Aerobotics CEO James Paterson

Naspers has agreed to invest R100-million in South African agriculture-technology start-up Aerobotics, which uses artificial intelligence and drone and satellite imagery to help farmers manage crop health and predict crop yields.

The funding round comes a little over a year after Aerobotics announced it had expanded its Series-A funding round from $2-million to $4-million with Paper Plane Ventures.

The Naspers round is being done through its early-stage funding initiative, Naspers Foundry.

Aerobotics, which was founded by James Paterson (who serves as its CEO) and Benji Meltzer (chief technology officer) in 2014, uses its technology to provide its farming clients with tree counts, the identification of missing trees, and the size and health of trees.

“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,” Naspers said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the investment.

‘Gaining momentum’

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers’s South African operations, said: “This young, all-South African team has produced a world-class technology solution in South Africa and has also successfully entered the US market where they are gaining momentum. This type of tech innovation addresses societal challenges and is exactly the type of early-stage company that Naspers Foundry looks to back.”

Naspers launched Naspers Foundry in 2018. The initiative has R1.4-billion to invest into the South African technology sector. Last year, Foundry invested R30-million in online home cleaning services business SweepSouth.  — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media

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By Topkeh

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