Motorleaf extends seed round to turn agriculture on its head
After raising $685,000 as part one of a two-part round, Motorleaf is extending their seed round to February 28th to accommodate additional investment.
Since participating in FounderFuel’s Artificial Intelligence cohort last July, the startup has been growing in size and finessing the technology, thanks in large part to the contributions of investors such as the Canadian division of 500 Startups.
Motorleaf was founded by Ramen Dutta and Ally Monk from Sutton, Quebec in 2015. The story goes that cofounder Ramen Dutta was set to go on a vacation and he needed to buy some technology where he could monitor his crops while he was away. He couldn’t find anything on the market and decided to build his own product, which could automate “a range of appliances such as the water chiller and water level, air temperature, webcam, heating, and cooling.”
“We really like Ally and Ramen and I was able to see their progress in FounderFuel’s last cohort, both in what they built and how they pitched it,” Dufresne previously told MTLinTECH. “Getting deeper we got excited about the potential of the market. I think it’s a still new and relatively unknown market that’s evolving quickly and they have an opportunity to become one of the major software players. I like the hardware but I like the long-term potential of it becoming the cloud-based OS for that sector.”
The startup’s plug-and-play hardware monitors crops and collects data on air temperature, humidity, light, water, temperature, PH and nutrient levels, and more, connecting growers to their crops. ReadWrite’s Cate Lawrence described the company’s technology as “Nest meets Lego for next-gen agriculture.”
The funding, which includes investments from Business Development Bank of Canada and private investors as well as 500 Startups, has already allowed Motorleaf to expand their team to eight, including the addition of a director of hardware and artificial intelligence, a client satisfaction manager, developers, social media experts, and business development executives.
“We’re lucky that we found some very talented team members who are working on software, hardware, and artificial intelligence,” CEO and co-founder Alastair Monk told MTLinTECH.
we’re very lucky to have a whole lot of private investors this round who come from varied backgrounds. They’re lending not just their money but also their expertise.
In addition to growing the team, the funding will allow Motorleaf to stabilize and scale their unique hardware and software system.
“We are ready to start producing in a factory so that we can have a stable and modular system that’s going to enable anybody who grows any crop indoors, from the size of a closet up to five acres, to start truly automating their indoor crop production.”
Despite new investors and increasing interest, Monk emphasized their continuing gratitude to Real Ventures and FounderFuel. “They were the first people to truly believe in our vision of changing the way indoor agriculture is going to work, and truly redefining what it means to automate crop production.”
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