Successful Ag Tech Startups

Part
01
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Part
01

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Crop Protection / Input Management

Indigo AG, Ginkgo Bioworks, Cibus, BioConsortia, DiCE Molecules, AgBiome, and Vestaron are successful crop protection/ input management companies based in the United States. The required information pertaining to these companies have been provided in the attached spreadsheet. The funding amount and stage have been provided as a summary of the spreadsheet findings.

Total Capital Raised and Stage



Part
02
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Part
02

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Plant Sciences

Agrivida, VoloAgri Group, inc, Sound Agriculture, Phytelligence, Joyn Bio, Indigo AG, and BioConsortia are the 7 successful plant science companies based in the United States. The required information pertaining these companies have been provided in the attached spreadsheet.

Summary

  • Agrivida received $20.4 million in Series E funding to enable the commercialization of its Grainzyme feed enzyme for poultry and swine.
  • VoloAgri received $10.2 in its series C funding round in August 2018, the company has a total of $126.8M in funding.
  • Sound Agri was listed as one among the winners of AgFunder's Innovation Awards. The company was awarded the "most innovative US Startup Series A and Beyond in the Farm Tech Category."
  • Phytelligence raised an added $9.85 million in its series B funding round, bringing the cumulative funding in that round to $16.8 million. In total, the start has made about $22.5 million in its funding rounds.
  • Joyn Bio, AgTech Nexus USA and NewLeaf Symbiotics initiated a long-term partnership "valued at $75M to bring innovation and sustainability to modern agriculture with a new class of microbes that benefit crop health and protection."

Part
03
of sixteen
Part
03

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Animal Technologies

Some successful animal technology startups include BiOWiSH Technologies, Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Innovasea, Recombinetics, Ascus Biosciences, Agrivida, and Quantified Ag. The required information is available in the attached spreadsheet and a summary is presented below.

Biowish Technologies

  • BiOWiSH Technologies is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company has received a total of $34.6 million in funding in seven rounds, with the latest funding amounting to $7.45 million in 2018.
  • BiOWiSH Technologies has entered into partnerships with some prominent research institutions, including the Centre for Applied Horticultural Research, Ohio State University, Helena, and Kona Bay, to analyze the potential of the company's core technologies across a wide assortment of commercial applications.

Advanced Animal Diagnostics

  • Located in Morrisville, North Carolina, Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) has received approximately $41.8 million in funding, in total, across seven rounds, with the most recent funding amounting to $4.45 million (debt financing round).
  • AAD has seven different registered patents, mostly within the testing segment, and nine registered trademarks. The most prominent category for its trademarks are instruments and medical apparatus.

Innovasea

Recombinetics

  • Recombinetics has obtained $60.9 million, in total, over ten separate funding rounds, with its latest funding coming from a Series A round in 2018.
  • Recombinetics is widely regarded as the "leader in livestock gene-editing and associated applied technologies for biomedical research, regenerative medicine, and animal agriculture."

Ascus Biosciences

  • Ascus Biosciences recently launched Galaxis-D, which serves as the very first endomicrobial feed supplement designed for cows in the world.
  • The company has attained around $28.5 million in total funding, and its most recent funding round resulted in $16 million in the year 2019.
  • The company has seven various registered patents in the category of "Biochemistry; Beer; Spirits; Wine; Vinegar; Microbiology; Enzymology; and Mutation Or Genetic Engineering."

Agrivida

  • Located in Woburn, Massachusetts, Agrivida has been awarded numerous research grants for their innovative solutions from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the Department of Agriculture.
  • Through 17 rounds, the company has attained $72.8 million in total funding, with the latest round of funding occurring in June 2019.
  • Agrivida has 27 registered patents in category of "Biochemistry; Beer; Spirits; Wine; Vinegar; Microbiology; Enzymology; and Mutation Or Genetic Engineering." Furthermore, the company has five registered trademarks with agricultural products: live animals serving as the most prominent class.

Quantified Ag

Part
04
of sixteen
Part
04

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Imagery

Successful Ag Tech startups in the Imagery segment include TerrAvion, Sentera, DroneDeploy, Hangar, Ceres Imaging, PrecisionHawk and Satellogic. The required information has been populated in the attached spreadsheet.

