Home » Gro Intelligence: Agritech Startup Faces Payroll Struggles, Founder Replaced

Gro Intelligence: Agritech Startup Faces Payroll Struggles, Founder Replaced

by Kehinde Giwa

Gro Intelligence, the agricultural data platform startup headquartered in New York and Nairobi, is undergoing significant changes.

Founder Sara Menker, who controlled two board seats, has been replaced as CEO. The new CEO is James Cariello, the current Chief Technology Officer.

Amid financial challenges, Gro Intelligence has informed its employees that it is unable to meet payroll obligations.


The startup, founded in 2012, recently implemented layoffs, affecting 10% of its workforce at the end of January.

In an effort to secure additional funding, the company is exploring the option of a convertible bond, allowing it to convert debt into equity in the future, serving as a temporary financial bridge until more stable revenues are achieved.

Despite stepping down as CEO, Menker will retain “ongoing responsibilities” within the organisation.

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Established in 2012 by Sara Menker, a former agricultural commodities trader, Gro Intelligence stands out as an AI-powered insights company.

Specialising in delivering decision-making tools and analytics, Gro Intelligence serves a diverse clientele, including food and agricultural companies, governments, insurers, investment banks, consulting firms, and universities.

In January 2021, the company successfully secured an $85 million series B funding round, with support from notable backers such as Intel Capital and Africa Internet Venture

Gro Intelligence, a company that Founder Sara Menker asserts has unintentionally developed the world’s largest climate data platform, engages in data aggregation from various sources. The company collects information from governments, trade organisations, weather and geological agencies, as well as commodities and financial markets to generate actionable insights.

In the context of predicting crop yields, Gro Intelligence utilises a comprehensive approach. It merges satellite imagery with data on factors like rainfall, drought,vegetative health, density, soil moisture, and land surface temperature.

Additionally, the company incorporates data from authoritative sources such as the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) or Brazil’s IBGE, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

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