Funding boost for agritech start-up
Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, has attracted £2.1 million for its Crowdcube equity crowdfunding campaign.
The funding will finance SRC’s non-chemical weed zapping robot Dick to field trials, as well as the manufacture of a fleet of Tom monitoring robots for its commercial weed mapping service.
Small Robot Company's mission is to maximise food production while reducing its cost 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, co-founder, Small Robot Company, said: “In our wildest dreams, we hadn’t imagined such a landslide success. This overwhelming support really demonstrates the huge appetite for agritech - and the demand from farmers.
“It feels like the time is right for these technologies to start making a difference. We are now well set for next phase: commercial delivery. We can now begin manufacturing our robots, as well as delivering our weed zapping technology.”
Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder, Small Robot Company, said: “We’re on the cusp of a fourth agricultural revolution, taking farming into the digital age: and with British ideas and British technology at the helm. Our Tom, Dick and Harry robots will completely transform what’s possible on the farm. It will radically reduce chemical usage in arable farming, while improving soils, profits and yields. It’s the ultimate sustainable farming model.”
Small Robot Company has now secured nearly £5 million in funding to date, including £1.2 million from its previous Crowdcube raise, and £1.22 million in government Innovate UK grants. This includes 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.