Old MacDonald Had a Robot

The pursuit of innovation can lead to strange, or unexpectedsolutions. But when it’s informed by deep domain expertise, entrepreneurs can uncover unconventional and exciting ways to change industries and create entirely new business opportunities. In the case of Blue River Technology, it is the teams’ combined background in agriculture, robotics, and data processing that has helped them develop a groundbreaking offering in the field of precision agriculture.

Blue River merges the world of high tech and a historically low tech industry by bringing cutting edge technology from Silicon Valley into the hands of farmers. Blue River’s product is a physical platform that is pulled across rows of crops by a tractor. The platform combines ground-facing cameras, onboard computers running computer vision and machine learning algorithms, and robotic spraying nozzles equipped with a range of chemicals. These elements work together to identify each plant on the ground in real time and “prescribe” a specific action that the sprayers can execute. A weed gets a dose of herbicide, an underdeveloped crop gets a dose of fertilizer, a healthy plant is left alone.

Blue River calls this approach “make every plant count,” and the implications of this approach are profound. By allowing targeted applications of chemicals, as opposed to blanket spraying, farmers will be able to reduce chemical use in some cases by upwards of 90% – all while increasing yields. This translates into higher revenues and significant cost advantages in a very margin-sensitive business.

We’re also excited about working with Blue River’s extremely impressive team. Jorge, the CEO and co-founder, has been working in technology and agriculture for 15 years; and Lee, the CTO and co-founder, is an expert in computer vision and machine learning, who was recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30. The team they have put together is outstanding: it’s not every day you see computer vision PhDs working alongside farming experts!

We are proud to announce our participation in Blue River Technology’s latest fundraising round, and to welcome them to the family! We believe that the company is a great example of how deep technology can be applied to disrupt large markets. This is the cross section that excites us most at Innovation Endeavors, and we are proud to be working with this phenomenal team to change agriculture and the world. In closing, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Blue River is hiring…maybe you will see a place for yourself on their phenomenal team!