Queensland startup LYRO Robotics has raised $1.5 million in a pre-Series A round to help local farmers bring their products to market.
Many international and local investors supported the round Artesian/Boab AI and AgFunder Joining original investor Toyo Kanesu of Japan.
Lyro has developed the world’s first autonomous robot, which can pack soft fresh products from a conveyor belt into boxes. The startup plans to fulfill orders for more than 20 robots from Capital Injection.
Food waste costs agriculture up to $2 billion each year, with 31% of produce wasted before it even leaves the farm.
As Australian farmers struggle, alongside businesses to hire workers to help harvest and pack produce, the amount of food wasted due to labor shortages; LYRO Robotics is offering robotic packaging as a service to Queensland farmers and is tackling the initial capital costs of switching to automation.
LYRO robots can be quickly installed on existing packaging lines, and farmers only pay a small amount to pack the robot, with no upfront capital costs, making it easy for farmers to integrate the robot into their existing operational and financial systems.
The startup was founded by a team of global leading experts in robotic vision, deep learning and sensing. They previously worked at the Australian Center for Robotic Vision, and as ‘Team ACRV’, won the 2017 Amazon Robotics Challenge to create a robot that could identify, pick up and place warehouse items.
Co-founder Juzi Leitner says that after two years of research, Lyro Robotics initially focused on agricultural needs, but the technology can be applied to many challenges, from manufacturing and warehousing to recycling.
“We’ve created a whole technology stack – brains, eyes and hands,” he said.
“Marrying computer vision with advanced understanding and high-level decision-making will enable our robots to do more than just put things in a box – to solve a variety of challenges that were previously too delicate or complex to trust to machines.”
Dr. Leitner says you have.Unlike traditional automation systems, there is no upfront cost and no extended downtime when the solution is installed.
“We can have a robot up and running in an hour, working side-by-side with people on a product packaging line,” he said.
“We’re looking to scale up operations to reach farmers across Australia, helping them meet labor shortages that stop them from getting their valuable crops onto supermarket shelves.”