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25 million USD for Advanced Farm Technologies and its autonomous robotic fruit harvester

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California-based Advanced Farm Technologies, the first US company to commercialise a robotic strawberry harvester, has closed a $25 million Series B financing round. The funds will be used to support the company’s growth in strawberry harvesting and to apply its technology to apple harvesting.

The Advanced Farm TX robotic strawberry harvester is designed to work alongside manual harvesting crews, automatically sensing and picking red, ripe fruit from strawberry beds in the soil using gentle, food-grade gripping technology.

The purpose-built machine consists of several rugged robots that can withstand harsh outdoor environments and soil conditions. Sophisticated computer vision and machine learning technology allow the TX harvester to navigate the fields and harvest fruit autonomously for up to 24 hours a day.

Advanced Farm has deployed its TX robotic strawberry harvester fleet in fields in California’s major strawberry producing centers, helping the world’s leading strawberry growers, including GoodFarms, The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy) and Naturipe, bring tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fruit to market.

We are fortunate to work with the best in the industry and continue to be impressed with Advanced Farm’s hands-on, practical approach – a proven team that is building on their past successes to bring meaningful automation solutions to agriculture,” said Dave Murray, partner at GoodFarms. Harvest automation with Advanced Farm TX’s robotic strawberry harvester will help us serve our customers, allow us to better support our farm workers, and expand operations to meet consumer demand for high-quality, affordably priced fresh fruit.

The Series B funding round was led by Catapult Ventures and included participation from all Series A investors – Kubota Corporation, Yamaha Motor Corporation and Impact Ventures.

The Advanced Farm team demonstrated tremendous discipline in raising the funds earlier, so the $10 million was instrumental in quickly developing and commercializing the technology and laying the foundation for market entry, said Rouz Jazayeri, Managing Partner of Catapult Ventures. This latest round of investment will allow the company to expand its team and robotic technology, with an eye toward expanding market share and adapting its technology to new crops to deliver on the promise of automated harvesting for 21st century agriculture.

Kyle Cobb, president and co-founder of Advanced Farm Technologies, believes the company’s success to date is a team effort. It is gratifying to have the continued support and commitment of our early investors in this round of financing. This reflects the hard work of our team in developing and bringing to market our TX strawberry harvester,” he said. Our success is also a credit to our strawberry and apple growing partners, who are working with us to find creative ways to bring automation to their farms today, while giving us the feedback we need to iterate and improve the technology quickly.

With more than $70 million in customer commitments, Advanced Farm is working to innovate its technology through collaborative partnerships, including a partnership with the U.C. Davis breeding program, to develop a full spectrum of automated solutions for field strawberry production from picking to sorting and packing.