Why High Alpha Invested in Smartwyre

by Seth Corder - Principal

I am thrilled to share that High Alpha has led Smartwyre’s Series A financing, and we’re lucky to be joined by our friends at Anterra Capital, Fall Line Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest fund, and Cavallo Ventures.

Despite being more than a $1 trillion industry and bedrock of the American economy, agriculture has been long underserved by innovative software solutions. It’s not for lack of trying though, many have tried and failed. And the reason why startups have failed in the past? They did not address the right problems or understand the nuances of the agriculture industry. 

At High Alpha, we have been following the evolving agriculture landscape for several years. There is a generational shift underway throughout the industry. A younger, tech-savvy workforce is beginning to make its mark, fundamentally altering the appetite for new technology solutions. 

The more we studied the industry, the more convicted we became that there’s an opportunity to build a vertical software solution that serves all constituents in the agricultural input value chain.

We first met John Brubaker in April and quickly realized we held a shared vision of how to build a large vertical agriculture solution while avoiding the missteps that so many others have made. John has surrounded himself with a group of crop protection and software industry veterans with decades of combined expertise in industry commercial trends, farm input technologies, and financing. It became clear we absolutely could not miss the chance to work alongside the Smartwyre team and support them as they attack this massive opportunity. 

Smartwyre has a robust product roadmap with plans to build an end-to-end vertical solution but they’re initially focused on innovating an antiquated rebate system.

Over $100B is trapped in working capital due to a rebate system whereby distributors purchase products from manufacturers and resell at a lower price to retailers and growers. Manufacturers then reimburse distributors at the end of the year to make back the discounted price plus a small margin. 

As a result, distributors operate at a -5% margin for 11.5 months out of the year. 

The rebates are complex, difficult to track, and current processes are handled through disconnected excel spreadsheets.

Smartwyre’s wedge to market is relieving pricing and rebate pain points for distributors. This ultimately benefits both ends of the value chain by providing pricing transparency and a more accurate snapshot of supply and demand. 

The Smartwyre platform is the single source of truth for crop protection and seed commerce. Designed and delivered as a gateway for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to create or access up-to-date product data, it supports the intuitive management of product catalog, price, rebate, and incentive program information.

Smartwyre is headquartered in Denver, with additional commercial and engineering teams in North Carolina and London. The company has mid-term plans to launch commercial operations in Europe and Latin America. They’re hiring for several positions across locations. You can find more information on applying here.

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome John and the entire Smartwyre team to the High Alpha family.