Summary:

  • TerrAvion delivers subscription imagery, overnight, throughout the growing season and helps farms take a high-tech approach to improve yield and revenue, with the largest cloud-based aerial imaging and data analytics service for agriculture.
  • Sentera is the leading provider of real-time, in-season insights for digital agriculture and makes it easy for users to integrate in-field real-time data with virtually every digital agriculture platform.
  • DroneDeploy data platform is designed to improve agriculture intelligence and enhance management decisions and improve farming.
  • Hangar is the world's first robotics-as-a-system data acquisition platform and offers the ability for growers to simply show up at their preferred location along with their fully equipped drone.
  • Ceres Imaging helps growers and farm advisors make proactive in-season decisions using aerial imagery that enables customers to identify pest, disease, water, and fertilizer issues weeks before they are visible to the naked eye.
  • PrecisionHawk is a leading provider of drone technology that gives agriculture professionals browser-based interface to view high-resolution imagery and greater access to data about their farming assets and day-to-day operations.
  • Satellogic data science and AI teams work together alongside agriculture domain experts to deliver high-frequency, high resolution solutions that help create efficiencies and increase productivity.
Part
05
of sixteen
Part
05

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Sensors & Smart Farm Equipment

Successful Ag Tech startups in the Sensors & Smart Farm Equipment segment include Semios, Hortau Inc, Abundant Robotics, Inc, WaterBit, Arable, AquaSpy, Inc, and Blue River Technology. The required information has been populated in the attached spreadsheet.

Summary

  • Semios provides on-site sensing, predictive analysis, and big data solutions to help growers increase yield optimize response to diseases and insects.
  • Hortau Inc. "specializes in wireless and web-based irrigation management" integrating soil sensing innovations with information technologies.
  • Abundant Robotics produces robotic systems for hard jobs in agriculture.
  • Waterbit offers automated irrigation solutions to enable accurate irrigation that takes into account soil conditions and the growth stage.
  • Arable offers a solution to manage risks of weather and crop health, "delivering real-time, actionable insights from the field".
  • AquaSpy solution tracks crop behavior in real-time.
  • Blue River Technology is "building smart farm machines to manage crops at a plant-level".
Part
06
of sixteen
Part
06

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Precision Ag

Details regarding seven successful Ag Tech startups in precision agriculture is provided in the 'Precision Ag' tab, rows 3-9 of the attached spreadsheet. These startups are all headquartered in the United States and have received series B and over funding. They include Farmobile, Hortau, Blue River Technology, Farmers Business Network (FBN), Agrible, aWhere and PrecisionHawk. Below are highlights on these startups.

Precision Ag Startups Highlights

  • Farmobile has received a total of $38.6 million in funding in its three funding rounds, with the last funding being $15 million from Ag Growth International (AGI).
  • Hortau has received a total of $54.4 million in its seven rounds of funding.
  • Farmers Business Network (FBN) has received a total of $368.9 million in its seven rounds of funding.
  • Agrible has raised $13.8 million through its five rounds of funding.
  • aWhere has raised over $19.6 million in its five rounds of funding.
Part
07
of sixteen
Part
07

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Ag Marketplace & Fintech

Successful Ag Tech startups in the Ag Marketplace & Fintech segment include Crop Pro Insurance, Full Harvest, SafeTraces, Inc, Farmers Business network, Produce Pay, HarvestPort Ag, and GrubMarket Inc. The required information has been populated in the attached spreadsheet.

Summary

  • Crop Pro Insurance provides "traditional and progressive risk management solutions" to agencies. The solutions are aimed at protecting growers.
  • Full Harvest's B2B marketplace that connects "food and beverage companies with farms to buy surplus & imperfect produce".
  • SafeTraces provides on-food safety solutions to enable processors and producers to reduce waste and protect brands.
  • Farmers Business Network provides farmers with information, analytics, and creates competition for farmers’ business.
  • ProducePay provides farmers who ship fresh produce to the U.S. with access to financing and distribution. It connects fresh produce farmers with buyers and distributors.
  • Harvestport "connects a network of agricultural stakeholders". It helps farmers procure crop inputs at a convenient time, help suppliers establish a market for their products, and also help retailers to stock smarter.
  • GrubMarket provides access to fresh and healthy food to everyone by working with "a variety of farms and artisan producers".
Part
08
of sixteen
Part
08

Successful Ag Tech Startups: Indoor Ag

Some successful indoor agricultural tech startups include Aero Farms, Freight Farms, Bright Farms, Bowery Farming, Illumitex, Gotham Greens, Crop One, and Back to the Roots. The details about their success factors, overview, and funding are presented in the attached spreadsheet.

