SUNNYVALE, Calif.--()--Blue River Technology, a pioneer in the use of computer vision and robotics for agriculture, today announced it has raised $3.1 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures. Steve Blank, author of “The Startup Owner’s Manual,” Ulu Ventures, and Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs also joined the round. In addition, Ryan Kottenstette of Khosla Ventures has joined the company’s board of directors.
“Our culture fosters extreme innovation aimed at real-world problems. We are looking for passionate engineers to advance the boundaries of computer vision, machine learning and robotics and help us reinvent food production.”
Founded in 2011 by two Stanford University Alumni, Blue River Technology is developing an alternative to chemical-intensive agriculture, which is both expensive and hazardous to the environment. With breakthrough computer vision techniques for identifying weeds and selectively killing unwanted plants, Blue River Technology’s equipment is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of weed elimination. Its automated solution is particularly well-suited to organic agriculture and for fields with chemical-resistant weeds.
“We intend to invest the proceeds of this round in growing our engineering team and accelerating our new product roadmap,” said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology. “Our culture fosters extreme innovation aimed at real-world problems. We are looking for passionate engineers to advance the boundaries of computer vision, machine learning and robotics and help us reinvent food production. ”
“With global population expected to increase to 9.5 billion by 2050, increasing food production in a sustainable way is going to be one of the great challenges of this century,” said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. “Blue River Technology’s solution will not only be more cost effective than current solutions, but has the potential to reduce U.S. herbicide use by over 250 million pounds a year.”
Blue River Technology’s founders bring significant experience in technical agriculture, robotics, computer vision and machine learning. Heraud previously served in several executive roles with Trimble Navigation Ltd.’s Agriculture group, where he brought over 20 high technology products to the agricultural market, including GPS-based automatic guidance products, spray control products, agricultural displays and others. CTO Lee Redden’s expertise spans the leading edge of robotics, computer vision and machine learning, including robotics research at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Stanford University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
ABOUT KHOSLA VENTURES:
Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in breakthrough technologies in clean energy, mobile, IT, cloud, big data, storage, health, food, agriculture and semiconductors. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California. More information is available at http://www.khoslaventures.com.