Tech giant Naspers, through its early-stage business funding initiative Naspers Foundry, has decided to invest US$5.5 million in the South African agri-tech startup Aerobotics.
It is to be noted here that Naspers Foundry initiative was launched in 2018. It invested around R30-million in SweepSouth, an online home cleaning services business last year.
The investment is subject to approval by the regulatory authorities.
“The company has progressed its technology to engineer fruit counts, and to provide data on fruit size and colour. Farmers use the intelligence to manage their farms, trees and fruit more efficiently,” Naspers said in an official statement announcing the investment.
“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,” Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers’s South African operations, said.
Notably, the startup provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry for the management of crops. Through its proprietary artificial intelligence software, it is also engaged in processing data from drone and satellite imagery. Founded in 2014, the startup’s co-founders are Benji Meltzer (CTO) and James Paterson (CEO).
Earlier in 2019, Aerobotics announced to expand its Series A funding round from $2 million to $4 million.