In a Series B funding round, Aerobotics has raised US$17M to scale up its agricultural artificial intelligence platform.
By using artificial intelligence to help farmers manage their farms, trees and fruits, South African startup which provides the world’s agriculture industry with intelligent tools has raised US$17M in a Series B funding round.
Aerobotics, which was created in 2014 by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer, is currently focused on building instruments for fruit and tree farmers. Its technology helps monitor and evaluate the health of these crops using artificial intelligence, drones and other robotics, including detecting when trees are ill, monitoring pests and diseases, and analytics for better yield management.
The United States is the company’s main market, Series B funding will be used to continue developing more technology and product delivery in the United States and other potential markets.
“We are committed to providing smart tools to optimize automation, reduce inputs and maximize output. We look forward to further co-development of our goods with the leaders of the agricultural industry,” Paterson, the CEO, said in a statement.
According to Aerobotics, South Africa’s consumer internet giant Naspers led the round through its investment arm, Naspers Foundry, investing US$5.6M. Cathay AfricInvest Innovation, FMO: Business Development Bank and Platform Investment Partners also took part.
“Food security is of paramount importance in South Africa and the Aerobotics platform has made a positive contribution to its sustainability. This type of technological innovation addresses societal challenges and is exactly the kind of early-stage company that Naspers Foundry looks back on.” Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers South Africa, said in a statement.
By gathering and processing both tree and fruit images from citrus growers early in the season, the company has advanced its technology and provides farmers with independent and accurate yield estimations and harvest schedules. Farmers may, in turn, plan their stock, forecast demand and ensure the best quality of produce for their customers.
In the last few years, Aerobotics have experienced record growth. First, it reports to have the world’s largest proprietary dataset of trees and citrus fruits, with 81 million trees and more than a million citrus fruits processed.