future acres

future acres

Courtesy of CropSafe.

This January, John McElhone moved to Santa Monica from, as he described it, “a tiny farm in the absolute middle of nowhere” in his native Northern Ireland, with the goal of growing the crop-monitoring tech startup he founded.

It looks like McElhone’s big move is beginning to pay off: His company, CropSafe, announced a $3 million seed funding round on Tuesday that will help it develop and scale its remote crop-monitoring capabilities for farmers. Venture firm Elefund led the round and was joined by investors Foundation Capital, Global Founders Capital, V1.VC and Great Oaks Capital, as well as angel investors Cory Levy, Josh Browder and Charlie Songhurst. The capital will go toward growing CropSafe’s six-person engineering team and building up its new U.S. headquarters in Santa Monica.

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Santa Monica-based Future Acres makes a single robot—a 4-wheeled autonomous carrier aptly named "Carry"— that aims to help farm workers picking grapes in the dangerously hot fields of California.

Until now, the company has had a few partnerships with small-scale farms, but this week the agriculture robotics company struck a deal with seed developer Sun World International that could take their robot to fruit carriers around the world.

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Robots could soon take on the tasks of farmworkers harvesting the nation's food.

Santa Monica-based Future Acres, an agriculture tech startup, unveiled its first prototype on Tuesday — a robot named Carry that helps farmers transport crops.

Carry won't replace human employees that pick crops. Rather, the remote-operated machine will follow workers and take what they collect back to a sorting facility, speeding up operations in a labor-intensive industry. Since 2017, the team has been quietly busy testing the AI-powered machine that can transport up to 500 pounds of produce in virtually any weather condition.

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