FarmWise, a US startup which builds autonomous farming robots, has raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Calibrate Ventures.
In addition to existing investors backing FarmWise, agriculture company Wilbur Ellis, Xplorer Capital and Alumni Ventures Group are participating in the round.
The proceeds will be used to grow the company’s robotic engineering and operation teams, as well as boost R&D efforts on plant-level detection and actuation capabilities.
FarmWise says farms globally are in need of efficient processes that address the rising demand for organic produce and increasing regulatory initiatives for more “sustainable agriculture”.
FarmWise says its autonomous, AI-enabled robots are designed to solve farmers’ most pressing challenges by performing a variety of farming functions – starting with weeding, and “providing personalized care to every plant they touch”, according to the company.
Using machine learning models, computer vision and high-precision mechanical tools, FarmWise says its “sophisticated robots cleanly pick weeds from fields, leaving crops with the best opportunity to thrive while eliminating harmful chemical inputs”.
The company claims its robots have efficiently removed weeds from more than 10 million plants to date.
Alain Pincot, owner of Bonipak and an early customer of FarmWise, says: “The FarmWise robot is a great field solution we can rely on to tackle our critical challenges. It is very exciting to see the progress that has been made over the months.”
Sebastien Boyer, co-founder and CEO of FarmWise, says: “One FarmWise robot can weed crops to feed a medium-sized city of approximately 400,000 inhabitants.
“Looking ahead, our robots will increasingly act as specialized doctors for crops, monitoring individual health and adjusting targeted interventions according to a crop’s individual needs.”
Jason Schoettler, co-founder of Calibrate Ventures, will join FarmWise’s board of directors, says: “We are pleased to support FarmWise, which has managed to bring a radical idea from concept to commercialization in under three years.
“This is a testament to their uniquely talented team, problem solving capabilities and deep understanding of their customer and market.
“FarmWise is poised to fundamentally disrupt farming processes and we are excited to play a role in their future.”