SA agri-tech startup Aerobotics clinches US$17m in series B funding round

SOUTH AFRICA – South African agri-tech startup, Aerobic has clinched R253m (US$17m) in Series B funding round led by Naspers Foundry with participation from the Platform Investment Partners, FMO Ventures Program and the Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund.

The investment according to Dutch development financier FMO will support the company’s operations, international expansion and technology development.

Aerobotics has developed an end-to-end solution for orchard monitoring providing farmers with data-driven insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to crops like pest and disease infestation through a combination of satellite and drone imagery coupled with machine learning algorithms.

Other components of its solution are field management e.g., farm input usage, yield estimation and insurance reporting product that supports precision agriculture in the high value tree crops segment i.e., citrus, berries and nuts.

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It further provides its clients with insights such as tree counts, the identification of missing trees, and the size and health of trees among others.

The company has progressed its technology to engineer fruit counts, and to provide data on fruit size and colour.

It delivers the insights through their proprietary Aeroview platform and Aeroview InField mobile app.

“We’re committed to providing intelligent tools to optimise automation, minimize inputs and maximize production. We look forward to further co-developing our products with the agricultural industry leaders.” 

James Paterson – Co-founder & CEO at Aerobotics

“Our strong relationship, coupled with this latest financial investment, will ensure that we continue to grow agriculture sustainably together,” James Paterson, Co-founder & CEO at Aerobotics said.

The investment comes months after Naspers Foundry said it would inject R100 million (US$5.5 million) in the agri-tech company.

“I am extremely excited to onboard Aerobotics as a new investment of the FMO Ventures Program alongside our long-standing partners at Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund.

“It is truly inspiring to see Aerobotics, an Africa-born, -grown and -based, tech company develop one of the most promising AgriTech solutions for farmers active in orchard management globally,” said Marieke Roestenberg, FMO Ventures Program Manager.

With the investment, Aerobotics will gain access to a large, international network of agribusinesses in emerging markets along with support from FMO’s knowledge partners such as the Wageningen University Research.

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“Through the Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund, we look forward to working hand in hand with FMO and Aeorbotics to further scale their innovative agritech solutions across the world,” said Yassine Oussaifi, Partner of Cathay AfricInvest Innovation.

Aerobotics’ customers are farmers located across the world from Africa, Australia, and Europe to North and South America with the solution used in 18 countries.

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