SA aerial imaging startup Aerobotics expands funding round to $16.5m

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South African startup Aerobotics has expanded upon the funding round led by tech investor Naspers earlier in the year and closed its Series B funding round at ZAR250 million (US$16.5 million).

Founded in Cape Town in 2014, Aerobotics uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to tree and wine farmers and optimise crop performance.

The startup’s cloud-based application Aeroview provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to tree and vine crops from pest and disease.

Following a Series A round in 2019, Aerobotics raised ZAR100 million (US$6.6 million) from Naspers Foundry in May, and the company has now extended that round to ZAR250 million with participation from FMO and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation, as well as other investors.

The funding will be used to boost the startup’s international expansion efforts as well as its technological development.

“Aerobotics is happy to partner with FMO Ventures and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation to better serve our customers. Our strong relationship, coupled with this latest financial investment, will ensure that we continue to grow agriculture sustainably together. We are a proudly South African business and are proving that Africa can not only compete in technology innovation, but lead at the highest level,” said James Paterson, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Aerobotics.

Marieke Roestenberg, FMO Ventures programme manager, said she was “extremely excited” to onboard Aerobotics as a new investment.

“It is truly inspiring to see Aerobotics, an Africa-born, -grown and -based, tech company develop one of the most promising agri-tech solutions for farmers active in orchard management globally. At FMO we are keen to promote its technology among our large network of agribusiness clients in emerging markets with the potential to create a “win/win” scenario for Aerobotics and agribusiness companies alike,” she said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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