SUNNYVALE, Calif.--Blue River Technology, a leader in the use of computer vision, machine learning and robotics for agriculture, today announced it has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund (Pontifax AgTech). Syngenta Ventures and Monsanto Growth Ventures joined the round as new investors, and existing investors Data Collective Venture Capital, Khosla Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors also participated. The company plans to use the funds to further expand its world-class engineering team and to accelerate the development of its field-proven agricultural robots.
“Blue River’s use of advanced technology to dramatically and sustainably increase the efficiency of crop cultivation is game-changing. Blue River’s team is addressing and solving one of the largest challenges and opportunities our generation faces,” said Philip Erlanger, Managing Partner at Pontifax AgTech. “My partners and I are deeply impressed by what Blue River has accomplished – successfully commercializing a disruptive crop management system in vegetables as well as building an extraordinarily talented and passionate team that can tackle this problem.”
Blue River Technology produces revolutionary robotic systems that precisely observe and treat each plant in a field. The company’s technology reduces the amount of chemicals used in agriculture by up to 90 percent while capturing valuable plant-by-plant data. Currently, farmers are limited to equipment that applies fertilizer and chemicals inefficiently across an entire field, treating every plant the same way. In contrast, Blue River Technology has developed tractor-towed robots that are able to sense each individual plant, instantly determine its health, structure and needs, and precisely apply the right amount of inputs – all in real time, at tractor speed.
“By targeting herbicides to weeds and not bare soil or the crops we grow, we can drive a huge reduction in chemical use and increase environmental sustainability and health – while also improving yields and saving farmers money,” said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology. “With our new funding, we’re looking to build our team with the industry’s most talented engineers and scientists to advance the boundaries of computer vision, machine learning and robotics in agriculture to solve one of the world’s largest problems – sustainable agriculture.”
Blue River’s first commercial application addresses thinning and weeding for specialty vegetable production, with Blue River robots currently providing plant-by-plant care on 10 percent of U.S. lettuce fields. The company is expanding to other crops and will help farmers increase yields and profits by replacing broadcast spray with targeted controls.
ABOUT BLUE RIVER TECHNOLOGY
Founded in 2011 and based in Sunnyvale, California, Blue River Technology’s mission is to create and deliver advanced technology for better agriculture. The company’s pioneering approach utilizes computer vision and robotics to build a future that “makes every plant count” – where the needs of each plant are precisely measured and instantly responded to, significantly reducing chemical and nutrient use. The company brings substantial experience in precision agriculture, robotics, computer vision and machine learning.
ABOUT PONTIFAX AGTECH
Pontifax AgTech is a pioneering growth equity fund which is dedicated to food and agriculture technology. Pontifax AgTech invests globally in businesses that improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, health & nutrition and supply chain efficiency. To learn more about Pontifax AgTech, please visit www.pontifaxagtech.com.