- Bonsai Robotics has raised $13.5 million in a seed round led by Acre Venture Partners.
- The company aims to address labor shortages in orchards with its autonomous vehicles.
- Bonsai’s technology can operate in challenging environments where traditional GPS and LIDAR systems fail.
- The company has already conducted successful trials with California growers, showing promising results.
- The funding will accelerate product development, hiring, and sales & marketing efforts.
Bonsai Robotics, a pioneer in computer vision-based automation solutions for off-road environments, announced that it has successfully raised $13.5 million in a seed funding round. Acre Venture Partners led the round and saw participation from other investors such as E14, Congruent, Serra Ventures, Fall Line Capital, SNR Ventures, Andros, and angel investors, including Travis Deyle, Lee Redden, and Matt Barnard.
Addressing Labor Shortages in Orchards
Bonsai Robotics targets orchards as its initial market, specifically nut orchards, plagued by severe labor shortages, environmental pressures, and price volatility. The company’s autonomous vehicles are designed to operate in these challenging conditions, where even decades-old autosteer technology used in row crops fails to deliver.
The company’s solutions leverage AI SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, enabling vehicles to navigate orchards without human intervention autonomously. This technology is particularly useful in remote areas with adverse conditions such as dust, debris, heavy vibration, and unreliable GPS coverage. Bonsai Robotics has also integrated its software with OEM farm equipment from key partners like OMC and Flory Industries.
Positive Feedback from Trials
Several California growers participated in trials of Bonsai Robotics’ technology in 2023. One such participant, Pomona Farming, reported outstanding results. “The system seamlessly adapted to any field condition and enabled us to harvest faster than when we used traditional shakers alone,” said Ceil Howe at Pomona Farming.
Lucas Mann, Managing Partner at Acre Venture Partners, expressed optimism about the company’s future. “This is the type of innovation that will drive fundamental change to improve access to fresh food and lighten the footprint of each acre,” he said.
With the newly acquired funding, Bonsai Robotics plans to accelerate its product roadmap and invest in hiring, sales, and marketing. “With our use case now proven, Bonsai Robotics can move forward with expansion into other areas of agriculture and beyond to other off-road environments,” said Tyler Niday, co-founder and CEO of Bonsai Robotics.
Image provided by Bonsai Robotics