Cambridge start up raises £750,000 for its revolutionary system promising a new future to fruit farming
A Cambridge company that helps fruit growers produce more fruit, be more efficient and increase sustainability by using drone technology and artificial intelligence has successfully closed its first funding round.
Outfield provides an orchard management and yield estimation system for high value fruit crops like apples, pears and plums.
The company’s system has generated sufficient traction that it’s already in use in three continents.
Fruit growers are using Outfield to deploy inexpensive, off-the-shelf drone systems, quickly surveying orchards and gathering high resolution images.
Outfield then uses machine learning to analyse this imagery, providing detailed maps of tree condition and fruit loading to help growers visualise and track the parameters in their orchards, informing precision management to increase yields, and sales forecasts to prime the supply chain. This allows growers to produce more fruit to specification, reducing fruit loss in orchard which can run as high as 20%, whilst using fewer chemicals on the land and requiring less manual labour.
Outfield already works with growers in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand.
Turquoise, the UK merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has led the investment in Outfield, its 11th deal for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2). The investment is part of a £750k round that also includes Cambridge Agritech, Deeptech Labs and Amadeus.
Axel de Mégille, director at Turquoise, commented:
“Outfield technology will enable growers to improve yields on their production as well as decrease CO2 emissions associated with the use of chemical fertilisers. We were impressed by what the Outfield team has built so far and are proud to be part of the next step of their journey”.
This funding is being used to expand Outfield’s global reach and extract even more insights from rich data their growers are gathering, allowing for further impacts in the sector.
Jim McDougall, Co-Founder of Outfield added:
“We are delighted to welcome LCIF2 as an investor in Outfield. This investment will enable us to develop the customer base as well as adding new functionalities to the platform. Now is the time for new precision technologies to revolutionise this sector, supporting global food security and managing the environmental impacts of fruit growing”.
LCIF2 is funded by European Regional Development Fund, with the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Managing Authority.
For more information, please contact Jim McDougall on [email protected] or 07763058842
Outfield Technologies is a B2B SaaS business developing an algorithm to analyse aerial image data on fruit crops and help growers in taking decisions to improve yield management. This enables growers to become more efficient, more profitable and more sustainable.
LCIF2 is managed by Turquoise and is a venture capital fund investing in eligible small to medium sized businesses based in England, particularly the areas covered by its local government backers, developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.
LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia. ERDF is an investment programme, part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.
LCIF2 has received £10.9m (for co-investment alongside private monies) from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for this funding. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.