– USA, CA – Abundant Robotics, the company automating orchard agriculture, today announced $10 million in Series A funding led by GV (Google Ventures) with participation from BayWa AG, and Tellus Partners. Abundant’s new investors join existing investors Yamaha Motor Company, KPCB Edge, and Comet Labs. Abundant will use the funding to commercialize several years of successful research initiatives in agricultural robotics, and continue preparing its first product for commercial launch, a robotic apple harvester. Andy Wheeler, General Partner at GV, will join the company’s board of directors. Abundant Robotics has raised $12 million in venture funding to-date.
Abundant’s mission is to use advanced robotics to make orchard agriculture more productive.
Orchards generate approximately $200 billion of fresh fruit production annually, yet they remain nearly as dependent on grueling manual labor as they did 100 years ago. Critical tasks such as harvesting, thinning, and pruning rely on seasonal surges of manual labor. And, while orchard yields have improved significantly in the last 20 years, labor productivity has not. Without large-scale improvements, fruit and vegetable production will fail to meet the needs of population growth and improved standards of health.
Abundant is focused on meeting the needs of this growing challenge in agriculture. In late 2015, with research funding from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and SRI International, Abundant’s team demonstrated a robotic harvester prototype, the first commercially viable solution for orchard harvesting. Abundant spun out from SRI in 2016 to commercialize this technology and transform orchard automation. The company will initially focus on apple harvesting, and in the long term expects to automate additional types of fresh fruit production.
“Our mission is to bring automation to the hardest jobs in agriculture” said Dan Steere, CEO and co-founder of Abundant Robotics. “We’re excited to work with investors who share our vision for delivering productivity growth needed to support the world’s growing population and improving standards of health.”
“Growers are eagerly looking for an automation solution to solve labor surge issues, and Abundant Robotics is the first of its kind to meet these specialized needs,” said Andy Wheeler, General Partner at GV. “Between the founding team’s deep expertise in agricultural robotics, and the wide potential for expanding beyond apples to adjacent crops, Abundant Robotics is well-positioned to disrupt the orchard harvesting market.”
Abundant Robotics was founded by Dan Steere, Curt Salisbury, and Michael Eriksen, who share early backgrounds in agriculture. The founding team previously worked together at SRI, where they applied leading-edge robotics expertise to agricultural production. Salisbury was a leader in SRI’s robotics group and Eriksen, a software architect, was a key collaborator. Steere initially served as an entrepreneur in residence at SRI Ventures, advising Abundant Robotics before leading the venture full-time.
About Abundant Robotics
Abundant Robotics’ mission is to deliver robotic solutions for the hardest jobs in agriculture.
Based in California, we are global experts in our fields, love solving important problems, and are passionate about building great products. Growers worldwide are grappling with urgent problems, including rising standards for high-quality produce and scarcity of agricultural labor.
Abundant is currently preparing its first solution, automating apple harvest. Abundant Robotics is headquartered in Hayward, CA.
For more information : http://www.abundantrobotics.com
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