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Sentinel closes seed funding round with $2.5 million raised from farmer-focused investment groups

The funding infusion will propel the AgTech startup forward as it continues to scale and enhance its cost-saving nitrogen management software system.

LINCOLN, NE –– Sentinel Fertigation, an AgTech company that equips farmers with its N-Time® nitrogen management software solution, announces the closing of a $2.5 million series seed funding round co-led by Homegrown Capital, Grit Road Partners, and Invest Nebraska.

Sentinel will utilize the funding to expand its market presence and strengthen its team by adding key innovators and highly skilled leaders. The funding will also give Sentinel the capacity to enhance N-Time's capabilities across agricultural production systems to help more farmers achieve optimal nutrient management.

“Sentinel is committed to building digital solutions that help farmers balance fertilizer inputs with natural processes to optimize crop productivity, farm profitability, and environmental stewardship," Sentinel CEO & Founder Jackson Stansell said. “With the seed funding from our aligned investors, we will advance N-Time’s capabilities, grow our Sentry Network of agronomic advisors, and ensure that more farmers can benefit from N-Time.”

Developed by Jackson Stansell when he was a master’s student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Sentinel’s N-Time software analyzes crop canopy imagery to provide agronomic recommendations that help farmers make efficient nitrogen management decisions. N-Time is used primarily on fertigated corn, but Sentinel is partnering with farmers and researchers to explore its capabilities on a wide range of crops.

Based in Lincoln, NE, Sentinel Fertigation emphasized raising funds from farmer-focused investment groups based largely in the Midwest.

In addition to co-leads Homegrown Capital of Sioux Falls, SD, Grit Road Partners of Omaha, NE, and Invest Nebraska of Lincoln, NE, Sentinel received funding from Proven Ventures, Nebraska Angels, AgVentures Alliance, Black Hills Regional Angel Fund, Breakthrough 307, AgLaunch Farmers Innovation Fund I, and Agri-Inject.

Several funds participating in this round doubled down on investments made in Sentinel’s pre-seed funding round that raised $1.2 million in 2022.

“Our pre-seed investors have been instrumental in Sentinel’s success so far,” Stansell continued. “We are excited that several of these investors have decided to deepen their relationship with Sentinel and double down on their initial investment.”

Tim Weelborg, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Homegrown Capital, said the group is excited about partnering with Sentinel to maximize N-Time's capabilities to ultimately help America’s growers reap the benefits of efficient nitrogen use.

“We’re impressed with Sentinel’s N-Time solution that helps farmers manage nitrogen to increase profits and improve soil health,” Weelborg said. “This is a great example of cutting-edge technology developed in America’s heartland that can solve world-wide problems.”

After several years of on-farm research trials, Sentinel launched N-Time commercially in 2022 through a paid-pilot program. Growers who utilized N-Time saved an average of $40 on nitrogen per acre and saw a 23% increase in yield per pound of applied nitrogen.

“It’s been amazing supporting and watching Jackson and the Sentinel team take an academic solution solving a real problem and commercializing it through two very successful growing seasons,” said Ben Williamson, Managing Director of both Invest Nebraska and Grit Road Partners. “We’re excited they’re continuing the momentum and now raising a significant round of capital to include existing investors and great new partners like Homegrown Capital.”

By saving on nitrogen and increasing or maintaining yield, 83% of growers utilizing N-Time during the 2022 season increased their profitability compared to their historical practices.

“As a leading farmer-owned seed investor, we see Sentinel Fertigation’s potential to increase farm profitability,” said Spencer Stensrude, CEO of Sentinel investor AgVentures Alliance. “Enhanced yield leads to revenue and smarter nutrient application decreases expense.”

Stensrude said AgVentures Alliance is confident in the Sentinel team’s ability to continue to enhance and scale N-Time.

“The Sentinel Fertigation team just executes day in and day out, a fact our team and farmers witnessed during our time spent with them,” Stensrude added.

After this latest seed funding round, Sentinel has received buy-in from investment funds in 6 states – Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, and Tennessee.

“We’re invested in improving the lives of farmers and farm communities. This latest round of seed funding indicates that they’re equally invested in our team and technology,” Stansell said. “To me, that’s the ultimate sign of support.”

Learn more about the Sentinel story here.

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