Indoor Agriculture Tech Startups

  • Aero Farms is headquartered in Newark, NJ. The company's most recent round of funding raised $100 million in Series E.
  • Freight Farms is headquartered in Boston, MA. The company's most recent round of funding raised $7.3 million in Series B.
  • Bright Farms is headquartered in New York, NY. The company's most recent round of funding raised $55 million in Series D.
  • Bowery Farming is headquartered in New York, NY. The company's most recent round of funding raised $50 million in Series B+.
  • Illumitex is headquartered in Austin, TX. The company's most recent round of funding raised $4 million in Venture Round.
  • Gotham Greens is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. The company's most recent round of funding raised $29 million in Series C.
  • Back to the Roots is headquartered in Oakland, CA. The company's most recent round of funding raised $3 million Series C.
  • Crop One is headquartered in Oakland, CA. The company's most recent round of funding raised $12.7 million Series B.
Part
09
of sixteen
Part
09

Crop Protection / Input Management: Commonalities

Some commonalities shared across successful agricultural startups are their funding levels, product solutions and locations.

Funding Round:

  • All the companies identified in the spreadsheet have received at least Series B funding round.

Why this is a commonality

  • Indigo AG has raised a total of $809M in funding over 9 rounds.
  • Ginkgo Bioworks has raised $45 million in a series B funding round.
  • Cibus has raised $57 million in a series funding round, and has a total of $127 million in funding.
  • BioConsortia has raised $15million in a series B funding round.
  • DiCE Molecules raised $40.5 million in a series B funding round.

Product Solutions

  • The majority of the agricultural tech start-ups listed in the spreadsheet work on microbial platforms.

Why this is a commonality

  • Indigo develops plant microbes to improve crop health and productivity.
  • Gingko Bioworks grows custom microbes using biological methods instead of manufacturing them.
  • Cibus develops plant and microbial breeding technology platforms.
  • BioConsortia works on the discovery and development of natural microbial products.
  • AgBiome uses a plant-associated microbiome to create novel products for crop protection.

Location

  • Three out of the seven agricultural tech start-ups are located in the state of California.

Why this is a commonality

Revenue Generation:

  • Four out of the seven agricultural tech start-ups in the spreadsheet have a productive phase and are successful as they generate an estimated annual revenue of more than $10 million.

Why this is a commonality:

  • The estimated annual revenue of Ginkgo Bioworks is $28 million.
  • The estimated annual revenue of Vestaron Corporation is $53.3 million.

Research Strategy

In order to find some commonalities between the agricultural tech startups identified in the spreadsheet, we analyzed the things that the startups listed and then identified what they had in common. As part of our strategy, we investigated additional data points in conjunction with the information provided in the spreadsheet and found the commonalities.
Part
10
of sixteen
Part
10

Plant Sciences: Commonalities

Some of the commonalities shared across successful Plant Sciences Ag Tech startups identified in the attached spreadsheet are funding rounds, location and product solutions.

Funding Round

  • A majority of the Plant Sciences Ag start-ups identified have received at least Series B funding round.
  • Agrivida received Series B funding in 2009, and VoloAgri Group raised a total of $126.8 million in over 5 funding rounds.
  • Phytelligence's latest funding was raised in 2018 from a Series B funding round.
  • Indigo AG raised $48.5 million in Series B funding round.
  • BioConsortia raised $15 million in Series B funding round.

Location

  • Three of the Plant Sciences Ag start-ups are located in California, and 3 in Massachusetts.

Product Solution

  • Four of the seven Plant Sciences Ag start-ups provide microbial solutions.
  • Joyn Bio designs microbes engineered for agricultural applications.
  • By utilizing advanced molecular discovery, Sound Agriculture has identified how plants interact with soil microbes.




