Reading, England

Fox Robotics an agri-tech company specialising in the design, R&D and manufacture of autonomous robots for agriculture, has received investment from multiple members of Henley Business Angels, contributing to a total funding round of £120,000.

The company has developed an autonomous mobile robot (AMR), capable of traversing rough terrain and any type of weather. This AMR will tackle agriculture challenges globally. Agriculture relies on seasonal workers, usually Eastern European, carrying out demanding labour such as picking and several additional tasks such as transporting produce from greenhouses and poly-tunnels to the collection points across the farm. These tasks are carried out manually, which is time-consuming and inefficient.

Fox Robotics primarily focuses on the UK’s soft fruit market, which has an annual turnover of more than £653m. This industry faces labour shortages, increasing costs and ever-growing demand for fresh produce. Fox Robotics solves these challenges by improving the farms’ logistics operations with their software and autonomous robot.

With the robots, pickers no longer need to leave their stations to queue at collection points or wait for supervisors to reach them. Instead, pickers can focus on picking more, with the bonus of the robots tracking extensive amounts of real-time data. The technology also ensures that the picked produced is quickly transported to the collection points, chilling or packing house, ensuring freshness and taste.

Fox Robotics plans to use the invested money in research and development, operations and manufacturing for the robot. The company will also be welcoming new team members in the coming months and has secured their first paid pilots with one of the UK’s largest blueberry farmers, a member of the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group Berry Gardens.

 Alejandra Acevedo, Business Development Manager of Fox Robotics, commented: “It has been an incredible and successful experience to have worked closely with the Henley Business Angels and Jurek Sikorski. We are incredibly pleased to have had such significant interest from several angels who genuinely understand and admire the work that we are doing. We have an exciting road ahead and we look forward to making meaningful changes to the industry.”

Jurek Sikorski, Founder and Director of HBA, was similarly positive, adding: “Fox Robotics had attracted considerable interest from members and guests of Henley Business Angels. Seeing the robot at work and how it can save time and money, as well as collect valuable data, was very persuasive. We expect Fox Robotics to make significant inroads into a growing market at a time when labour shortages are a serious issue.”