AI Agriculture innovation draws in funding for Cape Town startup

July 18, 2018 • Southern Africa, Startups, Top Stories

AI Agriculture innovation draws in funding for Cape Town startup

AI Agriculture innovation draws in funding for Cape Town startup. (image: flickr/ackab1)

Aerobotics has successfully closed its Series A funding round with a raise of approximately $2 million. Major investors in the round include South African bank, Nedbank Group, US Ag-Tech Venture Capital Fund AgFunder, US-based AngelList and South African-based 4Di Capital. The company is leading the way globally for pest and disease protection on tree crop farms.

Aerobotics uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process satellite and drone imagery and deliver insights to Farmers. Banks and Insurance companies are also finding the information useful when assessing client’s risk.

Aerobotics CEO, James Paterson says, “From preventing the spread of pests and disease, to ensuring optimum irrigation and nutrition levels, the early detection of these problems can mean the difference between producing a profitable harvest, or not.

We use aerial imagery and machine learning algorithms to do just this – provide insightful data on the performance of tree crops so that Farmers can take the necessary steps to rectify any issues before they actually become a problem.” He adds that “with the insights gathered from our in-field scouting App, Aeroview, we could help offer Farmers insurance and financing options based on their crop status,” he adds.

Paterson says, “There is no doubt that the South African agriculture industry plays an important role in job creation and foreign exchange and that there is potential to increase the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product. Pre-empting serious agricultural challenges for our Farmers is a massive step towards achieving this and is something our funders clearly recognise.”

In order to achieve the company’s mission, Aerobotics has spent the last 4 years growing a team with some of the top technical, agricultural and commercial talent in South Africa. Working alongside some of the best Farmers in South Africa, they have been able to validate, build and role out this world-class technology.

The company has also been commended for its innovation internationally, participating in the StartupBootcamp InsurTech Programme in London in 2017 and being selected as one of only 24 start-ups from emerging markets globally for the Google Launchpad acceleration programme in 2018.

This is one of the most significant series A funding rounds concluded by a South African start-up, highlighting the potential of the Cape Town technology sector to profit from innovation. Aerobotics will be using the funds to expand globally over the next 12 months with a US launch taking place in Florida in Aug

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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