ecoRobotix raises CHF 10.6 million in Series B round
Founded in 2011, ecoRobotix develops autonomous weeding robots, which help farmers to produce healthier food with a more efficient and sustainable use of herbicides. After having successfully carried out pilot projects in Switzerland and Europe, and achieved key R&D milestones, the company closed a CHF 10.6 million (EUR 9.2 million) Series B financing round in May 2018.
Capagro and BASF Venture Capital led the round, along with a new private financing partner. Existing investor 4FO Ventures as well as private investors from Business Angels Switzerland (BAS) and investiere also contributed, renewing their confidence in ecoRobotix’s business potential. The new funds will be used to achieve European market entry.
“After a successful Series A round of CHF 3 million in 2016, ecoRobotix is now entering a second phase of its existence, which is to grow into an international commercial company”, explains Aurélien G. Demaurex, CEO and co-founder of ecoRobotix. “In addition to our historic investment partners, we are glad to see the interest of new European investors such as Capagro and BASF Venture Capital, who will contribute significantly to achieving our market access objectives”, he adds.
Bénédicte Monpert, Partner at Capagro, states: “Robotics in agriculture represents a great opportunity to help farmers improve their profitability and their environmental impact. We are very pleased to work with such a great and dedicated team, and to help ecoRobotix introduce its sustainable agriculture products on the market, starting in Europe”.
Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital, says: “We support our customers and society with chemistry that makes optimal use of available resources, and are working to integrate sustainability increasingly in all our business processes. One part of this is the investment in Artificial Intelligence-based technology platforms like the one offered by ecoRobotix. We are looking forward to being part of this new opportunity”.
ecoRobotix’s first round lead investor, 4FO ventures, represented by Dr Jean-Pierre Rosat, adds: “We are delighted to be joined by these two renowned and reputable investors specialized in agritech. This second round of financing is a success for ecoRobotics as well as for our early-stage fund”.
ecoRobotix’s proprietary and cutting-edge technology offers a concrete solution in terms of both ecology and economy for the farming world. Animated by Artificial Intelligence and robotics, ecoRobotix’s smart and solar-powered robots are capable of spraying unwanted plants with precision. This reduces the quantity of herbicides and the number of working hours needed to weed crops, consequently lowering costs for farmers.
This latest investment will allow ecoRobotix to expand its product portfolio and to reach market acceptance in key European countries, the next step toward the world’s multi-billion-dollar weeding market.
Initially under the aegis of Innovaud, ecoRobotix succeeded in obtaining its first seed funds at the end of 2013 from the Fondation pour l’Innovation Technologique (FIT). This support made it possible for the company to achieve the development of a first prototype in 2014. The support of private investors and a research project financed by the Swiss Confederation resulted in an improved prototype in 2015, followed by the production of a first series of trial machines tested in different environments and countries over the past years. In 2016, ecoRobotix raised CHF 3 million to trigger its development and pursue its vision to develop, produce and sell innovative farming machines that reduce the negative ecological impact of modern agriculture while keeping costs competitive. The current round of CHF 10.6 million was raised with the support of Marie-Laure Berthié from Eolus Partners.
Capagro Innovation assembles 13 leading industrial groups and financial institutions that are closely involved in sustainable development and the farming world. The fund supports projects linked to societal challenges of crucial interest to the agricultural world. Capagro Innovation is managed by Capagro SAS, a portfolio management firm specialized in venture capital investments in biomass-related sectors. Capagro is a socially responsible investor that takes account of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria in its investment decisions. www.capagro.fr
About BASF Venture Capital
Founded in 2001, the objective of BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC) is to explore new growth potential for BASF on the basis of investments in start-ups and funds. BVC’s global investment focus is on new chemical products, new processes, and new materials; on innovative and digital business models; and on companies involved in digitization or challenges relating to Industry 4.0. www.basf-vc.de
About 4FO Ventures
Created in 2016, 4FO Ventures is a mid-size early-stage fund investing in promising Swiss technology companies. It finances and advises companies in their set-up phase and helps them to reach the maturity necessary to attract the largest industry investors. 4FO Ventures is supported by private individuals, family offices, and Swiss pension funds. It is managed by Berger, van Berchem and Cie in Geneva.
Aurélien G. Demaurex, CEO and co-founder
Phone: +41 (0) 24 524 41 23