Farming robots raise £500,000 within minutes for Portsmouth firm

A PORTSMOUTH firm that specialises in creating robots for sustainable farming raised £500,000 within minutes of launching its crowdfunding campaign.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:29 pm
Andrew Hoad, Partner and Head of the Leckford Estate, with Tom monitoring robot prototype

Small Robot Company, a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, achieved its Crowdcube equity crowdfunding funding target of £500,000.

The company’s hugely successful start to its campaign was due to backing from the farming community. It is also gathering pace with the technology community. 

Small Robot Company uses robots and Artificial Intelligence to improve the way that food is produced and minimise chemical usage.

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It makes farms more profitable, and increases yield and efficiency, through using small robots instead of tractors. Its farmbots Tom, Dick and Harry will plant, feed and weed arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste.

Early investor Matt Jones, principle designer at Google AI, said: ‘Anything that can help change for the better the way we produce food on this planet is urgently needed.

‘I’m excited to invest and support the Small Robot Company team in their mission to change farming for the better with humanscale AI and robotics.’ 

Co-founder and fourth generation Shropshire farmer Sam Watson Jones said: ‘This is game-changing for Small Robot Company. We have already made phenomenal progress. Just one year on from our foundation, we already have three prototype robots and an AI that can tell wheat from weed.

‘With this backing through Crowdcube, we are now poised to completely transform food production.’ 

Small Robot Company’s prototype monitoring robot called Tom is already developed and in field trials on 20 farms across the UK, including the Waitrose Leckford Estate farm and the National Trust Wimpole Estate. 

It also has robots called Dick and Harry, and an autonomous crop management system called Wilma.