TeleSense expands market footprint with Webstech acquisition

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Bobex-73
© GettyImages/Bobex-73

Related tags grain bin grain storage

TeleSense is to grow its market presence in grain and food monitoring technology in Europe with the acquisition of Webstech, says CEO.

The California-based agricultural technology company announced Monday [April 15] that it had acquired Webstech.

Webstech is a Danish company that worked with wireless sensor technology and had a presence in the European market, according to company information. The company also had a large, historical data set of temperature and humidity information generated by customers.

Prior to the acquisition, TeleSense had been interested in expanding the company’s presence into the European market, said Naeem Zafar, CEO TeleSense.   

“We were planning to expand into Europe in 2020 – but we found a strategic fit and decided to accelerate our plans,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “Eastern Europe is a very important area for grain production and exports.”

The company already has users of its grain monitoring technology related to storage and transport in the US and Australia, according to company information.   

The integration of the two companies has already started, said Zafar. “We have now a TeleSense Europe office and active customers in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, UK, Germany, Romania and France (as a result of this acquisition),” ​he added.

TeleSense and grain monitoring

The scalable technology uses an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to watch the temperature and humidity of stored grain, TeleSense said. It can use either fixed wireless sensors or a series of portable sensors to track grain conditions.

The company closed a $6.5m series A financing round​ in August that was intended to expand its work regarding feed and grain storage along with supporting efforts on next-generation products.

It is estimated that about $12bn in grain is lost from spoilage annually in developed countries and the company is seeking to promote the use of industrial internet of things (IoT) technology and monitoring options to address grain quality in storage and transport.

In addition to sensor technology, the company uses its AI-based knowledge system Grain Safe and a machine-learning process to assess and monitor conditions of feed and grains that are stored in silos or bagged.

Market, tech expansion

Product lines from both TeleSense and Webstech will continue to be sold, said Zafar. The intention is to have the integration process complete in six months, which would bring everything into a single platform.

“Current clients for both companies will have a broader set of products to choose from,” ​Zafar told us about the implications of the acquisition. “Existing Webstech customers will continue to enjoy uninterrupted service and have additional products and software to benefit from – especially since TeleSense was all about predictive analytics and AI [artificial intelligence] applied to the grain supply chain.”

Bringing together technology from the two companies also provides a trove of historical data to further educate TeleSense’s machine learning technology and predictive algorithms, he said. “Since TeleSense is highly focused on providing insights about the customer’s stored grain and how the quality is and will be impacted over time by the environmental factors – the data is the key to train our algorithms – access to historical data is key for TeleSense to be able to provide more accurate predictions,”​ he added.

The move also adds new technology to TeleSense’s offerings including solar/battery power functionality, alternate form factors and industrial automation capabilities, the company said. And, Thomas Kylling, Webstech CEO is set to join TeleSense as a managing director for Europe.

The tech company also is working to continue expanding its role in the European market, Zafar said.

“We are working on a few partnerships and distribution agreements – our current is going after larger coops and grain elevator companies,” ​he said. “We will be announcing a few more partnerships in 2019.”

Additionally, TeleSense also has continuing plans to expand company presence into the South American market, he said.

“South America continues to be of interest to us and several conversations are active,” ​Zafar said. “We will be making additional announcements about our geographical expansion and partnerships in 2019.”

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