Toyota Ventures maneuvers seed augmentation X into Agtonomy, transforming tractors into autonomous vehicles

Agtonomy co-founde and CEO Tim Bucher was brought up on a farm and was profound into his own farming business when he took a computer course while at UC Davis and got snared.

It was that equal agriculture/innovation career that drove him to begin Agtonomy, a mixture autonomy and tele-assist service startup that transforms tractors and other equipment into autonomous machines to give a minimal expense, innovation empowered workforce for neighborhood homesteads to oversee such equipment.

It came out of stealth mode last September with $4 million in seed funding from a group of backers that included Grit Ventures, GV and Village Global.

Grit and GV came back again to invest in the South San Francisco-based company and were part of a $5 million seed extension that includes backers like Toyota Ventures, Flybridge, Hampton VC, E²JDJ and Momenta Ventures. The latest funding gives Agtonomy $9 million in total funding to date.

Having just raised funding, Bucher wasn’t expecting to raise again so soon, but when he saw the outlook for 2022 that agtech was going to be the No. 1 “hot area” for the year and beyond, he decided to take the additional funding.

“Five years ago, it was difficult to get any VC consideration connected with agtech, yet there has quite recently been overpowering revenue from investors, and however we are simply beginning, neighborhood horticulture needs assistance now,” he added. “The funding will speed up our trails and extra accomplices and basically super charge our exercises and capacity to twofold down at the speed wherein we are moving, which includes extending the group.”

Bucher anticipates having 50 trials going and to double the company’s 20-person headcount in the next few months. Agtonomy is as simple as calling an Uber driver, he said. Using a mobile phone app, a farmer can assign a job to one of the tractors, like mowing the field. He believes

self-driving technology like this, and what other companies like John Deere are doing, will help to alleviate the decades of labor shortages in farms around the world.

The company has a little armada of what he called “evidence of idea” electric vehicles that have been working for a year at Bucher’s Trattore Farms. He says the homestead work on his ranch is primarily finished with these vehicles.

Bucher expects that a business send off should occur in 2023, and the company will at first beginning with two or three hundred farm vehicles. In correlation, nearly 300,000 tractors are sold every year, he added. The tractors can be somewhere in the range of $500,000 to $1 million, with organizations like John Deere typically going after big farms.

In contrast, Agronomy’s autonomous vehicles will cost around $50,000, which Bucher believes will encourage larger farms to purchase a swarm of smaller machines that can run 24 hours a day, be more environmentally friendly and not tear up the land.

Jim Adler, the founding managing director of Toyota Ventures, said in a written statement, “We see huge potential in agtech and are making investments accordingly. Fully autonomous vehicles will become a reality on farms where they are desperately needed.”

Similarly, Bucher accepts that a significant number of the independent vehicles cater take into account more “convenience technologies,” while organizations in the agtech space are building comparative vehicles in what he calls “necessity technology.”

“It is kind of a perfect storm with consumer demand, climate change, electrification and labor shortage in farming,” he added. “We can solve these much sooner in agtech than having the other kinds of autonomous technology in our lives. With ours, it allows all of us to eat good food.”

Toyota Ventures bough up an interesting startup on his own cultivating business. I’m certain this startup would keep on succeeding in its journey ahead. My best wishes to the entire group of Toyota Ventures.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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