Naspers has invested $5.5 million (R100 million) into South Africa’s agritech business Aerobotics, through Naspers Foundry, its early-stage business funding initiative.
Founded by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer in 2014, Aerobotics is a subscription-based artificial intelligence (AI) company that provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry to manage its crops.
Aerobotics provides its clients with insights such as tree counts, the identification of missing trees, and the size and health of trees among others. The company has progressed its technology to engineer fruit counts, and to provide data on fruit size and colour. Farmers use the intelligence to manage their farms, trees and fruit more efficiently. Aerobotics delivers the insights through their proprietary Aeroview platform and Aeroview InField mobile app.
James Paterson, Aerobotics co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Our journey is only just beginning, but already Aerobotics has demonstrated success in our ability to collect and analyse tree and fruit-level information, which are critical to the agricultural industry. We have seen great support from commercial-scale farmers and, more recently, crop insurance companies in the US who require accurate tree-level information about their clients. We are excited to have Naspers as a partner, bringing proven skills in building global technology companies together with the capital required to continue building for, and with, the agricultural industry.”