South Africa’s food security is a critical issue to its sustainability. Aerobotics, founded by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer in 2014, addresses the issue of food security by starting at the source - the farming sector. It's platform uses AI, drones and software to help farmers manage crop health and predict crop yield. To date, Aerobotics has helped farmers manage over 81 million trees with clients in 18 countries, including Africa, USA, Spain, and Australia.
The Cape Town-based aerial-data analytics startup has received a whopping $17 million a Series B round led by tech giant, Naspers with participation from Platform Investment Partners, FMO: Entrepreneurial Development Bank, and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation. The capital will be used to improve the company’s AI-based technological platform, thus enabling it to expand across the US, its main market, and other markets worldwide.
The startup had raised $600,000 from 4Di Capital and Savannah Fund as part of its seed cycle in September 2017, followed by an additional $4 million in Series A financing in February 2019, led by Nedbank Capital and Paper Plane Ventures. This makes Aerobotics one of the most funded startups in Africa.
“We’re committed to providing intelligent tools to optimize automation, minimize inputs and maximize production. We look forward to further co-developing our products with the agricultural industry leaders,” said Paterson, the CEO in a statement.