Collaborative Robotic Agriculture Platform Company Augean Robotics Secures $1.5 Million

By Noah Long ● Apr 7, 2019

Photo: Augean Robotics

Philadelphia-based Augean Robotics is a company that develops a collaborative robotic platform for the agriculture industry — which has announced it raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by ffVC. S2G Ventures, Radicle Growth, and several others also participated in this round. Adam J. Plotkin of ffVC and Kirk Haney of Radicle Growth are joining Augean’s board in conjunction with this round.

Augean offers robot-enabled solutions for the agriculture industry — which addresses the significant labor challenges faced by today’s growers — chief among them being rising wages and a shrinking workforce. By tapping into collaborative and data-acquisitive robots to work along with human workers, it can increase productivity by up to 30%. And farmers can lay the foundation for expansive and high-value autonomy.

“84% of the US crop workforce tends to largely non-mechanized fruit, vegetable, and nursery production, but rising wages and a shrinking workforce are driving growers of these specialty crops to turn to robots to reduce labor needs and costs,” said Augean Robotics CEO and founder Charlie Andersen. “We are thrilled to have this investor support, which will allow us to accelerate the commercialization of Burro and to develop the proprietary datasets needed to enable further autonomy.”

Augean’s Burro autonomous platform uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to navigate farms. And some of the world’s largest growers of labor-intensive crops are using Augean’s robots-as-a-service today. Growers of crops such as table grapes, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, nursery plants, and other hand-harvested crops are currently utilizing Burros as virtual conveyor belts — which automates in-field transport and enables workers to focus on high-value tasks. Widespread commercial availability is expected by the end of the year.

“We really like companies in the autonomous and robotics sector that are built on an innovative tech stack that can be used to solve specific vertical, valuable and mission-critical business problems right now,” added Plotkin. “Augean Robotics, by addressing the acute labor problems facing growers, fits closely within our thesis, and we are looking forward to working together.”

The Western Grower’s Association (WGA) and S2G Ventures named Augean Robotics as the winner of its annual AgSharks Competition back in October — which included a $250,000 investment and access to farm acreage for pilot testing in order to bring Burro to market.