An Indianapolis-based agtech startup that developed a precision sprayer for orchards and vineyards has closed its seed round, raising more than $3 million. Smart Apply says its technology reduces chemical drift and helps reduce input costs.
The company says it initially raised $1.3 million in May but kept the round open. Smart Apply then brought in another $1.8 million, including an investment from Indianapolis-based VisionTech Angels, Frontier Angels, and Illinois-based venture capital company Serra Ventures.
“Serra Ventures had been following the great progress of the Smart Apply team for over a year before making our recent investment decision. This is a technology and a team that is a crucial value-add to the ag tech landscape,” said Serra Ventures Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner Tim Hoerr.
Smart Apply says its intelligent spray control system reduces chemical use by 50%. It uses LiDAR (laser) technology to pinpoint where the farmer sprays the crop.
With the rising costs of farm chemicals, Smart Apply Chief Executive Officer Jerry Johnson says fruit, nut, and grape producers will realize a return on investment.
“As growers experience the significant benefits of reduced dependence on chemicals, cost savings on chemicals and labor, and automated data reporting, demand for the Smart Apply system will grow exponentially,” said Johnson. “This raise will enable us to dramatically strengthen our presence and impact among key targets in advance of the 2023 growing season, including growers, equipment dealers and equipment manufacturers.”
The company’s system is sold an after-market kit and is compatible with most traditional air-blast sprayers, according to Smart Apply
Johnson says farmers also understand the need to adopt technology that will reduce overspray and chemical runoff.
The system also captures data while spraying to help farmers monitor and manage orchard health.
The company says it will use the funds to accelerate growth by growing its sales and marketing teams and expanding manufacturing capacity. It intends to take its product to market for the 2023 growing season.