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The future of farming is already in full bloom, but South African startup Aerobotics raised $17M to scale its AI-for-agriculture platform with even more intelligent tools to feed the world.

The growing population and staggering world hunger statistics continue to put pressure on our food supply and on the world’s agricultural industries. That’s why companies like Aerobotics exist. The startups’ mission is to provide customers with intelligent tools to feed the world, and they’ve managed to raise $17 Million to help them in their endeavours.

Based in Cape Town and founded in 2014 by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer, Aerobotics uses intelligent tools within the agriculture industry to transform everyday farming operations that not only support smarter business decisions but ensures a sustainable future.

About the tech

Using artificial intelligence, drones and other robotics, Aerobotics’ technology helps track and assess the health of crops identifying sick trees, tracking pests and diseases. The technology provides analytics for better yield management and provides farmers with harvest estimations and schedules. Farmers can plan accordingly to ensure they meet demands and produce the best quality products.

They’ve processed 81 million trees and more than a million citrus fruit which could mean they have one of the largest proprietary data set of trees and citrus fruit in the world. Their data is used on a global scale with offices in the U.S., Australia and Portugal, countries who, like Africa, are home to major global agricultural economies all of whom rely on the certainty Aerobotics’ tech brings to farming and food security.

Funding our future food supply 

As the global agricultural industry stretches to meet a growing population’s food demand it’s no wonder that Agritech companies like Aerobotics are experiencing record growth. As part of its seed round in 2017, they raised $600,000 from 4Di Capital and Savannah Fund and raised a further $4 million in Series A funding in February 2019.

In an oversubscribed Series B round, Aerobotics raised $17 million which was led by Naspers Foundry with significant participation from Platform Investment Partners, FMO: Entrepreneurial Development Bank and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation. Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers South Africa, said this of the investment, “Food security is of paramount importance in South Africa and the Aerobotics platform provides a positive contribution towards helping to sustain it. This type of tech innovation addresses societal challenges and is exactly the type of early-stage company that Naspers Foundry looks to back.”

Aerobotics plans to use this Series B investment to continue developing more technology and product delivery, both for the U.S. and other markets. “We’re committed to providing intelligent tools to optimize automation, minimize inputs and maximize production. We look forward to further co-developing our products with the agricultural industry leaders,” said CEO James Paterson in a statement.

Originally written by Tage Kene-Okafor, Tech Crunch


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