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Naspers Foundry invests R100 million in agritech business, aerobotics

20 May 2020

Naspers Foundry invests R100 million in agritech business, aerobotics ●    Platform uses AI, drones and software to help farmers manage crop health and predict crop yields
●    Aerobotics helps sustain South Africa’s food security

Naspers announced a R100 million investment in agritech business Aerobotics, through its early-stage business funding initiative Naspers Foundry. Aerobotics is a subscription-based artificial intelligence (AI) company that provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry to manage its crops.
 
Aerobotics, founded by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer in 2014, is a leader in the application of artificial intelligence in agriculture. The insights Aerobotics provides to its clients include tree counts, the identification of missing trees, and the size and health of trees. The company has progressed its technology to engineer fruit counts, and to provide data on fruit size and colour. Farmers use the intelligence to manage their farms, trees and fruit more efficiently. Aerobotics delivers the insights through their proprietary Aeroview platform and Aeroview InField mobile app.
 
James Paterson, Aerobotics co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The intersection of agriculture and technology has always been my passion and it has been incredible to work with a talented team, and leading agricultural groups, to contribute towards the future of agriculture. We are proud to be building quality technology in South Africa and delivering it to customers around the world.”
 
“Our journey is only just beginning, but already Aerobotics has demonstrated success in our ability to collect and analyse tree and fruit-level information, which are critical to the agricultural industry. We have seen great support from commercial-scale farmers and, more recently, crop insurance companies in the US who require accurate tree-level information about their clients. We are excited to have Naspers as a partner, bringing proven skills in building global technology companies together with the capital required to continue building for, and with, the agricultural industry.”
 
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO South Africa of Naspers, said:
“Food security is of paramount importance in South Africa, and the Aerobotics platform provides a positive contribution towards helping to sustain it. This importance has been highlighted further in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with agriculture considered globally as critical infrastructure. This young, all South African team, has produced a world-class technology solution in South Africa and has also successfully entered the US market where they are gaining momentum. This type of tech innovation addresses societal challenges, and is exactly the type of early-stage company that Naspers Foundry looks to back."
 
The investment is pending approval by local authorities.
 
Naspers Foundry, which was announced at the end of 2018, is a R1,4 billion initiative aimed at strengthening the South African technology sector by providing funding to talented and ambitious technology founders and entrepreneurs. Last year, the initiative invested R30 million in online home cleaning services business, SweepSouth. Naspers Foundry backs talented local technology founders building businesses that improve people’s daily lives and show great potential to scale.
 
- ENDS -

For more information contact:
 
FOUNDRY INVESTMENTS
Fabian Whate, Head of Naspers Foundry
[email protected]

SOUTH AFRICA MEDIA
Shamiela Letsoalo, Media Relations Director
+27 78 802 6310
[email protected]

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About Naspers


Established in 1915, Naspers has transformed itself to become a global consumer internet company and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Through Prosus, the group operates and invests globally in markets with long-term growth potential, building leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities. Prosus has its primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Naspers is the majority owner of Prosus.
 
In South Africa, Naspers is one of the foremost investors in the technology sector and is committed to building its internet and ecommerce companies in the country. These include Takealot, Mr D Food, Superbalist, OLX, Autotrader, Property24 and PayU, in addition to Media24, South Africa’s leading print and digital media business.
 
Naspers is also focused on stimulating South Africa’s local tech sector through Naspers Foundry. This is a R1.4 billion investment targeting early stage technology companies in South Africa that seek to address big societal needs. To help address youth unemployment in impoverished communities, in 2019, Naspers launched Naspers Labs, a social impact programme for young, unemployed South Africans aged between 17 and 25. Located in low income, urban settings, Naspers Labs provide a structured development journey enabling young people to enter the economy.

Naspers has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (NPN.SJ) and a secondary listing on the A2X Exchange (NPN.AJ) in South Africa, and has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: NPSN).

For more information, please visit www.naspers.com.
 

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