Augmenta, the company behind the first-in-market, AI-driven autonomous variable rate application of farm inputs, announces today the completion of a $2.5m Seed Financing round led by San Francisco based Hardware Club and Athens based Marathon Venture Capital. The investment will help the company expand its operations in North and South America and deliver against rapidly growing demand.
In an era of climate change and rapid population growth, farmers have never before been asked to produce more with less.
There is an evident need for easy-to-use, inexpensive and reliable solutions that enable farmers to treat every inch of their farm according to actual needs, even if those farming operations are large. A lot of companies have tried to solve this problem in the past, most of which created services around aerial imagery taken from satellites, planes, or drones. However, the widespread adoption of this approach has -for the most part- failed because of the complexity and cost it adds to farming.
Augmenta has approached the same problem but from a different angle. Its state-of-the-art 6 to 12 multispectral camera system retrofits to already owned agricultural machinery like tractors, sprayers or spreaders. By utilizing instantaneous image processing and AI, the system decides on the amount of farm inputs (e.g. fertilizers) every inch of the field actually needs and immediately applies it by controlling the rate of sprayer/spreader application, through various machinery communication protocols(e.g. ISOBUS).
Achieving a resolution of 1.5mm/pixel/camera, Augmenta’s first offering makes an operation like fertilizing with Nitrogen 100% autonomous and one order of magnitude more efficient compared to traditional applications. Importantly, the system is designed to work according to normal farm operation schedules, without the need for any additional time-consuming procedures, such as logistics and elaborate calibrations. The farmers simply have to drive their tractor, sprayer or spreader on the farm like they always do and Augmenta takes care of the rest.
Augmenta released the alpha version of the product at the 2019 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California with great success. It has already been installed and tested in eight different countries and used on more than 26 thousand acres.
Augmenta’s offering is now commercially available, automating one of the most important operations of cereal farming, Nitrogen fertilization. Augmenta R&D team is currently working on additional crop operations like pesticide and fungicide spraying, as well as specialized operations in vineyards and industrial tomato farms. New operations will be offered via over-the-air software updates, eliminating the need to buy extra hardware.
To experience autonomous variable rate fertilization first hand, farmers and distributors around the world are being offered a limited early-bird discount. Please visit www.augmenta.ag/earlybird for further information.
George Varvarelis, co-founder & CEO, stated: “The Augmenta team is ecstatic to see their hard work manifested in actual, boots-on-the-ground results, making the lives of farmers around the world easier and more profitable. Most of our original team members have a farming background which makes us laser-focused on delivering practical solutions that can be seamlessly incorporated into a farmer’s day-to-day operations.”
“While the idea behind precision agriculture has always been a good one, the technology to make it immediately actionable just hasn’t been there. For the first time, we can deliver full, real-time automation and all the benefits that implies. We call it Augmented Agriculture and it is already making a difference,” says Dimitri Evangelopoulos, Co-founder & COO of Augmenta.
Aymerik Renard, General Partner at Hardware Club, added: “Augmenta combines extensive farming expertise and serious technical talent applied to real-world challenges. Augmenta is better for farmers, better for the environment, and ultimately better for producers and consumers of food. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Augmenta team to help their global expansion.”
George Tziralis, Partner at Marathon Venture Capital, added: “Augmenta went from a groundbreaking idea to the world’s first fully autonomous variable rate application of farm inputs within a year. The company’s offering is being received with enthusiasm from farmers around the world, and it is triggering the interest of some of the biggest players in the space. We were happy to double down on our investment and truly excited about the company’s future.”