Venture Capital: Iron Ox Wraps Up A $20M Series B For Robotic Cultivation
The fundraising was led by Pathbreaker Ventures and an assortment of family offices.
Iron Ox pioneered autonomous and robotic farming when it launched its first farm in 2018. Using a combination of machine learning, robotics, and plant sciences, the company addresses issues such as food security and the cultivation of fresh, more consistent production. It announced Wednesday the closing of its Series B funding round worth $ 20 million. Also participating in the round were Crosslink Capital, Amplify Partners, ENIAC Ventures, R7 Partners, Tuesday Ventures, At One Ventures, and Y Combinator. (VentureBeat)
Iron Ox also announced its 10,000 square feet farm based in Gilroy, California. The company intends a nationwide expansion and delivery for next year.
Robotic cultivation is beneficial in considerations of cost and scarcity of labor. The COVID 19 pandemic has raised further problems due to the risk of contagion amongst employees working closely together.
As a result, venture capital investments have flowed towards start-ups specializing in artificial intelligence and robotics.
Furthermore, climate change has impacted field cultivation adversely because yields have shrunk and become erratic to predict. That has led to rising interest in indoor or greenhouse farming, as practiced by Iron Ox.
“We have made it our mission to address food security by developing autonomous greenhouses that grow a variety of local and consistently delicious food for everyone,” said Brandon Alexander, Iron Ox CEO & Co-founder.
“Robotics and artificial intelligence can provide solutions to lower the cost of fresh, local produce while increasing its quality, cleanliness, and availability to more communities,” said Ryan Gembala, one of the lead investors for the round and Founder and Managing Partner at Pathbreaker Ventures.
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of agricultural workers has led to a 40% rise in funding for start-ups in farm robotics and automation, according to an FT report, which quoted data from Dealroom.
Use of funds
Iron Ox will utilize the funding to expand its robotic growing operations in California and elsewhere. It also intends to step up its hiring of machine learning and robotics experts as well as agricultural technologists who can work with plant cultivation.
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