In 2019 Deere & Company launched its Startup Collaborator program within its Intelligent Solutions Group. The program exists to work with technology start-ups whose technology could add value for John Deere customers in the future. 2021 marks the third year for the program with a new group of start-up companies on board.
The year-long program enables John Deere and selected start-up companies to test innovative technologies with customers and dealers without the need for a more formal business relationship. Understanding how new technology can be connected to existing systems and equipment at John Deere can be very beneficial for new product development. Start-ups also gain affiliation with, and mentoring from, a world leader in technology with expertise in agricultural, construction and forestry equipment.
Two participants in 2019’s Startup Collaborator program included Californian agtech firm Bear Flag Robotics and Israeli crop imaging firm Taranis. Last week Bear Flag Robotics announced additional funding taking it to US$12.5 million raised to date and fundraising at Taranis reached US$60 million in 2020. Presumably previous involvement with Deere’s program has helped these companies to successfully develop their offerings.
The 2021 program cohort includes:
Nori – A company working to reverse climate change by building a carbon market where all types of consumers – from individuals to large corporations, can purchase carbon credits directly from farmers.
NVision Ag – A company working to help corn farmers make nitrogen management decisions based on data modeling and aerial imaging.
Scanit – A company that provides physical detection and classification of airborne plant pathogens before widespread disease onset.
Teleo – A company that is converting construction and mining equipment into tele-operated robots controlled by operators working remotely from a desk, thus unlocking productivity and operational gains for contractors.
Julian Sanchez, Director, Emerging Technology for John Deere said “The Startup Collaborator program continues to build tremendous interactions between startups and John Deere. This year is no different as this diverse group of companies has great potential to transform our markets.”
“Innovation is one of our company’s core values. The Startup Collaborator program is one way we can continue the innovative spirit that has helped define John Deere for more than 180 years,” Sanchez said. “We are excited to welcome these companies into the collaborator program and look forward to them helping us drive better returns for our customers.”
The 2020 program start-ups:
- DataFarm – A Brazilian company building digital tools to recommend climate-smart agricultural practices to optimize farmers’ return on investment
- FaunaPhotonics – A company from Denmark building technology for real-time pest detection to ensure sustainable crop management and improve tools for pest control.
- Fieldin – An Israeli company working on data management tools for specialty crops
- EarthSense – A company from Champaign, IL building novel sensing methods to improve in-field data collection
The 2019 program start-ups:
- Bear Flag Robotics – A California company developing autonomous technology for farm tractors and implements to reduce operational expense and increase worker safety.
- Hello Tractor – A Nigerian company with a strong understanding of agriculture in Sub- Saharan Africa that has developed an application to manage tractor fleets for small holder farmers.
- Taranis –An Israeli company that developed an automated field scouting service based on sub-millimeter aerial imagery utilizing deep learning for problem detection and analysis in agriculture.