Robotic Agtech Startup Closes $217K Equity Raise for ‘Barnstorming’ Autonomous Tractor Swarms via Fort Worth’s Harvest Returns

Barnstorm Agtech, a Canadian startup developing driverless robotic tractors known as 'Barnstormers,' has closed on a $217,500 equity capital raise through Fort Worth-based Harvest Returns' investment platform.

The company, co-founded by a fourth-generation farmer and a robotics expert, plans to deploy 'swarms' of the tractors as a service to farmers in the U.S. Midwest and Canadian Prairies to address chronic labor scarcity and other "pain points" of traditional tractor systems.

Barnston Agtech showed off its swarm farming robotic driverless tractors at the Barnstorm R&D Center in a recent YouTube video. [Video screenshot]

Barnstorm Agtech Inc., a Canadian startup agriculture robotics company, has closed on a $217,500 equity capital raise through Fort Worth-based Harvest Returns’ investment platform.

Barnstorm is developing driverless robotic vehicles comparable to compact utility tractors, the company said. It plans to deploy “swarms” of robotic tractors and implements as a service to farmers in the U.S. Midwest and Canadian Prairies.

The company calls it “Barnstorming.”

“I’m a fourth-generation farmer managing 6,000 acres out in Saskatchewan. The need for what Barnstorm is doing is very much driven by my own pain points,” Barnstorm CEO and co-founder Parker Wells said in a statement. Wells teamed up Mitchell London, a robotics expert and serial entrepreneur, to launch the company in 2020.

Barnstorm is addressing the issue of overly concentrated risk in physically large tractor systems, while also addressing chronic labor scarcity in rural areas, the company said.

Barnstormers, as the company’s brand of robotic tractors are called, are designed for basic services such as tillage, seeding, and spraying.

The capital raise will help Barnstorm in its mission to transform the farming economy with autonomous field systems, the company said.

Barnstormers have a unique form factor that is specifically tailored to efficient multi-vehicle transport. They will also feature programming APIs and a telemetry stack designed to enable integration with modern precision farming solutions. the company said.

‘Validation from the agriculture-focused investment community’

Until now, Barnstorm said that most of Barnstorm’s funding has come from deeptech-focused angel syndicates seeking disruptive opportunities based on robotics and autonomy.

In 2021, Barnstorm was awarded a $350,000 grant by the Government of Saskatchewan, Canada in support of R&D for autonomous driverless tractor swarms.  The grant was administered by Innovation Saskatchewan and the funding was from its Agtech Growth Fund, contingent upon hitting various technology milestones.

That year, the startup also raised $1 million in seed funding from individual investors and two angel syndicates: 99Tartans, a group of Carnegie Mellon University alumni investors, and Reinforced Ventures, an angel syndicate focused on Autonomy, Robotics, and Deep Science.

Now, with the new equity stake from Harvest Returns, Wells says the startup has “validation from the agriculture-focused investment community as well.”

“This is important to us,” Wells said. “We very much appreciate the professionalism and integrity of the team at Harvest Returns who helped coordinate our fundraising efforts within this vital community.”

Harvest Returns Inc. is a financial technology marketplace created in 2016 by two military veterans to bring agricultural producers together with investors. Its pool of more than 12,000 investors has funded more than 40 farms, ranches, and other agribusinesses.

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