SOUTH AFRICA – Dutch development financier FMO is seeking to invest R42.75 million (US$2.5m) in Aerobotics, a South African Agritech company.

The proposed investment will come from FMO’s Building prospects fund and will support the company’s operations, expansion and technology development.

Aerobotics is active in the farm management software, sensing and IoT space and has developed an orchard monitoring, yield estimation and insurance reporting product that supports precision agriculture in the high value tree crops segment i.e. citrus, berries and nuts.

Key components of the solution are field management, pest and disease control, yield estimation and irrigation management.

It 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.

Founded in Cape Town in 2014, Aerobotics uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to farmers, optimising crop performance.

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

In May, the agri-tech company acquired R100 million (US$5.5 million) in funding from Naspers through its early-stage business funding initiative Naspers Foundry.

Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, launched Naspers Foundry, a R1.4 billion (US$96 million) fund to help South African tech entrepreneurs grow their startups.

It is just over a year since Aerobotics expanded its Series A funding round to US$4 million after securing an additional US$2 million investment from Paper Plane Ventures.

Prior to that it had launched a batch of new products and secured US$2 million as part of its Series A round.

It has now more than doubled its total raised funding with a R100 million (US$5.5 million) investment from Naspers Foundry.

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