French start-up flush with new funds to combat water scarcity in agriculture

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Weenat's solutions provide hyperlocal data to allow growers to monitor the water status of their plots and optimise irrigation systems. Image: Weenat
Weenat's solutions provide hyperlocal data to allow growers to monitor the water status of their plots and optimise irrigation systems. Image: Weenat

Related tags Water conservation Precision agriculture

Founded in 2014, Weenat provides the agricultural community with agro-meteorological data to monitor the climatic and agronomic conditions of its plots in real time, from sowing to harvesting.

The company has successfully completed a Series C funding round totalling 8.5 million euros.

The investment round was led by ECBF, the first private venture capital impact fund exclusively dedicated to the circular bioeconomy, with a total of €300 million under management.

Other investors include Pymwymic, LIBERSET, and IDIA Capital Investissement.

With a decade of experience, Weenat says it is now profitable in its core operations, boasting over 25,000 sensors deployed throughout Europe. Its network is supported by over 200 in-field partners including leading cooperatives, dealers, and food industries in France, Spain, and Germany.

In addition to collecting extensive datasets of spatialised and calibrated weather and soil water data, Weenat provides solutions to the food and agricultural industries, fostering climate-resilient practices. This blend of capabilities positions Weenat for robust expansion across Europe and beyond, it claims.

It says the funding will allow it to expand its innovations across Europe and strengthen the resilience of the agricultural community to climate change through the use of state-of-the-art technology.

Expansion and impact on farmers across Europe

Weenat claism to have pioneered the first wireless weather station connected to a mobile application. Since then, the company says it has developed a real know-how in manufacturing reliable sensors and has cultivated in-house proficiency in engineering, machine learning, agronomy, and metrology. 

“As a leading player in weather data and water management, Weenat’s ambition is to deploy its innovations throughout Europe, empowering farmers with effective and user-friendly solutions,” said the company’s founder and president Jérôme Le Roy. “In 2023, our 10,000 soil sensors resulted in the conservation of 32 million cubic meters of water. The potential impact of scaling our solutions across all fields in Europe is truly stunning.”

Innovations to combat water scarcity in agriculture

Climate change making water scarcity and management a major environmental challenge for the coming decades. This situation carries profound implications for farmers, given that agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater withdrawals, with more than half of this water being inefficiently utilised due to the lack of suitable tools.

Weenat says it is dedicated to assisting farmers in facing the challenges of water scarcity, with innovation at the heart of its strategy. Through the successful acquisition of Weather Measures, a data driven agtech start-up, in 2021, the company reinforced its R&D capabilities and remains committed to providing the farming community with cutting-edge technologies, whether through internal development or external acquisitions.

Understanding soil dynamics remains the main challenge for irrigators. Weenat has launched an ambitious R&D programme aimed at real-time monitoring of soil water content throughout the root zone depth across every plot in Europe. Launched in 2023, this programme uses data from Weenat's extensive network of soil sensors, which it claims is the largest in Europe, alongside satellite imaging and artificial intelligence.

Leveraging the combined expertise of its data scientists, agronomists, and meteorologists, the company already achieved “promising scientific results”, it claims. It will now accelerate its innovation track to provide the entire farming community with the key data for the coming years.  

“With climate change and water scarcity pressing upon us, Weenat stands out in the rapidly growing precision irrigation market for its track record of profitable growth,” said Stéphane Roussel, Partner at European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF).

Launched by the European Commission Founded in 2020 and with a total of 300 million euros under management, ECBF is focused on deploying capital in attractive and impactful companies based in the EU-27 or 16 HORIZON 2020 associated countries. The ECBF aims to catalyse the transition to a sustainable future by investing in later-stage companies with high innovation potential, favourable returns and sustainable impact.

“A first-rate founding team and a high level of scientific excellence have earnt them the trust of farmers and a leading position in France. We are really confident in Weenat’s ability to make its mark on the wider market, and excited about its potential for exceptional impact.”

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