Guardian Agriculture, a pioneer in eVTOL-powered crop protection, has emerged out of stealth with a US$10.5 million seed round of financing led by Leaps by Bayer with participation from FMC Ventures, Wilbur-Ellis’ Cavallo Ventures, Fall Line Capital, the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund, Pillar VC and Neoteny, taking total finance raised to date to US$15.5 million. The investment follows 18 months of extensive R&D with partners across multiple high-value crops.
Offering an integrated eVTOL system for precision application, the company says its solution extends growers’ reach, reduces environmental impact and minimises product resistance.
Precision pesticide application cuts costs and benefits environment
Provided as a service, Guardian Agriculture’s autonomous, eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) agricultural systems collect and act intelligently on data generated throughout the crop protection process. When deployed at scale, the systems are capable of eliminating hundreds of millions of pounds of unnecessary pesticide use annually while helping farmers grow healthier, better protected crops.
Guardian Agriculture says its platform is the first to blend information on crop health with the means to take action, seamlessly closing the gap between knowledge of a problem and a response in the field.
“Reducing the environmental impact of agriculture is a key focus area of ours,” explained Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer. “By integrating data and insight with tools large enough to service commercial farms, Guardian Agriculture delivers crop protection that improves farmer profitability while simultaneously minimizing environmental side effects.”
“We think of Guardian Agriculture as a crop protection technology that uses robotics to do more with less and do it safely and sustainably,” added Amar Singh, managing director of FMC Ventures. “They’re a deeply technical team that fundamentally redesigned the system to optimize it for aerial application.”
Habib Haddad, managing partner of the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund, commented: “We believe in the ability of eVTOL to open the sky as infrastructure, and don’t need to wait for urban air mobility to become a reality. Guardian Agriculture is able to deploy its eVTOL system in the near term, and in doing so they’re building a huge advantage in experience, autonomous flight hours and data.”
More than US$20 million in service reservation agreements
The investment will enable Guardian Agriculture to accelerate development and production of its crop protection system to fulfil initial demand. In addition to support from some of the world’s largest agribusiness leaders, Guardian Agriculture has built a backlog of more than US$20 million in service reservation agreements from farmers and farm operators nationwide and is quickly ramping its capacity.
“This is the first new aerial technology to make a material impact on American farms,” said Mike Wilbur, CEO of Wilbur-Ellis’ Cavallo Ventures. “We believe it can be profitably, and rapidly, deployed and are looking forward to working with Guardian Agriculture to roll out their technology to our customers and partners.”
“The erosion of denuded ditchbanks and field edges and the large-scale selection for resistance caused by airplane-based application triggers a destructive chain of events that melts that whole landscape away, and the productivity enjoyed by that farmer is stolen from a thousand future generations,” concluded Clay Mitchell, co-founder and managing director of Fall Line Capital. “With the entire Guardian Agriculture solution engineered around precise control of the droplet from nozzle to target, the true aim of crop protection is recaptured. Deploying this technology across our national portfolio of farmland is critical for both our farms and our ecosystem.”