Harvest Automation Hauls In $11.75M More to Advance Ag Robots

10/29/13Follow @gthuang

Score one for the Boston robotics scene. And for the future of agricultural robots.

Harvest Automation, the pride of North Billerica, MA, has raised $11.75 million in Series C funding led by Mousse Partners Limited of New York. Harvest’s previous investors, which include Life Sciences Partners, Cultivian Ventures Founder Collective, and MassVentures, also participated in the round.

The company started in 2007 (originally called Q Robotics) with the idea of building small, practical robots that could perform manual tasks such as moving potted plants around on fields. It has raised more than $20 million in venture funding.

Harvest Automation is also one of those companies that makes you wonder if and when commercial robotics will really take off. The startup is going after a big niche market in helping greenhouses and shrub farms be more efficient, reliable, and safe for human workers. The robots themselves move around on wheels and look bigger, stronger, and smarter than your average Roomba.

Harvest was founded by iRobot veterans Joe Jones and Paul Sandin and former DEKA exec Charles Grinnell. The company is now led by CEO John Kawola, who joined the firm in late 2012. Previously he was chief executive of Z Corporation and a vice president with 3D Systems.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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