South African startup, Aerobotics secures $5.5M from Naspers Foundry.

South African startup, Aerobotics secures $5.5M from Naspers Foundry.

South African agri-tech startup, Aerobotics has obtained $5.5 million in funding from Naspers Foundry.

The investment will help Aerobotics to scale its growth trajectory that has taken its solution to the United States (US).

Aerobotics is a data analytics company that uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to tree and wine farmers and optimize crop performance for farmers.

The startup has an app named, Aeroview which provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to prevent damages of tree and vine crops from pest and disease.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aerobotics, James Paterson said, “Our journey is only just beginning, but already Aerobotics has demonstrated success in our ability to collect and analyze tree and fruit-level information, which are critical to the agricultural industry. We have seen great support from commercial-scale farmers and, more recently, crop insurance companies in the US who require accurate tree-level information about their clients.”

“We are excited to have Naspers as a partner, bringing proven skills in building global technology companies together with the capital required to continue building for, and with, the agricultural industry”, Paterson added.

Naspers Ltd which was founded in 1915 is a global internet group and technology investor. In 2018 it launched Naspers Foundry, a $96 million fund to help South African tech entrepreneurs grow their startups, last year it invested in SweepSouth and has now invested in Aerobotics.

Speaking on the investment, CEO of Naspers, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa said, “This importance has been highlighted further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with agriculture considered globally as critical infrastructure.”

“This young, all South African team, has produced a world-class technology solution in South Africa and has also successfully entered the US market where they are gaining momentum. This type of tech innovation addresses societal challenges, and is exactly the type of early-stage company that Naspers Foundry looks to back”, she added.

Since it started its operations, Aerobotics has helped farmers manage over 65 million trees with clients in 18 countries from Africa, the USA, Spain, and Australia.

Aerobotics was founded in 2014 by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer in Cape Town.