Spring is a time for rebirth, for agricultural robotics as much as for apple orchards. Abundant Robots, which is developing automation to deliver high-quality produce to consumers, yesterday launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $20 million in seed capital.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company's launch came two weeks after Wavemaker Labs Asia purchased the intellectual property of Hayward, Calif.-based Abundant Robotics Inc., which had shut down in July 2021. Wavemaker Labs Asia is the division of Wavemaker Labs focused on agricultural technology.
Wavemaker said the acquisition of Abundant Robotics is part of its larger strategy to being intelligent automation to market and support a more efficient, sustainable, and high-quality food industry, “from seed to fork.”
Abundant Robots focuses on apples
Apples are one of the most widely cultivated crops around the world, with a growing and resilient $79 billion market, said Abundant Robots. The company claimed that it can drastically reduce harvesting costs in an industry facing a potential 70% increase in labor costs in the next five years.
Abundant Robots is developing computer vision, machine learning, and robotic manipulation to harvest apples. The startup said it aims to create innovative and easy-to-adapt equipment to help farmers maximize efficiency when harvesting without compromising the quality of produce.
Abundant added that it will combine its manipulation and vacuum-based picking capabilities with Wavemaker Labs’ decade-long expertise in developing and scaling technology firms. The collaboration “will take the brand to the next level and bring its machine to market at a more accessible price point,” said the companies.
Crowdfunding democratizes investment
Abundant Robots is raising the capital via equity crowdfunding WAX. It said that it will use capital raised during the initial seed round to build an experienced management team, ramp up resesarch and development, and kickstart the business.
With equity crowdfunding, any individual can invest in a company without large upfront costs, said the company.
Wavemaker's investment portfolio already includes Future Acres, which is developing robotic carts for vineyards.