Small Robot Company, which makes precision agricultural robots, confirmed today via email that 7percent Ventures has invested £200,000 pounds (~$259,000 USD) in the company and is now Small Robot’s lead investor.
Small Robot is running its equity crowdfunding on CrowdCube, and has raised £2,003,880 ($2,596,000 USD) from 1670 investors so far. What we don’t know right now is whether 7percent’s money is included among that tally, or if it’s a separate investment. We’ve reached out to Small Robot to clarify.
Regardless, Small Robot has far surpassed its initial £700,000 fundraising target, and the campaign still has one day left to attract new investors. Advertising 7percent’s participation could be a way to goose last minute money from those on the fence or considering investing even more.
Small Robot makes autonomous robots for precision farming, and its robotic roster includes Tom, which maps the farm and Dick, which zaps weeds with electricity to kill them. Eventually they’ll add Harry, a no-till drilling robot. The Tom robot is currently in working trials on 20 farms across the UK.
This is the second equity crowdfunding campaign for Small Robot. The company crowdfunded £1.2 million ($1.6 million) in 2018, and has also received £1.4 million ($1.8 million) in non-equity funding from a UK government innovation fund.
When I spoke with Small Robot Company Co-Founder, Sam Watson Jones, last month, he said the company was going the equity crowdfunding route because there weren’t very many European early stage VCs that would fund companies still developing their product. Evidently Watson Jones found one.
As I also noted back in January, Small Robot Company is going to have to bulk up its warchest because there is some well-funded competition in the precision ag robot space. Farmwise raised $14.5 million and French company Naïo raised more than $15 million for their respective robotic weed killers.
But it’s not all just money, and with today’s investment from 7percent, Small Robot Company may also get some VC-backed connections and support that the crowd just can’t offer.