Drone Funding: Paper Planes Ventures Flies $2M to Aerobotics

South African drone startup Aerobotics knows that paper airplanes are more than just childhood toys. The up-and-coming firm just received a $2 million boost in VC funding from Johannesburg-based Paper Planes Ventures.

The Series A expansion brings the Paper Plane’s total investment to $4 million, an Aerobotics statement noted last week.

“We are grateful that Paper Plane Ventures has put their faith and capital in our company, which we will use to expand our growth in South Africa, the United States and around the world and increase our ability of helping farmers and partners in the agriculture industry,” Aerobotics Co-Founder and CEO James Paterson said, adding the cash infusion comes at a time when the company is launching new offices in Waterkant, South Africa and later in the U.S.

Aerobotics focuses on precision agriculture drone tech with an emphasis on automated, accurate yield estimation in the fruit sector. “The yield management tool that is being built within the Aeroview app allows farmers to select a yield sample within their orchard, capture fruit counts and fruit size and get a report on the size distribution and number of fruits,” Paterson added.

“Farmers traditionally have faced challenges recording the data they capture in the field when scouting and analyzing yield samples,” said Aerobotics Head of Product Nasreen Patel. “We believe this new field management technology that is being built right into Aeroview will empower farmers to collect more accurate data in-field and make more informed decisions on thinning their fruit and, ultimately, optimizing their yield.”

Aerobotics currently has two business development managers on the ground in the United States and is working with 10,000 acres of crops. The US-based staff is expected to grow to eight by the end of 2019 and will be based around the country near fruit-producing regions. Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Burdock and Chief Platform Officer Stuart van der Veen will be based in Los Angeles, where Aerobotics is set to launch its offices in the second quarter of 2019.

“Stuart and I are excited to make the move to the United States and expand on the success we have already achieved there,” said Burdock. “By growing our physical presence, we are confident we will be able to bring our leading technology to farmers and partners in the agriculture industry in a way that helps them meet the immediate and long-term challenges on their farms.”

Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.

Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.

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