Apr 11, 2023Carbon Robotics adds $30 million in funds, deploys more LaserWeeders
Carbon Robotics, whose LaserWeeders will be in operation in 17 states this year, has received another $30 million in investments, for a total of $67 million for the AI robotics company.
Carbon Robotics’ Series C financing came from a new lead investor, Sozo Ventures, along with existing investors Anthos Capital, Fuse Venture Capital, Ignition Partners, Liquid2 and Voyager Capital. The funding will be used to expand sales regions in North America, optimize and scale manufacturing, develop new software and hardware products, and launch into international markets, according to a news release.
“Carbon Robotics’ elegant use of AI, computer vision, robotics and lasers is the only solution that enables farmers to reduce their most expensive line item — weed control — without damaging plants or the soil,” Rob Freelen, managing director of Sozo Ventures, said in the release. “I am particularly impressed with the team’s fast pace of innovation to bring breakthrough products to market, boosting farmers’ profitability across conventional, organic and no-till practices.”
The LaserWeeder identifies weeds and targets them for elimination. The implement’s 30 high-powered CO2 lasers use thermal energy to destroy the meristem of the weed with millimeter accuracy, without damaging nearby crops or disturbing the soil.
“This financing round further supports our mission to provide cost-effective and efficient precision ag-tech tools to growers,” Paul Mikesell, CEO and founder of Carbon Robotics, said in the release. “Traditional weeding methods, including hand weeding and herbicides, are expensive, unreliable and damage soil health. The LaserWeeder uniquely addresses all of these challenges.”
To date, Carbon Robotics’ LaserWeeders have successfully eliminated more than 500 million weeds across 40 different crops, according to the company. LaserWeeders will be delivered to farms in 17 states and three Canadian provinces. Most recently, Carbon Robotics expanded the features of the LaserWeeder with the industry’s first LaserThinning capability, targeting areas where vegetable crops are purposefully overseeded and then thinned for optimal crop spacing, growth and yield.
As part of the Series C financing, Freelen and Erik Benson from Voyager Capital will join the Carbon Robotics board of directors.
Top photo: Participants at the inaugural FIRA-USA event showcasing agricultural robotics watch the LaserWeeder in action in mid-October 2022. The bright dots under the machine show the lasers doing their job. Photos: Chris Koger
Second photo: In the aftermath of Carbon Robotics’ Laserweeder field pass, FIRA-USA attendees spot the charred remains of weeds.
Third photo: Charred remains of weeds.