MetoMotion raises $5 million to bring robotic automation to the greenhouse industry
The Israeli startup has developed advanced, intelligent robotic systems to help growers transform indoor farming production in modern greenhouses
MetoMotion, which is developing advanced, intelligent robotic systems to help growers operate farms, has completed an investment round of $5 million. The round was led by Ridder, a leading greenhouse technology company, and Navus Ventures, the family investment office of Lely. Sirius VC also participated in the round.
MetoMotion’s GRoW robot brings state-of-the-art technology into the greenhouse, making use of the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based computing for 3D perception. Specially designed, flexible motion control and path-planning algorithms give the robot precise motion between plants and a unique design that fits the modern greenhouse environment. Dual arms enable harvesting on both sides of the greenhouse row.
The MetoMotion robot. Photo: MetoMotion
MetoMotion was established in 2016 as a portfolio company of The Trendlines Group with support from the Israel Innovation Authority and with investment from the Technion DRIVE Accelerator. MetoMotion received a €2 million grant from the European Commission in 2019.
The MetoMotion platform automatically collects information during harvesting providing valuable insights, such as yield forecasts and yield distribution analyses, for improved crop management. The GRoW robot packs the crops into standard industry boxes for easy and seamless integration with existing production procedures. The robot’s capabilities include adapting its robotic technology to other labor-intensive greenhouse tasks such as pruning, pollination, de-leafing, and data collection for cultivation analysis.
“This investment by Ridder and Navus is an exciting development for MetoMotion," said MetoMotion CEO Adi Nir. "Beyond the funding, our investors bring a combination of rich knowledge, experience, and understanding of the greenhouse and ag robotics industry that provides us with an unparalleled partnership in launching a system that is a great match for market needs and truly helps growers solve pressing issues in greenhouse farming.”
According to MetoMotion, greenhouse labor costs comprise up to 50% of total production costs. Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, greenhouse growers faced critical labor problems, namely increasing labor shortages and a challenge to retain skilled workers, which contribute to economic damage and raise risks to yields.
“Growers have to do more with less. Automating labor is a key component in that," said Joep Van den Bosch, Chief Innovation Officer at Ridder. "By adding greenhouse robotics to our Ridder product portfolio, we lower the threshold for growers to step into the robotic age and integrate the generated data with all other Ridder systems in the greenhouse environment.”