Crop health monitoring startup FluroSat secures $1.5 million to fuel rapid growth
Flurosat founder and CEO Anastasia Volkova
Fri 22 December 2017 - 8:56 amFunding | Investment | Startup
Agtech startup FluroSat has secured $1.5 million in funding for its crop health monitoring technology from CSIRO Main Sequence Ventures, AirTree Ventures, and strategic agricultural investors lead by CRDC.
In addition to the equity funding, Flurosat has also secured several grants with the help of deep tech startup Cicada Innovations and its Growlab accelerator program. To help farmers grow more with fewer resources, the company uses remote sensing technology, including hyperspectral cameras on satellites and drones, to monitor crop health from space.
Founder and CEO Anastasia Volkova said that while the funding would enable rapid growth, she was “most excited about the depth of experience of the investors supporting us”.
She continued, ““These investors have experience and knowledge in each of the major parts of FluroSat’s business: deep tech, crop health science, data analytics, and machine learning – as well as direct contacts with growers of high-value crops. This is almost as important as the financial injection.”
Volkova said the future of agriculture is in AI-assisted farming, where insights and suggestions gathered from satellite and weather data on a paddock level are served to farmers daily each morning to guide their decision making. She said FluroSat’s technology will also keep farmers abreast of long-term changes to yield sustainability, allowing them to adapt activity accordingly.
“We believe that receiving the actionable insights required to manage a farm should be as easy as viewing your morning news feed,” she said. “Our goal is to give growers and agronomists the cues to make decisions that directly affect ROI”.
Michael Zimmerman, Partner at Main Sequence Ventures, said: “Australia is a world leader in innovation for the agriculture sectors, tracing all the way back to CSIRO’s origins over 100 years ago. We are thrilled to be leading the investment in Flurosat, who are bringing together advances in remote sensing, machine learning and crop science to deliver a much-needed solution for industry.”
John Henderson, Partner at AirTree Ventures, said: “The future of farming is precision agriculture. Identifying the perfect blend of water, fertiliser and/or herbicide on an individual plant-by-plant basis is a perfect challenge for computer vision and machine learning. The result will be hugely improved crop yields. We are excited to be supporting Anastasia and the Flurosat team as they build the toolset for tomorrow’s farmers.”
Petra Andrén, CEO of Cicada Innovations: “Flurosat’s groundbreaking research will have significant impact on our crucial farming and agricultural industries, which is exactly the type of outcome we’re looking for in the start-ups and scale-ups we nurture within our uniquely tech-focused incubator. The funding injection will also further ensure its vital work and world-leading research can be commercialized, so ends up exactly where it will have the greatest impact – on Australian farms.”