Reim-based startup Vitibot has closed an €11 million funding round from its existing investors. The funds will be used to boost the company’s flagship robot Bakus, and conquer more of the current global wine tractor market which represents €1.5 billion per year.
Founded in 2016, Vitibot aims to develop planet-friendly wine-growing and agricultural practices. Collective awareness of responsible consumption is growing, and consumers are evermore interested in knowing the processes behind what they eat and drink, forcing producers to update their cultivation practices. In response, Vitibot’s electricity-powered robot Bakus not only provides effective and concrete responses to sustainability calls, but also increases the safety of operators while protecting the vineyard and biodiversity.
Bakus is a ‘straddle’ robot and is able to work the soil of each vine, equipped with combinations of high-performance tools. Several projects, including confined spraying with recuperative panels, will complement the range of modular tools that Bakus uses in its wine-making work. In the medium-term, Bakus will be able to capture ultra-precise data on the vine that will help the winegrower in decision-making.
Vitibot landed an initial fundraising of €3 million in 2018, which enabled the evolution of the Bakus robot into a marketable version. Now, having renewed the confidence of its historical partners (Winegrowers, Cooperatives, Grand Champagne Houses, Viticultural Service Providers), VitiBot has also been able to demonstrate the efficiency of its Bakus straddle robot to new partners in Champagne, by Burgundy, in the Bordeaux region, Provence and the Loire Valley.
The startup’s team has grown to 50 employees, including nearly 30 engineers, and aims to expand its international deployment from 2022.