Brazilian Digital Ag Company to Set Up Near Purdue, Create Over 300 Jobs

A farmer harvesting sugar cane touches an on-board computer screen created by Solinftec, a leading digital ag company based in Brazil. Solinftec connects machines and sensors to give farmers access to real-time information to help improve growing efficiency. (Image provided)

Solinftec, a digital agriculture company that grew quickly in Latin America by making sugar cane and row crop operations more efficient, announced Thursday (Nov. 29) that it plans to establish operations at its U.S. headquarters near Purdue University to bring high-tech solutions to American farmers, creating 90 jobs in 2019 and up to 334 high-wage jobs by 2022.

“Solinftec has shown a passion for discovering innovative solutions to improve agriculture operations through science, engineering and more recently AI,” said Daniel Padrão, Solinftec’s chief operating officer. “That is why we are excited about the opportunity to work with a renowned research university such as Purdue and its College of Agriculture as we continue to expand our platforms into new geographies.”

Solinftec (SOL-inf-tek) plans to expand its innovations to the U.S. and increase its tech-based offerings for U.S. customers in the agriculture industry. Solinftec built its reputation by creating Internet of Things platforms to integrate and digitize all aspects of farming operations. The company has the technology to monitor farming processes and provides real-time actionable insights that increase crop returns by acre.

Solinftec’s first virtual assistance technology, called ‘Alice,’ involves installing a smart black box in agricultural equipment and sensors in the field under a user-friendly platform.

“Following on the heels of Inari’s decision to locate its Seed Foundry at Purdue, this shows that the Wabash Heartland area, with Purdue as an economic magnet, has a very real chance of becoming a world center of precision agriculture,” Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said.

Indiana is a leading center for the agbiosciences, with the sector contributing roughly $16 billion to the state’s gross domestic product a year.  Approximately 65,000 jobs in Indiana are supported by agbioscience companies. Indiana is also a leading producer of corn, soybeans and processing tomatoes, which are areas in which Solinftec is looking to expand.

Padrão said a factor in moving to Indiana was to be close to Purdue and its College of Agriculture, which is ranked as ninth best in the world according to QS World Rankings, and its Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, which is ranked as the best in the United States by US News and World Report. Solinftec also used Tom Farms in Huntington County as a trial farm to move into row crops.

Another factor in Solinftec’s decision was the opportunity to work with the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN), a consortium of 10 counties in north-central Indiana working to harness the power of internet-enabled sensors to develop the region into a global epicenter of digital agricultural and next-generation manufacturing. A recent $40 million grant from Lilly Endowment established the network.

AgFax Weed Solutions

Solinftec is working in relevant commercial and technological partnerships with original equipment manufacturers and cooperatives that will be announced in due time to serve the American farmer. Solinftec has also received Series B funding from AgFunder and TPG in their first round of 2018 AgTech investments, where they look to invest in bold and exceptional founders who are committed to building the next generation of agrifood tech companies.

“AgriNovus and Solinftec first crossed paths earlier this year at an Ag Tech conference in San Francisco,” said Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “Their commitment to bringing their technology to row crops and to the Midwest was clear, and I’m thrilled that they recognized the depth and diversity of Indiana’s agbioscience assets. It is exciting to see several companies in just a few short months move or expand in Indiana, and we welcome Solinftec to our agbioscience community.”

The collaboration aligns with Purdue’s “Giant Leaps” celebrating the university’s global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability highlights as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. Those are the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

Solinftec is the second agriculture-related business this month to announce plans to move into the Purdue Research Park. Inari, a Flagship Pioneering company, announced on Nov. 8 that it was expanding from Cambridge, Massachusetts, as it seeks to reintroduce genetic diversity into the seed industry.

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