Our Continued Commitment to Independence and Data Privacy
Last week we announced that Granular and DuPont are joining forces to bring growers a better and bigger suite of digital agriculture tools. This is a combination of the best software for dollar yield with the best in bushel yield to create the most value for the grower.
The response to the news has been extremely positive and encouraging. However, we have heard two areas of concern that we want to address head on: Independence and Data Privacy.
Granular’s customers have appreciated the new approach we’ve brought to innovation and don’t want to see that slowed down or co-opted in any way. They don’t want their farm management software to be closed off from other solutions, whether it’s from DuPont Pioneer, Climate Corp, John Deere, CNH, Valley, or others. And they’re concerned that without independent decision-making, Granular won’t be able to develop as fast or maintain its commitment to outstanding customer support.
To be fair, I initially had a similar concern as I’ve seen that happen with acquisitions of startups by large companies before. But knowing how this merger is playing out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is why we will not be compromising our mission.
- The primary reason for DuPont making this move is that they want speed and simplicity in how they build a digital platform. The LAST thing they want is to slow down the pace of software development. This move is only the beginning, as we will be investing significantly more in R&D going forward. As proof of that, we’re slated to take over an office that has space for 250 employees – up from only 50 we have in San Francisco currently. The expectations for continued growth and rapid innovation are no joke!
- DuPont is naming Sid Gorham, CEO of Granular, as head of its entire digital agriculture business. This means he will continue to lead not only Granular and AcreValue, but DuPont’s software suite of Encirca, AgStudio, and future products. The Granular leadership team will remain 100% intact post-merger, and add some key additions from the DuPont leadership. More importantly, the entire company is thrilled about the opportunity to amplify our impact in conjunction with such an accomplished organization.
- The combined company remains steadfast in its commitment to open, interoperable software. Farming is too complex to expect one platform to do it all. While our industry will consolidate as it matures into no more than a handful of broad platforms, there will always be best-in-class solutions that need to talk to each other. Companies who do not live by this principle will be left by the wayside as we have seen with so many other technologies in the past.
Granular has been at the forefront of protecting grower data, with an explicit, easy-to-understand data policy on our website and one of the first to be certified by the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator. Customer data is owned by them, and we only retain a license for certain purposes, like using it in aggregate to improve our products and services.
One reason we agreed to this merger is that DuPont Pioneer has such a strong reputation as trusted advisors to their customers and stewards of their data. They share the same values of using information in a respectful way that won’t take advantage of any information asymmetries.
Consistent with that, we are committed to the following principles; all of which will be further clarified in Granular’s revised data privacy agreement shortly after the merger is completed.
- We will not use individual data to determine one customer’s price compared to another – for example, we won’t look at individual data to ratchet up seed prices.
- To ensure this and other potential misuse of data, Granular and DuPont sales reps will not have access to an individual customer’s confidential financial, operational, or agronomic data unless the customer indicates that they want it shared. Our Customer Success reps will have access to their respective accounts as they are the individuals behind training and proper use of the software, and are often collaborating with the grower on key aspects of information management.
- We will use aggregate data to develop better products and services. For example, by benchmarking your land costs, you can make better rent and purchase decisions. This is the same way we do it today.
In short, this is not an absorption of one company into the other but a merger that creates a bigger and stronger digital arm of DuPont. We’re in this for the long-haul and will be adding more resources and more talent to develop the most powerful software platform in the agriculture industry.
Our platform falls apart if we don’t ensure independent software development, interoperability, and trusted data use. So regardless of their seed, chemical vendor, software systems, or the color of equipment, any grower will be able to trust and find immense value in the Granular-DuPont platform of the future.