Naspers leads Series B funding round in Aerobotics

 Naspers leads Series B funding round in Aerobotics

South African agri-tech data analysis startup Aerobotics has raised US$17 million in an oversubscribed Series B round led by technology investor Naspers.

Other investors that participated include Platform Investment Partners, FMO and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation. These investors topped up the previously announced US$5.5 million commitment by Naspers last May to allow the company to expand and close the funding round.

Founded in Cape Town, Aerobotics processes data from drone and satellite imagery through its proprietary artificial intelligence software to discover and analyse problems, pests and diseases affecting individual trees or vines on a farm. In addition to health, the software also measures size, height and canopy volume.

The startup was founded by James Peterson and Benji Meltzer in 2014 and raised seed funding in August 2017. It has been scaling up its business particularly in the US, besides other markets.

In February 2019 Aerobotics closed its expanded Series A funding round at US$4 million. This happened with US$2 million cheque from Paper Plane Ventures. This wrapped up the previously announced US$2 million fundraise in August 2018 led by South African lender Nedbank’s CIB Venture Capital.

Additional investors in the Series A round included AngelList, 4Di Capital and Savannah Fund. some other notable industry names took part in the round. These were Uber’s head of business for Sub-Saharan Africa, Justin Spratt, and Lee Edwards, former CTO of TeeSpring and AgFunder, an online investment platform company.

A year prior to that Aerobotics had raised around US$600,000 in seed funding from South African venture capital company 4Di Capital and the Savannah Fund in Kenya.

Vivek Sinha

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