Part
11
of sixteen
Part
11

Animal Technologies: Commonalities

Some commonalities found for the majority of companies compared on the attached spreadsheet were five companies provide solutions for livestock, six have seven or fewer investors, six have sustainability as a company goal, and at least five of the companies have between 20 and 40 employees.

Solutions for Livestock

  • Of the seven companies detailed in the attached spreadsheet, five of them provide solutions for livestock.
  • Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) focuses on identifying diseases in individual cattle to help reduce the use of antibiotics, Recombinetics provides gene editing solutions to improve cattle health, Ascus Biosciences developed an endomicrobial feed supplement, Agrivida developed corn that includes enzymes to decrease cattle emissions while lessening environmental impact, and Quantified AG developed ear tags that provide early identification of sick animals.
  • BiOWiSH Technologies does offer solutions for farmers, but in the area of crop production, while InnovaSea focuses on the aquaculture industry.

Number of Investors

  • All the companies except Agrivida have seven or fewer investors, which means a relatively small group is helping direct the company.
  • BiOWiSH has five investors, AAD has seven investors, InnovaSea has two investors, Recombinetics has two investors, Ascus has two investors, and Quantified AG has three investors. Agrivida appears to have a different model than the other companies as they have 30 investors.
  • Although we were not able to find any common investors for a majority of the companies, Cultivian Sandbox did invest in both AAD and Agrivida. Additionally, two of the companies had government investment. The Kansas Bioscience Authority invested in AAD, and the National Institute of Health invested in Recombinetics.

Sustainability

  • Of the seven companies examined, six have sustainability as one of the core goals of their product(s).
  • Sustainability is one of the core values of BiOWiSH, and they provide natural products to improve the soil for farmers.
  • AAD believes that their technology focused on improving animal health and improving productivity will also impact sustainability in the agriculture industry.
  • InnovaSea supports "innovative, environmentally-focused sustainable technologies and service solutions for the industry."
  • Acceligen is Recombinetics agriculture division and is focused on more sustainable farming.
  • The Ascus 10 are the guiding principles for Ascus and one of the goals of the results of adhering to the principles is a sustainable company.
  • Agrivida's core product, corn with enzymes inside, allows livestock who consumes it to release less nitrogen into the environment which leads to increased sustainability.

Company Size

  • Five of the seven companies appear to have between 20 and 40 employees. Ascus is a bit smaller, with less than 20 employees, and the only employee estimate found for Quantified AG was 11-50, so it couldn't be determined exactly where it fell compared to the other companies.

Research Strategy

In addition to the commonalities provided above, the companies were examined to find shared features in areas including the industries served, amount of funding, funding stage, common investors, age of company, target market, products, business model, reliance on internet of things, acquisitions, and frequency of funding. None of these aspects of the companies had something that was common for at least four of the companies, so they were not included.
Part
12
of sixteen
Part
12

Imagery: Commonalities

As highlighted within the enclosed spreadsheet, all of the identified Ag Tech imagery startups share the commonality of raising significantly early funding. Additionally, most of these companies use similar technology within their business models and are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Funding Level

Technology

  • Another significant commonality across most of the identified Ag Tech imagery startups is their use of drone technology to provide imagery services.

Location

Part
13
of sixteen
Part
13

Sensors & Smart Farm Tech: Commonalities

Some commonalities amongst successful Ag Tech companies in the Sensors & Smart Farm Tech industry are their business model, funding levels, location, and lifecycle stages.

The Commonalities

  • The startups have the same goal: to help companies to grow food in a smart way that reduces the companies' costs as well as the use of pesticides, and as the final result to have a completely healthy harvest, that will feed the world. That business model is the one that the startups offer to companies and small farms owners to improve and facilitate their working life.
  • All the startups are in the state of California (CA), the reason why there are so many successful companies in the sensors & smart farm tech industry located there, can be because of California's economy. In 2007, agriculture generated 57,005 positions in CA, which represented 16% of all jobs and 20% private jobs, since then, agriculture represents a vital factor in the state's development.
  • Besides that, CA is in the top 10 states that produce almost every significant food and livestock groups. For that reason, agricultural leaders also said that CA needs to adopt climate-smart farming to face climate change and still be able to produce and feed the ever-growing population.
  • In addition to that, CA is a state that, if not prepared cleverly for climate change, can suffer irreparable damage to agriculture. For example, using smart-farming, they could prevent agricultural disasters from fires. A long time ago, farmers embraced technology not only to avert disastrous losses, but also as a smart way to preserve and decrease the unnecessary use of valuable resources such as water, food, energy, and land.
  • The majority of startups (5 out 7, specifically) have received at least series A funding industry experts say that only 10% of startups make it to that level. Another commonality that these startups have is that they have collected more than $10 million.
  • All the startups have received recognition in the past, some of them, have been awarded two or more times in categories related to Smart Agriculture, Innovative Farms, Top Ag Tech Companies, among others.
  • Most of the startups are in the most productive phase of their lifecycle stage, the majority, started operating in the 2010 decade, with two exceptions that opened in 1998 and 2002. However, the commonality here is that all are active and prosperous in the present.

Research Strategy

Through the available information, the research team analyzed the things that the startups listed, share in common. As part of our strategy, we investigated additional data points in conjunction with the information provided in the spreadsheet. However, not all were commonalities, such as, for example, the investors of each of the startups. Despite that, we were able to find other common points such as business model, goals, awards, foundation dates, location, among others.
Part
14
of sixteen
Part
14

Precision Ag: Commonalities

Some commonalities amongst the successful Precision Ag startups listed in the attached spreadsheet include their funding levels, location, and technology.

Funding Level

  • The majority of the Precision Ag startups (five out of seven) have received at least Series B funding.
  • Farmobile has received $23.6 million from three funding rounds.
  • Blue River Technology raised $17 million during a Series B funding round, while its total funding amounts to $30.3 million.
  • Farmers Business Network has received $368.9 million in total funding, with its most recent funding occurring during a Series E round.
  • Agrible attained approximately $9.7 million during a Series B round.
  • PrecisionHawk has obtained around $136 million, in total, five separate funding rounds, and its most recent funding occurred during a Series E round.

Technology

Revenue Generation

  • The majority of the start-ups are currently in the most productive phase and are successful, as they each generate an estimated annual revenue of more than $10 million.
  • Farmobile generates estimated annual revenue of approximately $11.5 million.
  • As per ZoomInfo, the estimated annual revenue of Blue River Technology is around $11.8 million.
  • Farmers Business Network generated an estimated annual revenue of $60 million.

Location

  • Three of the seven companies are located in the state of California.
Part
15
of sixteen
Part
15

Ag Marketplace & Fintech: Commonalities

As food security and farming continue to experience different challenges, various companies have popped up to provide a wide range of solutions to both farmers and farming techniques. Even though most of these companies have a wide range of services, they share various commonalities.

Crop Pro Insurance Services Inc.

  • With its headquarters located in Johnston, Iowa, this agency provides management solutions through traditional and progressive risk counteractive measures that aim to protect growers, through the dynamics of the industry, a commonality it shares with GrubMarket Inc.
  • Crop Pro Insurance Services Inc.'s business model applies strategies that seek to apply new technologies to ensure that both agents and growers increase sales and revenues, without compromising the reassurance that may stem from conventional crop insurance policies.
  • As the first Ag venture-funded insurance company, Crop Pro earned its approval from the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This made it possible for the company to provide insurance products for Federal crops to farmers. 
  • On August 8, 2017, the company has also grown through the aid of funding rounds. Just like Full Harvest, it falls under Series A funding, and managed to raise $8 million in its first-round

Full Harvest

  • Located in San Francisco, California, Full Harvest just like Crop Pro Insurance Services Inc., focuses on farm produce. 
  • A review through its LinkedIn profile shows that Full Harvest uses a model that seeks to promote sustainability right from the root level, for surplus and what may be considered imperfect produce. 
  • Its evidence of success is proven by the 7 million pounds of produce sold, since its launch. In addition to the 15% CPG makers, on average, from the production costs. Its total funding is 13 million, and just like Crop Insurance, its current funding series is A.  
  • The company was launched in 2015, a commonality it shares with Produce Pay.

Safe Traces Inc.

