27th June 2018
Weed-killing robot uses 20 times less herbicide
Following pilot projects, along with key R&D milestones, a new automated farming project has successfully raised the funds it needs for European market entry.
Founded in 2011, ecoRobotix develops autonomous weeding robots, with the aim of helping farmers to produce healthier food with a more efficient and sustainable use of herbicides. After having successfully carried out pilot projects in Switzerland and Europe, and achieved key R&D milestones, the company has now closed a €9.2 million ($10.7 million, or £8.1 million) Series B financing round.
Capagro and BASF Venture Capital led the round, along with a new private financing partner. Existing investor 4FO Ventures as well as private investors from Business Angels Switzerland (BAS) and investiere also contributed, renewing their confidence in ecoRobotix's business potential. The new funds will be used to achieve European market entry.
"After a successful Series A round of CHF 3 million in 2016, ecoRobotix is now entering a second phase of its existence, which is to grow into an international commercial company," explains Aurélien G. Demaurex, CEO and co-founder of ecoRobotix. "In addition to our historic investment partners, we are glad to see the interest of new European investors such as Capagro and BASF Venture Capital, who will contribute significantly to achieving our market access objectives."
Bénédicte Monpert, Partner at Capagro, states: "Robotics in agriculture represents a great opportunity to help farmers improve their profitability and their environmental impact. We are very pleased to work with such a great and dedicated team, and to help ecoRobotix introduce its sustainable agriculture products on the market, starting in Europe."
Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital, says: "We support our customers and society with chemistry that makes optimal use of available resources, and are working to integrate sustainability increasingly in all our business processes. One part of this is the investment in Artificial Intelligence-based technology platforms like the one offered by ecoRobotix. We are looking forward to being part of this new opportunity."
ecoRobotix's first round lead investor, 4FO ventures, represented by Dr Jean-Pierre Rosat, adds: "We are delighted to be joined by these two renowned and reputable investors specialized in agritech. This second round of financing is a success for ecoRobotics as well as for our early-stage fund."
ecoRobotix's proprietary and cutting-edge technology offers a concrete solution in terms of both ecology and economy for the farming world. Animated by artificial intelligence and robotics, the company's smart and solar-powered robots are capable of spraying unwanted plants with precision. This reduces the quantity of herbicides (by up to 20 times) and the number of working hours needed to weed crops, consequently lowering costs for farmers.
This latest investment will allow ecoRobotix to expand its product portfolio and to reach market acceptance in key European countries, the next step toward the world's multi-billion-dollar weeding market.
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