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Burro raises $10.9 mln series A to accelerate commercialization of its collaborative robot platform

Burro, formerly known as Augean Robotics, an autonomy company providing solutions for the agriculture industry, today announced it has raised a $10.9 million Series A. The round was led by S2G Ventures and Toyota Ventures, with F-Prime Capital and the Cibus Enterprise Fund joining, along with existing investors including Radicle Growth and ffVC.

A Burro at work

Burro robots are the first step towards an autonomous future where robots do work outdoors that people no longer want to do. Burros enable growers to boost profitability and mitigate labor shortages today by working collaboratively to force multiply workers, while also laying the foundation for more comprehensive automation tomorrow.
Growers of labor-intensive specialty crops such as table grapes, berries, and nursery crops are largely un-mechanized and therefore out of necessity employ 88 percent of United States crop workers to do a diverse set of hard-to-mechanize tasks.

This workforce has shrunk rapidly in recent years. For example, California, where the bulk of specialty crops in the U.S. are grown, has seen a 40 percent decline in the number of farmworkers over the past decade, driven by the strenuous nature of farm labor, increasing regulations, and rising wages. In the face of this crisis, growers are searching for autonomous systems that can reduce their labor needs, but virtually nothing is available commercially today.

With its Series A funding, Burro plans to address this need by expanding to 500+ robots next year to meet demand from both existing and new customers. To drive this growth, the company is dramatically increasing the size of its team, while also expanding the capabilities of its product. Along with adding the dexterity needed to pick table grapes, Burro will also extend its mobility autonomy into nursery and berry markets.

Burro is the only plug-and-play autonomous people-scale robot available that increases productivity in conventional production environments. Burros feature a novel and patent-pending approach called Pop Up Autonomy™, which means they work immediately out of the box by enabling everyone in a working environment to become an operator. They do not require a centralized control or installation of burdensome infrastructure. Instead, the robots use computer vision and AI to learn on the fly and to navigate autonomously from A to B while carrying various payloads.

Today, Burro has 90 robots in table grape fields covering 100-300 miles a day autonomously, six days a week. Instead of each farmworker walking several miles a day with a 250 pound wheelbarrow full of grapes in the heat, farm workers can stand in the shade and pick/pack with a continuous flow of fruit out of the field. Burros are already transforming worker productivity with one Burro enabling six-plus people to harvest up to 48 percent more fruit per day for a less than two month ROI.

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