Precision AI, a computer vision and robotics company empowering sustainable farming practices, announced the closing of $20 million in equity and grant funding. The Seed round was co-led by At One Ventures, founded by GoogleX co-founder Tom Chi, and the Industrial Innovation Venture Fund of BDC Capital, with participation from Fulcrum Global Capital and Golden Opportunities Fund, with supporting non-dilutive co-investments from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Protein Industries Canada.
The financing will support the advancement of a disruptive precision farming platform that deploys swarms of artificially intelligent drones to dramatically reduce herbicide use in row crop agriculture.
Precision AI’s drone-based computer vision technology enables surgically precise application of herbicide to individual weeds in row crop farming. By spraying only weeds and avoiding the crop, yields can be maintained at a fraction of the chemical cost. Ultimately, the company’s vision is to deploy hives of intelligent drones that will automate the crop protection process throughout the entire growing season, optimizing every square inch of farmland on a per-plant basis.
“Farms of the future must be sustainable and produce healthier foods,” said Daniel McCann, CEO and founder of Precision AI. “Using artificial intelligence to target individual weeds is a quantum leap in efficiency and sustainability over today’s practices of indiscriminate broadcast application of herbicide.”
Herbicide spraying is one of the least efficient agricultural activities, with over 80 percent wasted on bare ground and another 15 percent falling on the crop. While competitors have focused on high-value, low acreage crops, Precision AI’s disruptive approach to drone swarming allows for application on large acreage crops at a much lower cost than traditional large farming machinery. It holds the promise to reduce pesticide use by up to 95% while maintaining crop yield and saving farmers up to $52 per acre per growing season. “The cost savings are massive,” said McCann. “And the affordable unit economics of drones makes the technology accessible to even the smallest farm”.
“We were immediately struck by Precision AI’s unique combination of drone technology with precise chemical application. Not only can it minimize toxic runoff to protect waterways and downstream ecology, but also reduce farmers’ operating costs and increase their revenue with a zero-chemical residue label,” said Laurie Menoud, Partner at At One Ventures and member of the Board of Directors.
“BDC Capital is excited to back an ambitious entrepreneur with a great syndicate of investment partners. Precision AI’s technology, by applying Artificial Intelligence technologies in the field, will reduce reliance on crop inputs and enable benefits to farmers, the broader food supply chain, and the environment. We are hopeful that Precision AI can be among the next generation of Agtech solutions that change the industry.” said Joe Regan, Managing Partner, Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, BDC Capital, who will be joining the Board of Directors.
The platform also increases producer competitiveness in the global market with integrated food supply chain traceability and proof of sustainable farming practices.
“Autonomous, precision spraying is the future of modern agriculture, and Precision AI’s best-in-class technology stack and deep management expertise have the potential to accelerate the development of this industry in exciting ways,” said Kevin Lockett, partner at U.S.-based Fulcrum Global Capital. “With an increasingly informed consuming public demanding greater transparency into the food it eats, we are excited to partner with Precision AI and the other co-investors in commercializing multiple ways to reduce the use of traditional chemicals within our food system while increasing sustainability and farmer profitability.”
“Precision AI’s technology is revolutionizing the agriculture industry. Its innovative application of precision spraying not only prevents the overuse of herbicides but reduces operating costs for farmers and delivers improved and sustainable crop protection practices. Precision AI is a shining example of Canadian cleantech innovation and SDTC is proud to invest in its transformative technology.” said Leah Lawrence, President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada.