Using the AI tool to Derisk Agric

(Picture: Aerobotics Co-Founders James Paterson and Benji Meltzer)

African Innovator,Aerobotics Honoured!

Story:Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra

The focus of South African start-up, Aerobotics on  processing of  data from drone and satellite imagery through its proprietary artificial intelligence software to discover and analyse problems, pests and diseases affecting individual trees or vines on a farm promises to  spark  a global green revolution in three crop yield management .

In addition to health, the software also measures size, height and canopy volume. This type of highly accurate data empowers farmers to make better decisions in the field, so they can increase their yield and produce a more balanced crop.

This innovative endeavours  of factoring  artificial intelligence into the mitigation of  risk associated with tree crop primary production  comes as a big input towards addressing food security.

The recent announcement in  Cape Town, South Africa ,by  Fast Company  that Aerobatics, has earned the standing of number 10 on their 2019 Most Innovative Companies List in the Africa sector therefore came as no surprise to many  .

The list honors the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s volatile world. Half of the companies on this year’s MIC 50 list are appearing for the first time.

“We are proud and excited to have been named to Fast Company’s 2019 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies list,” said Aerobotics Co-Founder and CEO James Paterson.

On the back of the Fast Company’s  announcement on 21st February came the  Aerobotics announcement on 28th February that it had   expanded its Series a funding round from $2 million to $4 million.

The funding round expansion came through a signed deal with Paper Plane Ventures and brings Aerobotics total funding to $4.6 million. The funding round expansion and three other announcements were made at Aerobotics’ new office launch event.

Aerobotics’ new headquarters are based in Waterkant in Cape Town’s central business district. Diverse group of people from the Aerobotics network, including Aerobotics staff, family members, clients, partners, investors and media were reported to have attended the event.

Aerobotics’ Track Record 

In November 2018, Aerobotics announced that it had processed more than 10 million trees in its artificial intelligence and software, making its technology and solutions stronger and more accurate.

By the time of Fast Company’s announcement, the number of trees processed has already increased to more than 20 million.

Aerobotics Previous Awards 

At the end of 2018, Aerobotics was named Innovator of the Year and one of the top five most exciting startups to watch in South Africa in the same week shortly after winning the VivaTech Challenge at the AfricArena event in Cape Town. Those awards recognized Aerobotics for specific achievements in the technology and operations sides of the business.

What  Van der Veen brings  on Board

As part of its recent growth, Aerobotics has recently hired Stuart van der Veen as Chief Platform Officer from Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), where he was Head of Disruption and Innovation.

Stuart Reid has also recently joined Aerobotics as Head of Data Science to help drive and grow their capabilities.

Stuart Reid will be based in the Cape Town office where he will establish new processes and frameworks for rapidly-prototyping and scaling state of the art computer vision models for use within existing and upcoming Aerobotics products.

Beneficial Strategic Partnerships

As part of its growth plan Aerobotics considers partnering with others for maximum impact.In February 2019,it launched a series of events around South Africa called “AeroCon” in partnership with various drone industry partners and sponsors, including the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), First National Bank, Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense and Rectron, among others.

AeroCon is a “one-stop-shop” for people wanting to build their own drone piloting business and features a range of speakers and activities to help aspiring drone pilots navigate the necessary licensing and certification requirements.

Aerobotics’ Global Footprint 

Aerobotics has expanded its presence around the world and is now operating in 13 countries, including South Africa, the United States, Australia and Portugal.

Aerobotics’s Impending Launch 

In the first half of 2019, Aerobotics will also be launching an office in California to help push its presence and offering with tree and vine crop growers in California and throughout the United States.

“We have been growing at a faster pace than most people in the agriculture and technology industries expected,” said Aerobotics COO Tim Willis adding ,“While we are proud of how far we have come and how fast we have grown, we believe we are only getting started.

“The market can expect many more big achievements and announcements to come from Aerobotics in the near, medium and long term.”assured Mr.Willis.


Aerobotics’ software, Aeroview, empowers tree crop farmers to identify early stage problems in their orchards.Used in conjunction with the Aerobotics’ Aeroview Scout App on their smartphone, farmers are able to locate problem areas on a tree-by-tree basis.

Achieving success for more than 22 million trees to-date, Aerobotics is setting the standard for tree crop analytics globally and innovating the agricultural processes as we know them a Press Release noted among others.

Fast Company

Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies and thinkers on the future of business.

Since 2011, Fast Company has received some of the most prestigious editorial and design accolades, including the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) National Magazine Award for “Magazine Of The Year,” Adweek’s Hot List for “Hottest Business Publication,” and six gold medals and 10 silver medals from the Society of Publication Designers.

The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta and the publisher is Amanda Smith. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with its  sister publication Inc., and can be found online at


















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