Later-Stage Agtech Startup Lessons #3 - Charles Baron, Farmers Business Network

Farmers Business Network is one of the most well-funded startups in agtech. Just recently, they announced a $300M Series G round, bringing their total funds raised to $870M and their valuation to nearly $4 billion.

So, where did it all begin?

In this episode, FBN co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Charles Baron, explains how his Silicon Valley upbringing unexpectedly collided with rural Nebraska, resulting in an idea for a new kind of agribusiness- one that would connect farmers and increase their bargaining power for chemicals and seeds.

In the eight years since the startup began, FBN has frequently encountered opposition from incumbents due to its push for competition and transparency for input pricing. In this episode, the last in our three-part series, Charles talks about several key factors in the company’s success, including:

  • Questioning Silicon Valley’s ‘founder obsession’ to instead create a ‘farmer-centric’ ideology 

  • The importance of telling your company’s story through your own channels (rather than relying on others).

  • How FBN makes decisions about which strategies to pursue, including their Gradable platform and recently announced partnership with ADM 

This is the third episode in our “Later-Stage Agtech Startup Lessons” series. Listen to episode 1) Michael Gilbert of Semios and episode 2) Paul Lightfoot of BrightFarms

Useful Resources

Key takeaways