Intelligent Farming Robot Company Root AI Closes $7.2 Million In Funding

By Annie Baker ● August 19, 2020
  • Intelligent farming robot company Root AI announced it has raised $7.2 million in a seed round of funding

Intelligent farming robot company Root AI announced it has raised $7.2 million in a seed round of funding, according to BostInno. The oversubscribed round was led by Rob May of PJC with participation from Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Jason Calacanis, Austin McChord of Outsiders Fund, Ryan Moore of Accomplice, and Rob Leclerc of AgFunder.

Founded in 2018 by Josh Lessing and Ryan Knopf, Root AI’s Virgo robots are able to pick specialty crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and berries.

“We wanted to build a robot that replicated a lot of the dexterity and strategy that a human applies when touching, interacting with, caring for plants, and have that in the form of a robotic system,” said Lessing in an interview with BostInno. “Beyond that, farmers could use the artificial intelligence on the platform to start driving a lot more insights on the farm, so that every single system out in the field was the eyes and ears of the master grower. We can actually start driving better outcomes that bring more wealth to farmers, more food in the supply chain and more food delivered on a lower input, so it’s better for the environment.”

Lessing is expecting Virgo to be deployed across a number of agricultural facilities outside of major metro areas like New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. Root AI has set up tests in California, Maine, New York and Ohio as well as Canada and the Netherlands.

With this round of funding, Root AI plans to begin scaling, hiring for both core technology development, and field operations. And Lessing said he wants to see Virgo deployed across North America within the next year and in Europe beyond that.