French agribot start-up Naïo Technologies have developed two robots which they believe can reduce the use of chemicals in farming while improving working conditions for farmers. The Naïo team constantly strives to provide robotic solutions to assist produce farmers in their daily tasks and their recently raised 3 million € will help them to do this.
Currently, some 30 of Naïo’s first robot, the OZ weeding robot, have found their way to the fields, mainly of smaller farms (1 – 10 ha), to allow owners to save time on weeding. This market comprises 6,000 farms for France alone.
The innovation of OZ lies in its capacity to move autonomously between rows using laser and camera guidance. OZ recognizes different types of culture and moves accordingly when eliminating weeds.
Naïo’s second robot goes by the name of ANATIS, a hoeing robot for open field vegetable production (> 10ha). The model was developed in collaboration with Carré SAS, a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery in France. ANATIS was first introduced at the Tech & Bio Trade show in Valence last September. The hoeing robot allows Naïo to target a market of 30,000 vegetable farmers working for the French agricultural food industry.
Naïo currently focuses on its latest innovation: a vineyard robot to mechanically weed rows of vines. The prototype is being developed in partnership with the French Institute for Vines and Vineyards (IFV), the LAAS-CNRS Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems and the Southern French Vinovalie cooperative winery group. The vineyard robot will take the shape of a straddle tractor and will be able to weed 5 ha per day. This new robot will be marketed in the course of 2016.
Naïo Technologies has received the 2015 Mechatronics Award for the most promising start-up, as well as the Special Jury Award at the French Collaborative Robotics Contest 2015 and, recently, the CleanTech Republic Award in the context of the COP21 climate change conference. They also work with Bonduelle, the world’s leading manufacturer of ready-to-use vegetables, on various trials for this innovative weeding solution.
Naïo Technologies raises 3 million € in capital from the Emertec and CapAgro investment funds, through a WiSeed crowdfunding campaign and via its historical shareholders. The newly obtained funds will allow the company to finance international expansion and R&D activities in the promising field of agricultural robots.
In 2011, Gaëtan Séverac and Aymeric Barthes, two robotics engineers, founded the start-up in the French city of Toulouse. They set out to create agricultural robots with a triple goal: reduce farmer workload, limit the impact on the environment and increase farmer revenue. The first robots were successfully marketed in 2015 and Naïo Technologies plans to double its sales in 2016.
Testimonials from Naïo Technologies investors and founders
This third fundraiser announces a major turning point for Naïo Technologies; the Emertec and CapAgro investment funds as well as Syselec, a circuit board supplier, will accompany the start-up’s growth. They’re also backed by public investment Bank BPI France, private banks BNP Paribas and Crédit Coopératif via loans and refundable cash advances, and by crowdfunding platform WiSeed.
Aymeric Barthès, Naïo Technologies CEO and co-founder, looks back: "In 2013, we raised 82 k€ in love money from 40 different shareholders. In 2014, a 2nd round brought us 730 k€ through crowdfunding platforms WiSeed and Smart Angels. These funds enabled us to hire our first employees and to industrialize the first 30 robots. The current capital raise will allow us to strengthen our sales force and recruit engineers so that we can pursue industrialization, continue our work on increasing the robots’ autonomy and focus on national and international expansion."
“Between now and 2018, we aim to develop and market products for industrialized cultures, more particularly new robots for open field cultures of vegetables and vines”, adds Gaëtan Séverac, Naïo Technologies COO and co-founder. “However, we can’t lose sight of our main objective, which is to offer new tools and technologies to farmers in order to relieve the burden of daily tasks while respecting the environment. In the end, what we want is that as many people as possible have access to abundant, healthy food that respects the environment! The new funds will also enable us to pursue our CSR policy, which we started in 2013 with the help of the Palanca agency: life cycle analysis, supplier selection and CSR product optimization.”
“Naïo technologies has two unique and complementary assets that are usually hard to bring together in the same team: the know-how of cutting-edge robotics, such as guidance, vision, mathematical data analysis, combined with the profound understanding of the agricultural world and its needs, a knowledge they acquired in the field. We believe that this unique combination, the talent of both founders and the latest funding will provide Naïo with all the tools required to become a European market leader in the expanding field of agricultural robots,” states Emertec board member Eric Marty.
Jean-Baptiste Cuisinier, President of the CapAgro board, explains his participation: “Our investment in Naïo Technologies is fully consistent with our long-time strategy to promote a more efficient type of agriculture that requires less farm inputs. The goal is to improve food quality, respect the environment and enable better wages for farmers. The quality of the team Aymeric Barthès andGaëtan Séverac put together, their understanding of the expectations of the agricultural world, their imaginative use of technology and the newly released funds should help the company develop quickly.”
Crowdfunding platform WiSeed appealed to its private investor database to raise funds for Naïo: “The success of this campaign proves that crowdfunding is here to stay when it comes to financing start-ups and funding their successive capital raises to meet their needs. Naïo belongs to the group of companies that private investors favour on the WiSeed platform: a product that offers a major societal development, a trustworthy team and regular updates on the business’s progress (both in terms of quality and quantity). A winning combination,” highlights WiSeed co-founder Thierry Merquiol.
In order to jumpstart its international development, Naïo Technologies aims to set up a global network of distributors and will attend the following trade shows and exhibitions in 2016:
• SIVAL – The Future of Agricultural Production – January 12 to 14 – Angers - France
• Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture – February 16 and 17- Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
• International Fair of Agricultural Machinery – February 16 to 20 – Saragossa - Spain
• International Agriculture Trade Show – February 26 to March 6 – Paris – France
For more information:
Tel: +33 688 871 711