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EXCLUSIVE: Brazilian ag AI startup Adroit Robotics raises seed funding

May 26, 2021

Brazil’s Adroit Robotics has raised 2.25 million reals ($427,000) in seed funding.

The capital comes from several new private investors, including Pericles Pereira, Antonio Meireles, Marcelo Fragnan, and Marcelo Olivan.

Adroit Robotics had previously raised funding from Felipe Cabalero and the Maeda family, a renowned, long-established farming family in Brazil.

CEO Angelo Gurzoni told AFN that the funds will be used to scale up, expanding the amount of farmland monitored by the startup’s AI-enabled sensors. It will also use some of the capital to commence R&D around the use of its Leafsense technology for new crops.

Adriot Robotics is already working on obtaining additional funding from Brazilian and foreign VC funds and family offices.

“We did one first round with the participation of partner investors and friends, who had been following the evolution of Adroit since the company started operations,” board member Luiz Filipe Olivan, who is responsible for investor relations, told AFN.

He added that the startup aims to take its tech to producer clients outside Brazil. “We know that, for this international expansion, new resources will be needed through Series A funding , and we are preparing for that.”

Adroit’s LeafSense technology is currently being used by 14 citrus growers in São Paulo state to optimize the productivity of their orchards. It is composed of sensors that generate ultra-high resolution images which are then analyzed by the startup’s algorithms. The sensors are coupled to tractors which circulate the orchard to collect data.

“We take a comprehensive view of the orchard: The number of fruits, ripening curves, diameter, and rate of fall-on-the-ground are presented together with information about the plants, such as the number of absent and replanting trees, volumetry, the height of the canopies, and presence of vines and weeds,” Gurzoni said.

“The fruit grower also has access to high-resolution images of the orchard [which are] georeferenced, current and historical.”

Developed to capture images with a frontal view, the tractor technology was designed to stand up to the stresses and strains of being out in the field.

“As we are in an uncontrolled environment, we were aware that we would have to adapt our technology to withstand all types of weather, brightness, heat, and humidity. We also knew we’d have to adapt our tech to the routines and practices of the tractor drivers already working on the farms,” Gurzoni said.

Since launching in 2016, Adroit Robotics now monitors 550 million fruits over 23 million square feet of orchard using LeafSense. Looking beyond oranges, lemons, and tangerines, it is now running pilot projects and studies with a view to deploying its technology on coffee and avocado plantations.

In the past five years, the startup has “overcome many challenges in the development of our technology, allowing us to adapt it with precision [using] data from the orchards,” Gurzoni said.

“This has enabled us to assist our customers in making important management decisions, such as the exact point of harvest and the logistics around that, through to estimation of the stage of maturation and counting of fruits per square foot.”

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