Thu September 15, 2022
Trimble Ventures, Trimble's corporate venture capital fund, announced its investment in Sabanto Inc., a U.S.-based agricultural technology company focusing on autonomous workflows throughout the farming cycle being offered as Farming as a Service (FaaS).
This investment supports Trimble Ventures' mission to invest in early and growth-stage companies that are accelerating innovation, digital transformation and sustainability in the industries Trimble serves — such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation. The investment terms were not disclosed.
Farmers face a variety of challenges including labor shortages, non-stop field operations, weather and significant capital expenses for agriculture machinery. Sabanto addresses these challenges by providing FaaS through swarms of multiple smaller tractors equipped with its autonomous technology to perform in-field operations.
Sabanto has proven its ability to automate a variety of row crop field operations over significant acres throughout the midwest. Leveraging a fleet of smaller 60 and 90 hp tractors, the company has autonomously tilled, planted, seeded, weeded, applied and mowed across Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas.
The company's advanced mission control platform has been pivotal in deploying multiple systems for multiple days of non-stop operation and pushing the FaaS concept by planting over 750 acres of corn and soybeans in one season with a single 60 hp tractor.
"We are focused on investing in companies that are seeking to address important problems in markets that align with Trimble's mission of transforming the way the world works," said Phil Sawarynski, managing director and co-head, Trimble Ventures.
"Sabanto is an ag technology pioneer offering autonomous tractors and services for row crops that can increase efficiency and maximize profitability for farmers. This is an exciting opportunity to help accelerate innovation and offer a FaaS business model to the agriculture industry."
"We started Sabanto with our sights set on tackling labor shortages and resetting the capital expenses for agricultural machinery. We see a future of smarter, smaller, lighter, less expensive and more sustainable swarms of autonomous equipment, substituting horsepower and weight for time," said Craig Rupp, founder and CEO of Sabanto.
"We've assembled a team of ag-experienced engineers and scientists, working alongside farmers, proving this isn't just a thought exercise. With investors such as Trimble Ventures, Sabanto can accelerate our mission to make autonomy an affordable, reliable and scalable solution for all farmers throughout the world. This capital will also allow Sabanto to increase its FaaS operations to reach more farmers, on more crops, over more acres, across more states."
Headquartered in Chicago, Sabanto's mission is to accelerate autonomy in agricultural machinery to solve two primary problems: (i) the increasingly acute scarcity of labor in rural areas and (ii) ever-increasing capital expenses for modern ag machinery.
Sabanto's core competency revolves around low-cost retrofits of existing agriculture machinery regardless of make or model, along with the development of necessary supporting software to maximize the utility of autonomous technology, thereby increasing producer ROI.