Bulgaria's Ondo Solutions, a developer of smart farming solutions, has attracted 1 million euro from Eleven Ventures, Sofia Angels Ventures, BrightCap, MFG Invest, HR Capital and business angel Georgi Zahariev. The fresh capital will be invested is expansion of the business in Bulgaria and abroad.
Ondo's team develops hardware and software solutions for automated drip irrigation, precise plant nutrition and climate control for greenhouses and open fields that help famers save costs and increase crop yield. The software allows users to manage their irrigation systems from a computer or mobile device, making up for labor shortage and the lack of constant monitoring of farming areas.
According to Ondo owner Ilia Yordanov, the price of the solution is competitive. "That makes our system accessible for small and medium farmers, as the existing automated farming solutions are too expensive for them," he said.
Until recently Ondo's business was part of IndigoVerge, which offers customer software development and services in the area of IoT, digital marketing and consulting. But since the beginning of 2021 Yordanov, who is co-owner of IndigoVerge, has set up a separate company to provide solutions for the farming business.
Ondo is the first investment of Sofia Angels Ventures, which was set up at the end of last year. "The agri-tech business is a very promising segment and Ondo demonstrates excellent technical capacity," the fund's partner, quoted Georgi Sidjimkov as saying.
Eleven Ventures provided 200,000 euro of the total amount, after investing 300,000 euro in Ondo last year. The fund said that the positive development of the company over the past year and the nature and high prospects of the sector have encouraged it to join the new investment round. "This sector is one of our main investment focuses at present," Eleven's managing partner Ivaylo Simov said.
Ondo's systems are currently installed in 15 farms in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The company plans to use the fresh investment to penetrate new foreign markets. "The European markets are our key focus, although we are also investing in examining the South African market, which is known for its water shortage problems. We are also interested in Israel, where we're one of only ten companies chosen to participate in one of the major farming hubs, EIT FAN," Yordanov said. "We were planning to step on the European markets last year but the travel restrictions and delayed supplies and logistics prevented our expansion," he added.
Nevertheless, Ondo sees a silver lining to the pandemic cloud. "The time spent at home has convinced farmers of the usefulness of automation and remote control, as well as of the need to invest in Bulgarian agriculture in the light of limited international transport connections."