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This Ag robot startup from the UK raises £1.5M to fix farming

Photo Credit: Muddy Machines

Muddy Machines, an AgTech and robotics company that helps automate crop harvesting, has received £1.5M in seed funding. Regenerate Ventures led the latest round of funding, which specialises in investing in technologies that help farmers produce food with less environmental impact.

Ponderosa Ventures, Jude Gomilla, Thrive/SVG Ventures, Science Angel Syndicate, and others also participated in the funding round.

Fund usage

The funds will be used to assist the company in continuing to develop a robotic platform capable of deploying a variety of harvest tools in specialty field crops. It will also be used to strengthen the company’s engineering team and build capacity to deal with increased technological adoption.

Muddy Machines, also part of the Startlife Accelerate Programme at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, has won nearly £2.5M in grant funding from Innovate UK and DEFRA.

Tech at play to fix labour issues

Farmers can harvest crops like asparagus with precision thanks to the company’s technology. Its Sprout robot can drive through fields harvesting accurately for up to 16 hours a day with no breaks and no performance degradation. Muddy Machines tested its Sprout robot on Chinn’s property this year.

Florian Richter, CEO and co-founder at Muddy Machines, said: “Raising money for AgTech and hardware businesses is a challenge at the best of times. We are extremely proud to have secured this funding in the current investment climate. We are now focused on creating a meaningful amount of harvest capacity for our customers.”

Muddy Machines was founded in 2020 by Christopher Chavasse and Florian Richter with the goal of solving labour issues in farming with robots in a sustainable manner. Muddy Machines has created a robotic platform capable of deploying a wide range of harvest tools in specialty field crops.

“We were impressed by Muddy Machine’s vision and the speed of technical development,” said Paul Rous, MD at Regenerate Ventures. “This was a company founded in the midst of the first lockdown. Within two years they had a robot asparagus harvester built and commercially tested.”

Evi Steyer, MD at Ponderosa Ventures, added: “Fixing labour issues in farming is essential for ensuring a sustainable domestic food supply in developed countries and reducing food miles. This business has shown it can come up with solutions quickly.”

“The situation is desperate,“ said John Chinn of Cobrey Farms, the UK’s largest growers of asparagus. “It’s not about cutting costs of labour, but our inability to find it. We have a 12-week season and this technology is vital if we are to harvest the crop.”

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