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John Deere connects to start-ups

John Deere recently launched a new initiative to connect to start-ups. This so-called Startup Collaborator program aims to enhance and deepen the interaction with startup companies whose technology could add value for John Deere customers.

With the program, John Deere wants to attract startups, help them, and give them an (international) platform to test and possibly sell their concepts. “Our focus for the Startup Collaborator is specifically on start-ups that want to work with John Deere in real-world customer environments to determine the technology readiness of their innovations,” said John Stone, senior vice president of Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group.

3 startups working to transform agriculture are already part of the program:

  • Bear Flag Robotics – A California company developing autonomous technology for farm tractors and implements to reduce operational expense and increase worker safety.
  • Hello Tractor – A Nigerian company with a strong understanding of agriculture in Sub- Saharan Africa that has developed an application to manage tractor fleets for small holder farmers.
  • Taranis – An Israeli company that developed an automated field scouting service based on sub-millimetre aerial imagery utilising deep learning for problem detection and analysis in agriculture.

Taranis raised $ 20 million for deep learning technology

Taranis was mentioned earlier by Future Farming and recently raised $ 20 million in funding for development of deep learning technology. Bear Flag Robotics recentely raised $ 3.5M seed round to automate common tasks on the farm.

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With the program, John Deere wants to attract startups, help them, and give them an (international) platform to test and possibly sell their concepts.
With the program, John Deere wants to attract startups, help them, and give them an (international) platform to test and possibly sell their concepts.

Agriculture attracts

It’s not only major global non-agricultural players like Alibaba, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Tencent that have set their eyes on agriculture to develop technologies and algorithms to help feed the growing population. There’s numerous startups from all around the world, many of them without an agricultural background, that want to make a farmers’ life easier and better yielding.

Examples include The Climate Corporation, Blue River Technology and many more. These 2 startups were both acquired by major agricultural players (Monsanto respectively John Deere).

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Taranis was mentioned earlier by Future Farming and recently raised $ 20 million in funding for development of deep learning technology.
Taranis was mentioned earlier by Future Farming and recently raised $ 20 million in funding for development of deep learning technology.

Accelerator programs

Many companies, either in manufacturing, research or distribution, organise so-called accelerator programs for startups to help them grow and scale up. German distributor BayWa for instance organised its program for the 3rd consecutive year in 2018. It’s not uncommon that the company invests in the winners of the competition.

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