Scythe Robotics, a maker of autonomous lawn mowers, this week announced that it had secured $42 million in a Series B round, bringing its total capital raised to about $60 million. The Boulder, Colo.-based company said it will use the funding to help it deliver on the 7,500 preorders for the M.52 autonomous lawnmower.
Energy Impact Partners led the funding round, with additional backing from ArcTerm Ventures, Alumni Ventures, and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence from a diverse space of investors,” Jack Morrison, Scythe Robotics CEO, told Robotics 24/7 in an interview. “We’re really proud of that and the excitement there.”
The M.52 autonomous mower features 12 onboard ultrasonic sensors and eight HDR (high dynamic range) cameras to allow for 360 degrees of coverage, the company said. It takes advantage of 3D mapping, semantic awareness, precision localization, and motion planning software to help it navigate.
Scythe is not going after consumers with its robotic mower, but professional landscapers. The company does not charge customers the full cost of the robot. It said it uses a “pay-as-you-mow” payment structure.
Scythe starts deploying units in Florida and Texas
Scythe Robotics said it has already started making good on preorders and has started deploying systems to customers in Texas and Florida. Morrison declined to tell Robotics 24/7 how many systems the company has shipped, but said it is “still early volumes.”
He added that Scythe is currently deploying the fifth generation of M.52 and is actively working on the sixth generation. He teased that the next generation will have a bigger battery and a new operator panel.
On the autonomy front, Morrison said the company is continuing to grow its data set of imagery and test environments for the robot.
In a blog post on the company’s website, Morrison noted that since the company’s Series A funding round in 2021, Scythe has more than tripled its team. He also noted that the 7,500 preorders for M.52 represent 2% of all U.S. commercial mower sales.
Robotics 24/7 spoke with Morrison last summer after the company announced that it had received 5,000 reservations.
M.52 designed with sustainability in mind
Scythe Robotics said its system helps customers not only address labor challenges but also assists them in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A typical commercial gas-powered lawn mower emits as much pollution in one hour as a light-duty passenger car driving 300 miles, the company said, citing the California Air Resources Board. Another goal is to help increase the nation's number of green spaces.
“We chose to focus on commercial landscaping first because it’s the industry on the frontlines of green space management. By equipping commercial landscape contractors with labor-multiplying autonomy, we are alleviating the labor pains that have chronically hindered the growth of commercial landscape businesses and are unlocking their ability to cultivate more green spaces,” Morrison wrote.
Citing a report from market research firm IBIS World, Scythe Robotics said the U.S. landscape industry has a valuation of $176 billion. It is hoping to make a dent in the space and bring some positive changes in the process.
“We wholeheartedly believe that the world needs what we’re building, and as I reflect on this important milestone, I’m eternally grateful for the customers, partners, investors, and all the incredible Scythers who share this belief and are committed to this journey,” Morrison wrote.
About the Author
Cesareo Contreras was associate editor at Robotics 24/7. Prior to working at Peerless Media, he was an award-winning reporter at the Metrowest Daily News and Milford Daily News in Massachusetts. Contreras is a graduate of Framingham State University and has a keen interest in the human side of emerging technologies.
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