When I joined GrainBridge as CEO in April 2020, I was excited about our vision. As a joint-venture between ADM and Cargill, we had the financial backing, expertise, and data to help farmers become more profitable by building data-driven grain marketing software.
Of course, visions need to be translated into reality. My charge was to transform GrainBridge from an agricultural company (that built software) into a software company (in agriculture).
During my first week, the team told me that we wouldn’t be able to release a product until 2022. …
Agriculture is responsible for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Given the scope of the general problem of sustainability in agriculture, I’ve been researching how to address carbon emissions at the farm level. Since the market is focused on carbon sequestration, that’s where I’ve focused my attention.
Why is carbon sequestration such a hot topic? My working thesis is as follows:
On Clubhouse, there are plenty of conversations you might hear in a Palo Alto coffeehouse (product management, VC, bitcoin, Gamestop, the nature of consciousness, and the role of media), but virtually nothing about the most important industry on earth: agriculture. To try to change that, my friend Jake Joraanstad (CEO of Bushel) and I decided to host a room earlier today devoted to AgTech.
Thanks to all of the people that joined, especially the speakers. We had Sachi Desai (AI+strategy at Climate Corp), the legendary Matt Walsh, Adam Bercu (founder of Kiwi Technologies), Hector Ferndandez (formerly Cargill who joined during…
Last week was huge for AgTech, with $610m raised between two companies: Farmers Business Network (FBN), which raised a $250m Series F at a $1.75b valuation and Indigo Ag, which raised another $360m of funding, bringing its series F to $535m.
To deliver superior software that helps farmers to feed the world, I hope both companies have allocated cash to make acquisitions.
Let me give some context.
During late night college musings with friends two decades ago, three interconnected ideas dominated our thinking: (1) Humans would live twice as long, (2) There would be a renaissance of ideas, since every inch of the planet would have have internet access, and (3) Computing power would be effectively free, giving rise to advanced artificial intelligence.
With respect to (2), though I now appreciate the limitations of global internet coverage (RIP to OneWeb), we’ve done remarkably well on internet access. As Ben Evans highlights in the chart, 90% of adults on the planet have a mobile phone and 80% are…
I’ve moved to Omaha. And no, I’m not working for the Oracle.
As of April 6, I became the new CEO of GrainBridge.
Neither COVID-19 nor my sabbatical could keep me out of the ring for long. Let me tell you a little bit about the company and what got me so excited that I moved in the midst of a pandemic.
Sometimes when I choose a new adventure it might look incongruent. I went from Zite, building an intelligent news recommendation system to Descartes Labs, where we were building a digital twin of the planet. …
We shut down society because of a model. How much do you know about the model governing your state? Though I’m glad that science is driving policy, all of us ought to learn more about these models.
Marc Andreessen famously predicted that software is eating the world. In a nod to the Father of Netscape, Steve Cohen and Matthew Granade argued that models would run the world in an op-ed on August 18, 2017.
How to get to California when you don’t want to deal with the petri dish of international airports?
A road trip, of course!
This weekend, I hopped in my car and started driving west, with San Francisco—eventually—as my target. My planned route is roughly through southwestern New Mexico, into Arizona, and then less clear. If COVID-19 turns into a zombie apocalypse-style pandemic, I can hide away for a month in a remote haunt in the Southwest.
My trip’s main goal is to reconnect with my friends and network in the Bay Area. I spent a month in San Francisco last…
It’s already been an exciting new decade for me. In early January of this year, I passed on the reins of Descartes Labs to a new CEO and I became Executive Chair of the board.
I’m so proud of what the team at Descartes Labs has built over the past 5 years. At over 100 Cartesians strong, we’re tackling the toughest problems for some of the world’s largest organizations, and we’ve never forgotten our commitment to better understanding the planet. All of that we did in an unlikely place, New Mexico. …
Satellites and other earth data sources can help us better understand the planet. It’s encouraging to think that in an effort to track and prevent illegal logging, we’ll be able to know, rather than estimate, exactly how many trees have been cut down in the Amazon. It’s exciting to envision the capacity to accurately pinpoint regions experiencing food shortages, so we can send in humanitarian aid faster and where it’s needed most.
Companies like Descartes Labs are trying to build a business by refining raw data from sensors, and applying AI to turn the data into insights about the world…
CEO of GrainBridge, an AgTech JV between ADM & Cargill. Co-founder of Descartes Labs, former CEO of Zite. Love product, philosophy, data refineries, and models.