Swiss agtech start-up ecoRobotix has raised US$14.7 million in its latest Series C funding round. The company harnesses cutting edge AI technology to drive the transition towards more sustainable, eco-friendly and economic farming.
With the proceeds of this funding round, ecoRobotix will accelerate the high-volume series production of its tractor mounted ARA plant protection spraying machine and drive its European expansion forward. The funding was led by Swisscom Ventures together with Verve Ventures and was strongly supported by existing ecoRobotix investors, including CapAgro, 4FO Ventures and BASF Venture Capital.
Herbicide reducing technology
ecoRobotix deploys cameras and advanced machine learning algorithms in its ARA plant protection spraying machine to precisely identify the type and location of weeds in different crops or to identify crops infested with fungus or insects. Spray nozzles then apply a micro-dose of the respective plant protection product – extremely targeted down to an area as small as 3 x 8 cm.
The innovative machine construction protects beneficial insects such as bees and prevents spray drifting. By comparison with conventional spraying machines, farmers are able to cut their plant protection chemicals by as much as 95%. Consequently, the solution allows them to effectively eliminate plant protection residues in food and water.
“Swisscom Ventures is proud to support a cutting edge Swiss agri-tech solution with venture capital and 5G technology competence. ecoRobotix solutions not only assist producers in reducing their use of plant protection products by up to 95%, but also in lowering their operating costs. This enables the production of high-quality crops and non-contaminated food at affordable prices. Our health matters, from field to fork!” said Dominique Megret, Head of Swisscom Ventures
The proceeds of the Series C will also support the company’s intense R&D efforts geared to constantly adding new crops for treatment, developing autonomous spraying solutions (AVO – its autonomous weeding robot) as well as new cloud-based services for clients entailing advanced ICT technologies such as 5G. Swisscom and ecoRobotix will be cooperating in the development of these new cloud-based services and solutions for sustainable agriculture.
“We see a rapidly growing demand for our products in the market“, said Claude Juriens, CBO of ecoRobotix. adding “We tripled our sales during the last few months and are experiencing enthusiastic feedback from our customers.”
“The successful series C funding round clearly underlines the trust and support our investors place in our team and our solutions“, added Frank Starrmann, CFO of ecoRobotix. “We’re firmly committed to keep on setting new benchmarks for environmentally-friendly and economic agricultural solutions.”
AI technology for tomorrow’s farming
“ecoRobotix has developed a unique technology combining Artificial Intelligence and ultra-high precision spot spraying for tomorrow’s farming, enabling the unprecedent reduction of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides“, as Steve Tanner, CTO and Co-founder, stated.
In this way, ecoRobotix is harnessing AI technology in driving the transition towards more sustainable, environmental-friendly farming and allowing farmers to save money at the same time. ARA offers a compelling quick return on investment of less than three years, while reducing total costs of plant protection measures by up to 40% and boosting crop yields by 5-10%.