Burro has been on our radar since early 2020, when the company (then Augean) participated in a
TechCrunch Robotics pitch-off.
The Philly-based firm has actually been around since 2017, but it’s really the last few years that have seen its agtech offering really take off.
Those successes have, of course, coincided with the pandemic and resulting labor crunches that have accelerated much of the agricultural robotics space. Over the last four years, many a startup has grown from early pilots to real-world usage.
For Burro, that’s equated to 300 of its robotics systems that are currently operating in fields and nurseries, primarily in the U.S. (along with select clients in Australia and New Zealand). All told, the startup says it has racked up north of 300,000 hours in the field, with 75,000 miles covered autonomously through its commercial clients. That means actually out there on real farms.
Burro is also working to ramp up those numbers by way of a new fundraising round. The company announced today that it has raised a healthy $24 million Series B, co-led by Catalyst Investors and Translink Capital. Both firms will also be bringing their partners to the Burro board.
“We will be primarily using this round of funding for three things,” Burro CEO Charlie Andersen tells TechCrunch. “First, to scale. Scaling for us has two definitions. One, growing revenue faster than costs, and two, turning on production/shipping and leaving it on (i.e. continuously producing, shipping, selling and enabling customer use of our product). Second, we are expanding our product and engineering teams to build new products and features to respond to customer demand. Third, we are also expanding our sales, go-to-market, and customer success teams.”
This news also finds the company launching a new addition to its line of autonomous farm vehicles. The wonderfully named Burro Grande is — as the name suggests — a big new member of the family. This one is capable of transporting payloads up to 1,500 pounds and towing other vehicles weighing up to 5,000 pounds.
The company says a larger version of the system was one of its most requested features. The Grande finds Burro moving into a category that has been dominated by John Deere, as the tractor giant has made several notable high-profile acquisitions.
“In simple terms,” Andersen explains, “Burro Grande is a bigger Burro. Our core Burro is ‘People-scale’ (carries 500 lbs and tows up to 2000 lbs.). This Burro Grande is ‘Pallet-scale’, which means it can carry 1,500 lbs and tow 5,000 lbs. Burro Grande includes several safety features, including 3D LIDAR, and all Burro Grandes come with Burro Operating System Software v 5.0 which includes a Lidar-based SLAM algorithm, which enables GPS denied navigation.”
The Grande can be ordered starting today. It’s set to start shipping later this quarter.