SeeTree, an Israeli AI-powered, end-to-end startup that provides growers with intelligence on trees, has raised $30 million in a series B funding round led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group. This third round of financing, one of the largest investment rounds for an Israeli AgriTech company, will allow SeeTree to scale globally, grow its R&D, and broaden services to cover new crops.
The connection between SeeTree and the IFC was made back in 2018 by Start-Up Nation Central as part of its mission to promote Israeli innovation, by connecting business, government, and NGO leaders from around the world to Israeli innovation that can help them answer their most pressing needs.
“This is a substantial step forward for Israel’s AgriTech sector, working with key players focused on sustainable development such as IFC, unlocking the vast potential we see in emerging markets for these technologies in a way that is financially viable with substantial impact on global agriculture,” said Daniela Kandel, Senior Director at Start-Up Nation Central. “That is why we have been working to expose IFC and other organizations to the value Israeli technology can bring to the development context, and are proud that a connection that happened over two years ago has come to fruition.”
She added that “this is only the beginning; Israel has much to offer in this space, from solutions to smallholder farmers to large-scale optimization of agriculture, leveraging high-value technologies for sustainability.”
“Artificial intelligence can revolutionize agriculture”
In addition to the IFC, other investors participated in this round, including Citrosuco, Orbia Ventures, and Kubota; existing investor Hanaco Ventures participated as well. “All of our new investors are true partners who believe in the power of our platform to increase productivity and help address the impact of the climate and other major challenges in agricultural production today and going forward,” said Israel Talpaz, Cofounder and CEO of SeeTree.
According to Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim Managing Director, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of the IFC, “artificial intelligence can revolutionize agriculture and have a transformative impact on productivity, the environment, and the livelihoods of farmers. We are excited to invest in SeeTree’s technology and help leverage precision agriculture in emerging markets.”
Monitoring 50 million trees around the world
SeeTree offers farmers an end-to-end service to manage and optimize the health and productivity of their trees. Its system identifies the health and growth rates of every tree in a farmer’s grove, and enables the creation of personalized cultivation plans for each tree or cluster of trees. SeeTree collects ultra-high-resolution images captured by drones and multi-spectral sensors, tree and soil samples, and analyzes the data through the platform’s machine-learning algorithms. Ultimately farmers receive an easy-to-use product with features such as tree health, pest, and disease tracking.
With operations in Brazil, the U.S., Chile, and South Africa, SeeTree monitors over 50 million trees around the world, which will grow to 1 billion trees by 2023. “We started with citrus and are servicing the largest citrus growers globally,” Talpaz said. “We will continue scaling within citrus. We are now equally focused on growing our offerings into new crops, such as almonds, olives, and hazelnuts, where we are already deployed and supporting farmers.”
According to Talpaz, the company’s vision is “to enable the Tree-Farming 4.0 Revolution with the Intelligence-per-Tree that we provide. SeeTree as a standalone solution can reduce operational expenses by 20%-40%. By connecting SeeTree to tractors and irrigation systems, we can unlock additional optimizations to further increase the value to our farmers.”
*Photos courtesy of SeeTree