Raspberry-picking robot startup picks up £1.5m funding

Climate investor Elbow Beach Capital is supplying £1.5m to raspberry-picking robot creator Fieldwork Robotics.

It marks the third food-picking startup the venture capital firm has invested in, after it supplied cash to Shropshire-based broccoli upcycling startup Upp and asparagus field robot maker Muddy Machines.

Fieldwork Robotics, based in Cambridge, is targeting a further £600,000 via a crowdfund. The round also attracted investment from prior backers Frontier IP and a family office.

Jon Pollock, chief executive of Elbow Beach Capital, said: “Agriculture as it stands is not fit for purpose and we need innovative technologies to alleviate the unsustainable levels of waste and improve the economics for the farmer and end customers in the sector.”

Fieldwork Robotics-picked raspberries are already for sale in the likes of Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.

As a result of labour shortages up to £60m of food will go to waste on UK farms, according to the National Farmers’ Union.

Fieldwork Robotics is initially focusing on raspberries and soft fruits with its autonomous harvesting robots.

“This round will support our work with forward-looking farms looking to solve their labour shortages, reduce crop wastage and mitigate food inflation,” said Fieldwork Robotics CEO David Fulton.

The robotics startup has previously picked up £700,000 from Innovate UK after it was founded at the University of Plymouth.

Elbow Beach Capital is focused on decarbonisation, sustainable energy, and social impact businesses. UKTN last month revealed that Scottish EV startup Munro Vehicles is raising fresh capital with a contribution coming from Elbow Beach Capital.

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