Ag-tech start-up Robotics Plus, a Tauranga-based maker of automation systems to address labour shortages in horticulture and forestry, has revealed a US$8m ($12m) investment from Yamaha.
The Japanese giant has now put in a total of US$10m, including an earlier investment in May. An October 31 Companies Office update says Yamaha now has a 15 per cent holding in Robotics Plus.
Chairman Steve Saunders says the new funds will be used for Robotics Plus' UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) and a forestry project still under wraps, as well as pushing its apple-packer, which is already in the market. He's also in the process of setting up a US subsidiary.
The start-up follows in the footsteps of New Zealand sorting automating company Compac, sold to Norway's Tomra Systems in a $70m+ deal in 2016, though Saunders says it has a different focus as it concentrates on labour-saving automation and doesn't offer a full packing system. He says it's complementary to Compac's systems.