  • A review through its LinkedIn profile shows that Safe Traces Inc. is also located in California just like Full Harvest.
  • With a funding amount of $18 million, and a funding series of A2, the company, just like Crop Pro Insurance Inc. and Full Harvest seeks to expand through funding rounds. Its latest Series A round raised $10 million. 
  • Safe Traces Inc. shares a commonality with Crop Pro Insurance Inc. as it is privately owned. 
  • Safe Traces Inc. also shares a business model commonality with Full Harvest, by ensuring food security through less wasteful measures of food produce

Farmers Business Network

  • Just like Full Harvest and Safe Traces Inc, Farmers Business Network (FBN) is an Ag-Tech company that operates in the Ag marketplace and is also located in California.
  • A review through Pitchbook shows that Farmers Business Network is privately owned, a commonality it shares with Full Harvest.  
  • Farmers Business Network shares a business model commonality with Crop Pro Insurance Inc., as it seeks to increase its yields, with as minimal costs as possible. FBN also shares a similarity with Safe Traces Inc. in the sense that it seeks to increase and improve food security.

Produce Pay

  • According to its official website, Produce Pay categorically deals with produce trading. However, the Ag Tech business shares a commonality with Farmers Business Network, Full Harvest and Safe Traces Inc. as it focuses on the present and the future of farm produce. 
  • Just like Crop Pro Insurance Inc., its business model seeks to expand business relationships with farmers and also offers financial services.
  • Produce Pay shares a commonality with Farmers Business Network, Full Harvest, and Safe Traces Inc. as it is also located in California.

HarvestPort

  • HarvestPort provides a platform for both farmers and farm advocates to save money while planning and procuring crop inputs. 
  • HarvestPort business model focuses on sustainability through economical and environmentally friendly farming. The company also shares a similarity in business model with Produce Pay and Crop Pro Insurance Services Inc. as it seeks to establish a firm relationship with farmers, by advising and protecting farmers from exploitation within the industry. 
  • Just like Crop Pro Insurance Services Inc, HarvestPort uses innovative techniques and just like Food harvest and Safe Traces Inc, HarvestPort is determined to ensure less produce waste, through smart stocking. 
  • HarvestPort also shares a commonality with Produce pay, as they were both launched in 2015.

GrubMarket Inc

Part
16
of sixteen
Part
16

Indoor Ag: Commonalities

Some commonalities among successful Indoor AgTech startups include similar business models, product offerings, target customers, technology integration, retail presence, greenhouse locations, industry recognition, and others. We have analyzed the nine Indoor AgTech companies in the US and presented the findings below.

Vertical Farming

Product Offerings

Plant Characteristics

High Production Yield

Proprietary Software, Smart Lighting, Feeding, and Growing Technology

Target Customers

Launch of Retail Brands

  • AeroFarms offers local retail brand known as Dream Greens. Alternatively, Back to the Roots offer eight starter kits and Crop One offer 10 SKUs under its brand Fresh Box.
  • Bright Farms offers 12 SKUs of packed fresh green leafy plants, available across 100s of retail stores in the US.
  • Plenty offers four ready-to-eat retail brands, while Bowery offers 12 SKUs, and Gotham Greens offers 20 SKUs.

East Coast Locations

Industry Recognition

Sources
Sources

From Part 06
From Part 13
Quotes
  • "Agriculture was responsible for creating 57,005 jobs in Northeastern CA in 2012 (16% of all jobs and 20% of all private sector jobs). "
Quotes
  • "Surrounded by thousands of acres of high-dollar vineyards, California officials and agricultural leaders brought in producers and perspectives from around the country recently to highlight the importance of adapting climate-smart farming practices to help build resiliency against increasing extreme weather events."
Quotes
  • "Series A funding, (also known as Series A financing or Series A investment) means the first venture capital funding for a startup. The Series A funding round follows a startup company's seed round and precedes the Series B Funding round. "Series A" refers to the class of preferred stock sold."
Quotes
  • "California is currently seeing a spillover of the newest technological innovations from Silicon Valley, into the Central, San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys; adding to the existing base of advancements in precision irrigation, spectral imaging, genomics, environmental, animal and plant sciences, and dozens of other areas of practice."
From Part 16