Indoor farming company AppHarvest announced this week that it has acquired Root AI. The deal is valued at around $ 60 million, with $ 10 million in cash and the recall coming from AppHarvest stock.
Root AI is a robotics startup based in Boston, with a mission quite similar to that of its future parent company. We’ve covered the startup a few times, including last August when it announced a $ 7.2 million funding round. Robotics, in general, has taken a boost during the pandemic, but agriculture and food production have been given a special appearance as organizations seek ways to automate their processes.
Including the aforementioned seeds, Root has raised a total of $ 9.5 million to date, fueled by interest in their Virgo harvesting system. Founder and CEO Josh Lessing will take on a CTO role at AppHarvest if the acquisition goes through. The startup is still quite thin, with 19 full-time employees.
According to quotes from both parties, robotically collected data on crop yields is a key part of the acquisition.
“Agriculture as we have known it is on hold due to the increasing number of variables such as extreme weather conditions, droughts, fires and contamination from animals that make our food system unreliable,” said the AppHarvest founder and CEO Jonathan Webb in a news release. Indoor farming solves many of these challenges, and the data collected can exponentially provide more information that helps us predict and control crop quality and yield. “