Farmers Business Network, a San Carlos, Calif.-based farmer-to-farmer network for crowd-sourcing information on things like seed prices, has raised $110 million in Series D funding. T. Rowe Piece and Temasek co-led, and were joined by return backers Acre Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, GV and DBL Partners.
- Why it's the BFD: Because independent farmers seem to be under siege on all sides, whether it be by their suppliers, mega-rivals or customers. This is an attempt to help even the playing field via both older Internet technology (a version of social networking) and newer technology (data analytics that can incorporate such things drone data and correct pricing for modified seed types). Plus, I really wanted to use that gif.
- Bottom line: "More than 170,000 people make their business by farming major crops, yet they have among the lowest return on their assets because they're so fragmented, leading to information asymmetry and a lack of bargaining power." — Connie Loizos, TechCrunch
• Fortino Capital Partners, a Belgian growth equity firm, has held a €125 million first close on its €200 million-targeted second fund. www.fortino.be
• John Vrionis is stepping down as a partner with Lightspeed Venture Partners, which he joined in 2006, with sources saying he plans to seek around $150 million for a new seed-stage fund. He will remain a venture partner with Lightspeed, where his investments have included AppDynamics, Docker, MuleSoft, Nicira and Nimble Storage. http://axios.link/tuwL
• Erica Berthou and Jordan Murray are joining the investment funds practice of Kirkland & Ellis, after previously having been with Debevoise & Plimpton, per the NY Times.
• Cowen (Nasdaq: COWN) announced that president Jeffrey Solomon will become that company's next CEO, while current CEO Peter Cohen will remain as chairman. www.cowen.com
• Anthony Lubiano has joined Lateral Investment Management as chief financial officer and chief compliance officer. He previously was a vice president with KKR. www.lateralim.com
🚑 Tom Zajac, former CEO of Population Health for Koninklijke Philips, has become an executive-in-residence with both Summit Partners and Noro-Moseley Partners. www.summitpartners.com