Jan 12, 2022 - Business

Fayetteville's AcreTrader raises $40M for growth

Illustration of a tractor moving across a stock chart grid, leaving a line behind it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

AcreTrader is banking on the tangible asset of farmland over the vapor that is cryptocurrency.

What's happening: The Fayetteville fintech company raised $40 million in its Series B investment, led by Anthemis Group of New York.

  • Several existing investors — including Steuart and Tom Walton's RZC Investments — also participated in the series.

Why it matters: As NWA continues to reinvent itself and shift its economy from dependence on the big three public companies, investments in startups like AcreTrader will play a key role in building an entrepreneurial hub.

  • This investment signals out-of-market confidence in a company conceived, built and operated in NWA. And shows technology talent living in places like Austin, San Francisco and New York there's a place to work outside of the big city.

Context: AcreTrader allows consumers to invest in fractions of a farm as a way to diversify their investment portfolio. The company manages the relationship with landowners and has developed technology to make the transaction easy for consumers.

  • The system is a way for farmers to leverage their land for access to capital.

By the numbers: The company will use the money to "double down" on the development of its technology and double its workforce to about 140 by the end of the year, CEO Carter Malloy told Axios.

  • Revenue, which Malloy wouldn't disclose, is expected to grow at a "triple-digit" pace.
  • The company raised $18 million in investment in March 2021.

The big picture: Though less sexy than crypto, farmland is one of the original investment assets. Historically, it's returned 10% to 12% each year and is less volatile than the stock market, commodities or precious metals.

  • It's seen as a hedge against inflation, so activity at the company has been up recently, Malloy said.
  • The average price of an acre of cropland has risen about 75% over the last 15 years, The New York Times reports.
  • Prices go up, in part, because the U.S. loses arable land every day. The USDA estimated 2.1 million acres were lost from 2018 to 2019 alone.

The bottom line: Because farms produce the food we eat to live, it also maintains a very real and strong demand, as well as quirky emotional value.

Go deeper: Read about recent investment activity in another Fayetteville start-up

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