A booming Israeli drone start-up called SeeTree announced the close of its Series A funding in early January of 2019. The startup procured a total of $15 million dollars in funding led by Hanaco Ventures with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners Israel and Waze app founder Uri Levine. The funding comes after $3.2 million seed round in September 2017.
An intelligent network for trees
Until recently the Tel Aviv-based startup had been operating under the radar. Honing its technology and gradually accelerating the adoption of its services to a secretive list of growers. Its clients include some of the large-scale citrus growers in California’s orchard heartland. The new round of funding will be used to further the development of its technology for citrus orchards. Eventually, it plans to expand to other types of crops like nut varieties and to open more offices beyond its existing locations in California and Brazil.
SeeTree provides unprecedented visibility of the health and productivity of any individual tree in the orchard at any given time. It effectively utilizes AI (Artificial Intelligence) with agricultural oriented human minds to achieve amazing accuracy. Its services combine personnel on the ground and high-resolution multi-dimensional sensing imagery. Also, utilizing drones, sensors and special vehicles to collect precise data. This could change or more importantly evolve the ways farms are managed and looked after.
How will this help farmers?
“The basic subscription package that we offer is a health package that creates an identity for each tree. We start from the air using a lot of AI to find the prime suspect or the main problems on a tree-by-tree level. Then we go down to find the root cause of the issue. There’s a different score or medical record for every single tree,” Barak Hachamov, co-founder and chairman of SeeTree, said. “The uniqueness of our technology is based on the premise that you cannot solve big problems with a silver bullet like a single sensor. You have to initiate a campaign of data collection that uses different techniques and levels of data acquisition to reach the highest value for the farmers. This includes sending people out to walk through the orchards and touch the trees.”
For citrus growers, predicting the amount of fruit a crop will yield is very crucial and difficult. This also means that it becomes much harder for farmers to anticipate their income at the end of a cycle. The Israeli startup’s ability to provide tree-specific information might assist growers in capturing a more accurate picture of their estimated yields and, ultimately, their profits.