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Monday, Oct 3, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Business

Is autonomous farming the future of agriculture technology?

The fund uses strategic capital to boost the growth of companies and partners that complement Trimble’s products.

agriculture
Photo by chris robert on Unsplash

Trimble Ventures (NASDAQ:TRMB) announced that it’s investing in U.S.-based agriculture technology company offering farming-as-a-service (FaaS), Sabanto.

The investment is in support of Trimble‘s strategy of investing in early and growth stage companies that are working hard to accelerate innovation, digital transformation and sustainability in the industries Trimble acts in, which include agriculture, construction, transportation and geospatial.

“We are focused on investing in companies that are seeking to address important problems in markets that align with Trimble’s mission of transforming the way the world works. Sabanto is an ag-technology pioneer offering autonomous tractors and services for row crops that can increase efficiency and maximize profitability for farmers. This is an exciting opportunity to help accelerate innovation and offer a FaaS business model to the agriculture industry,” said Phil Sawarnyski, managing director and co-head of Trimble Ventures.

Trimble was foundered in 2021 as a corporate venture capital fund. The fund uses strategic capital to boost the growth of companies and partners that complement Trimble’s products, tech platforms and in support of its customer’s work. Specifically, beyond those listed above, Trimble targets companies with technologies related to hardware and software applications; artificial intelligence; as well as augmented, virtual and mixed reality; robotics and autonomy; and also blockchain and internet of things (IoT), analytics and sustainability.

Sabanto fits into this rubric because of its intent to automate agricultural machinery in service to two primary problems—these being labor scarcity in rural areas and increasing capital expenses for modern agricultural machinery. Sabanto addresses both of these problems through FaaS by offering a fleet of smaller fully-automated tractors to do the farming work, and has been doing row crop field operations throughout the midwest.

The company uses a fleet of smaller 60 and 90 HP tractors, and has engaged in standard farming practices over multiple states, including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas. In terms of proof of concept, the company’s mission control platform has been deploying multiple systems for non-stop operation and as a result planted 750 acres of coin and soybeans in one season with a single 60 HP tractor.

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