Agri-tech crowdfunder hits half a million in minutes

Agri-tech start-up Small Robot Company (SRC), launched a new crowdfunding campaign on 13th January, with a target of raising £700,000 in a month, but smashed that target in just two days.

SRC, a CHAP member, will use the capital from the Crowdcube equity funding campaign to finance its non-chemical weed zapping robot, Dick to field trials, and to build a fleet of Tom monitoring robots for its commercial weed mapping service.

Agriculture is a $2.4 trillion industry, with the precision farming market a huge global opportunity for investors. Goldman Sachs predicts that the market for digital agricultural technology will be $240 billion by 2050, up from just over $5 billion today.

SRC, a British agri-tech start-up for sustainable farming, has a mission to maximise food production while reducing farming’s impact on the environment. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, it has created an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious, efficient and profitable farming. Its farmbots Tom, Dick and Harry will plant, monitor and treat arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste.

Sam Watson-Jones, SRC co-founder, said: “We hit half a million pounds within minutes. This landslide success demonstrates the huge appetite for agtech – and the demand from farmers. This completely ignited our fundraising. It’s inspiring to see how much support there is for innovation in agriculture. It feels like the time is right for these technologies to start making a difference.

“It’s also closely aligned with the new Agricultural Bill: our technology is at the heart of these systemic changes in farming. Now is the time for us to work together to create a more sustainable farming model: and for farmers – rightly – to be rewarded for their efforts. The recent huge advances in agtech finally make this possible: and farmers are integral to the environmental solution.”

Ben Scott-Robinson, another of SRC’s co-founders, added: “Since our last raise, we have achieved our major delivery milestone of moving from proof of concept to commercially-ready prototype. This next raise will help us to begin manufacturing our robots, as well as delivering our weed zapping technology. Our campaign is now overfunding to reach our stretch target, looking to raise additional funds to accelerate our development.”

To date SRC has also won more than £1million in government grants through Innovate UK, including an £800,000 grant for its ‘Wilma’ artificial intelligence weed recognition and ‘Tom’ weed mapping technology. This was one of the largest single agritech grants made under Innovate UK’s innovation scheme in 2018.

One of the company’s investors is Matt Jones, Principal Designer, Google AI, and fellow of the Small Robot, said: “I’m excited to invest and support the Small Robot Company team in their mission to change farming for the better with humanscale AI and robotics.”

For more information go to SRC.


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