SA agricultural industry welcomes R100 million investment in Aerobotics

Naspers announced a R100 million investment in agritech business Aerobotics, through its early- stage business funding initiative Naspers Foundry. Aerobotics is a subscription-based artificial intelligence (AI) company that provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry to manage its crops by drones and software.

James Paterson, Aerobotics co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, explained, “We are proud to be building quality technology in South Africa and delivering it to customers around the world.

We have seen great support from commercial-scale farmers and, more recently, crop insurance companies in the US who require accurate tree-level information about their clients.”

The insights Aerobotics provides to its clients include the size and health of trees, tree counts and the identification of missing trees. Farmers use the intelligence to manage their farms, trees and fruit more efficiently. Aerobotics delivers the insights through their proprietary Aeroview platform and Aeroview InField mobile app.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO South Africa of Naspers, said, “Food security is of paramount importance in South Africa, and the Aerobotics platform provides a positive contribution towards helping to sustain it.

This importance has been highlighted further in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with agriculture considered globally as critical infrastructure. 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.”

The investment is pending approval by local authorities. Naspers Foundry, which was announced at the end of 2018, is a R1,4 billion initiative aimed at strengthening the South African technology sector by providing funding to talented and ambitious technology founders and entrepreneurs. Last year, the initiative invested R30 million in online home cleaning services business, SweepSouth. 

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