Augean Robotics, the 2018 winner of Western Growers AgSharks Competition, has announced its success with raising a $1.5 million seed funding round. The $250,000 equity investment from S2G Ventures as a result of winning the competition played a significant role in helping propel the robotics startup to reach the $1.5 million seed round.
Augean Robotics, is a Philadelphia-based agtech startup which builds a fully autonomous, vision-based farming robot called Burro. After falling short at their first AgSharks competition, the Augean Robotics team was persistent and made it their mission to return to the AgSharks Competition stage with an even better robotics product. Now hailed as the “comeback kids,” the robotics startup walked away from this past year’s Annual Meeting with a $250,000 equity investment offer from S2G Ventures, along with access to farm acreage for pilot testing to bring Burro to market. Today, growers of crops like table grapes, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, nursery plants, and other hand-harvested crops are using Burros as virtual conveyor belts, automating in-field transport and enabling workers to focus on high-value tasks.
“We’ve assembled the world’s best team, found initial customers and have been through a whirlwind of progress” said CEO Charlie Andersen after winning last year’s competition.
Burro, Augean’s collaborative robot, works alongside farm workers as a virtual conveyor belt to help collect and transport crops all while collecting data to help further automate farm work. Burro is now being used by various crop producers to increase productivity on their farms by 30 percent.
Raising the $1.5 million seed round was led by ffVC, a seed and early stage venture capital firm based in New York City. The contributions from S2G Ventures, a multi-stage venture fund who invests in food and agriculture, and Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund dedicated to building leading companies in the ag sector, played a key role in reaching this milestone.
“Western Growers initiatives such as AgSharks is moving the needle in accelerating the development of agricultural technologies,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ senior vice president, strategic planning, science & technology. “We are thrilled that winning our AgSharks competition and receiving guidance from our member farmers has helped Augean Robotics move one step closer to commercializing their revolutionary robot.”