leadership team and 90 colleagues, all of whom will continue with the business post-close. With senior leadership headquartered in Austin, Texas, one of the nation’s rapidly growing tech hubs, and an R&D center located in Tel Aviv, Israel, an international ML and CV center, Prospera is well-positioned to expand its unique pool of talent, continuing growth and innovation with the same entrepreneurial spirit that has led to its success.
Founded in 2014 and backed by strategic investors including Bessemer, Qualcomm, Cisco, More and Tekfen, Prospera has recently been listed among the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers and CB Insights Top 100 AI Companies, Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovationand Fast Company World Changing Ideas, and has received the AgFunder Innovation Award.
Transaction terms and financing
Valmont will invest approximately $300 million to fully acquire Prospera and the transaction will be financed through a combination of funds from available cash and the Company’s revolving credit facility. Restricted stock retention awards will be granted to Prospera employees.
The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021 and will be reported within Valmont’s Irrigation segment. Further details will be communicated at Valmont’s Virtual Investor Day on May 20, 2021.
Valmont’s irrigation equipment and services for large-scale agriculture improves farm productivity while conserving fresh water resources. Its products for infrastructure serve highway, transportation, wireless communication, electric transmission, and industrial construction and energy markets. In addition, Valmont provides coatings services that protect against corrosion and improve the service lives of steel and other metal products.
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