To date the start-up has secured £9 million in funding including £4.4 million from its previous Crowdcube rounds, and £1.56 million in government Innovate UK grants. The new funding will finance SRC’s service for farmer and corporate customers with Per Plant data, and commercialisation of its Per Plant Action capability.
SRC’s mission is to help farmers feed the world while regenerating the planet. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, SRC has created an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious, efficient and profitable farming. Its farming robots Tom, Dick and Harry will revolutionise yields for the world’s biggest food crops using Per Plant Farming methods.
SRC has overfunded on its previous three Crowdcube campaigns, raising £4.3 million. Its two previous rounds closed early, over-subscribing by 274% and 298%. In the company’s last raise, it raised £1.1 million in less than 48 hours via a private Crowdcube equity crowdfunding campaign, which was subsequently matchfunded by the government Future Fund scheme, achieving £2.2 million successful funding in total.
Agriculture is a $2.4 trillion industry, with the precision farming market a huge global opportunity for investors. Goldman Sachs predicts that the market for digital agricultural technology will be $240 billion by 2050, up from just over $5 billion today.
New Small Robot Company hires
The funding secured in SRC’s previous round has accelerated development through key hires, speeding time to market. New hires following the raise include:
- David Moser as CTO – Ex-Director of Research and Technology at Blatchford, the multi-award winning manufacturer of the world’s most advanced mechatronic prosthetics.
- Charlie Box as Head of Innovation, joining from Dyson where he spent ten years in the innovation team
- Tom Watsham as Head of Intelligence, joining from Google DeepMind, where as Research Scientist he led on its Google Assistant development
- Shereen Okotie – Inception Manager Ex-Senior Project Manager, Dyson.
- Kieran Southward – Electronics Engineer Ex-Systems engineer, Haas F1 Team.
- Ross Cassells – Experience designer Ex-Product designer, Hummingbird.
“Launching fully funded is a clear indication that our investors see the trajectory Small Robot Company is on. In our wildest dreams, we hadn’t imagined such a landslide success. This overwhelming support really demonstrates the huge appetite for agritech – and the demand from farmers.,” says Sam Watson-Jones, co-founder, Small Robot Company. “It’s inspiring to see how much support there is for innovation in agriculture. It feels like the time is right for these technologies to start making a difference. We are now very well set for next phase: commercial delivery.”
Industry reactions: game changing innovation
Matt Jones, Principal Designer, Google AI, and investor in Small Robot Company says: “Anything that can help change for the better the way we produce food on this planet is urgently needed,” adding “I’m excited to invest and support the Small Robot Company team in their mission to change farming for the better with humanscale AI and robotics.”
Rob Macklin, the National Trust’s Head of Farming and Soils, comments: “Technology needs to play a big part in solving many of the issues we currently face in farming – particularly improving soil health and carbon sequestration, reducing our reliance on fossil fuel power and fertilisers and avoiding the adverse impacts of synthetic chemicals on the environment. We have started small robot trials at Wimpole and intend to extend trials to other estates in the near future.”
… and yes, I’ve just invested
Finally this site’s editor has taken the opportunity to invest in SRC today. I read about a lot of different food technology and agtech start-ups whilst publishing this website, not many of them excite me as much as Small Robot Company. Per Plant Farming is a hugely logical approach to addressing sustainability in food production. By reducing our dependency on broadcast application of chemicals and even doing away with them completely – by ‘zapping’ weeds – we take steps to protect the environment for future generations. I don’t particularly want my descendants growing up in a world devoid of wildlife. SRC provides the opportunity to help redress the balance between our need for food and nature’s own food chains, whilst also making life easier for those who do the growing – a task that is far from easy.
Investors can access the latest crowdfunding campaign at www.crowdcube.com/smallrobotcompany