FruitSpec has announced that it has completed an investment round of $4 million. Investors included AgVentures, a South African agtech investment company and Hubei Forbon Technology Co. Ltd., China.
Inaccurate fruit yield estimation from an early stage (especially in green fruit) remains a key problem in the food chain. The ability to accurately estimate a fruit yield has a major impact on key business decisions relating to crop maintenance/handling and sales projections. Currently, yield estimations are mostly performed by farmers/workers using a visual "count" from the sampling of a few trees. Until now, the main technological challenge in providing early season fruit yield estimates is the inability to distinguish the green fruit from the green leaves in an image. FruitSpec solves this problem with its patented hyperspectral and computer vision algorithms, enabling the company to count the number of fruit and to estimate fruit sizes for accurate early season fruit yield estimation. In all recent commercial operations and field trials, FruitSpec demonstrated accuracy rates above 95% with its technology (at an impressive average of 97.3%).
Commenting on the investment, Raviv Kula, FruitSpec CEO said, "The investment from AgVentures and Forbon is a vote of confidence for the market problem we are solving with FruitSpec's technology. The funding will allow us to expand significantly and broaden our service to our customers, offering them a valuable solution to one of the most urgent issues facing the fruit production chain."
"FruitSpec seamlessly addresses a critical pain point within the fruit market value chain, and its value proposition is easily grasped by industry players. FruitSpec's solution is not merely an incremental improvement to existing industry norms, but a total disruption of the inaccurate and labour-intensive methods currently used. We see this investment as a clear illustration of AgVentures' vision of investing in scalable technologies that disrupt legacy business models within the agricultural and food industries. We look forward to our journey with FruitSpec and have full confidence in the team's ability to roll the solution out across a global stage," said Michael Prinsloo from AgVentures.
Renzong Wang, Chairman & CEO of Hubei Forbon Technology Co. Ltd said, "We strongly believe that FruitSpec's technology and services will not only change the current practices in orchard management and logistics, but revolutionize them.”
"Given the fact that in China apples are already traded as a future commodity in the exchange market, and more agricultural produce will be listed in the near future, the information provided by FruitSpec will be invaluable for the participants in the market. We are anxiously anticipating FruitSpec's entry into the huge Chinese market with our support, to serve all the stakeholders who will benefit from their services - growers, packing houses, logistics, and sellers”, he added.
FruitSpec is positioned to have a major impact on the fruit yield estimation market, with a calculated 47 million hectares (116 million acres) of fruit orchards globally standing to gain from these developments. This translates to a $3 billion market potential for FruitSpec, according to company estimates.