Sabanto Seeks to Expand Use of Self-Driving Tractors With $17M
Outside of major cities, the Midwest is laden with acres of farmlands cultivating corn, soybeans and other crops. It is the place to be for agtech startups. Recently, one Chicago-based startup working to automate farm equipment secured new funding as it seeks to expand access to autonomous tractors.
On Thursday, Sabanto announced that it closed an oversubscribed $17 million Series A funding round led by Fulcrum Global Captial, an agtech-focused VC group based in Kansas.
Sabanto automates small farming equipment such as tractors with between 60 and 90 horsepower. The company also provides supporting software to maximize the use of autonomous tech.
According to the company, its autonomous upgrades to tractors can help til land, plant crops and weed out blight. The machinery also connects to Sabanto’s platform and that allows the tractors to run unmanned and non-stop for multiple days.
“We started Sabanto with our sights set on fixing the lack of labor and resetting the out-of-control capital expenses in agricultural machinery. We see a future of smarter, smaller, lighter, less expensive and more sustainable swarms of autonomous equipment, substituting horsepower and weight for time,” Craig Rupp, founder and CEO of Sabanto, said in a statement. “We’ve assembled a team of actual ag-experienced engineers and scientists, working alongside real farmers, proving this isn’t just a thought exercise.”
Sabanto’s tech and product works differently than its Illinois competitor John Deere, which also recently announced fully autonomous tractors. John Deere’s self-driving capabilities come integrated with Deere’s 8R tractor while Sabanto sells modifications that can be placed onto any small tracker to make it autonomous and sell it at a lower cost than other self-driving tractor solutions.
With the new funding, the company is looking to scale its autonomous solutions.