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Alumnus’ startup gets global attention

By | February 02, 2014 | Front page, News (2)

A Fresno State alumnus and Valley native, Lance Donny is being globally recognized for his startup company, OnFarm, which enables growers to make smarter decisions by making data available on a single platform.

In 2013, OnFarm was awarded the Launch: Silicon Valley 2013 “Most Likely to Succeed” honor in the technology category. That award led OnFarm to participate in the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award competition in 2014. Thousands of companies worldwide apply for the award, and OnFarm landed a spot in the top six finalists.

OnFarm began in April 2012 as a subscription service for growers to make coherent decisions based on data that is organized onto one dashboard. At the beginning of 2013, OnFarm had five partners. This year, it has 24 partners.

“We’re the only company that offers integrated data for agriculture worldwide,” said Donny, CEO and owner.

The company combines hardware technologies ranging from weather, soil moisture, satellite images, personal sensors and agronomy tools into a single business dashboard that is personalized for each grower, combining all the information from numerous companies into one platform.

Donny was born and raised in the Valley and grew up in farming. He graduated from Fresno State with a degree in accounting in 1990. He worked with software for 20 years after he graduated and before he launched OnFarm.

OnFarm was a way to combine his background in agriculture and software, he said.

Donny is also on the steering committee for Blue Tech Valley, a group made up of individuals from the private, public and academic sectors that work to commercialize water technology and innovations. Blue Tech Valley’s main headquarters is located in the Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Incubator on Fresno State’s campus.

“I am very excited that one of our WET member companies is one of only two U.S. finalists,” said Helle Petersen, director of the WET center. “Founded and headquartered right here in Fresno, OnFarm has developed and commercialized what will be the gold standard in smart agriculture.”

OnFarm was one of two North American finalists for the IBM award. The other company, Coriell Life Sciences, is based in New Jersey.

The other six finalists come from countries around the globe, including Geeking from Latin America; Reengen, Temando and TMC from Eastern Europe; and Nova Lumos from Israel.

Donny said OnFarm impacts everyone, seeing that the global agriculture market is so large.

“Ag is really important right now, and people outside of ag get that,” he said. “There are huge demands for food and water right now. Using technology is the only way growers can meet that demand.”

The finals for the IBM award will be held this Thursday in San Francisco.

Part of the judging is a people’s choice award. OnFarm already won the North American people’s choice competition. To vote for OnFarm in the global people’s choice competition, visit http://bit.ly/vote-smartcamp-finals.

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