Bill Gates is currently one of the greatest owners of private farmland in the United States. According to NBC News, over the past 10 years, Bill Gates has acquired over 269000 acres of farmland in the United States. Well now Microsoft co-founder has also set his sights on other fields and Ventures, that is now Bill Gates has also invested in Iron Ox, which is a green tech farming robot startup or we can say it is a silicon valley startup that operates autonomous robotic greenhouses that can also produce more sustainably.
And recently INOX officially announced that they have received $50 million funds which were funded by Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Other backers in the fund include investors from R7 partners, pathbreaker ventures, and crosslink capital among other investors. And talking about its valuation, Iron Ox did not make any comment on this.
Iron ox is a company that has created the first farm which runs entirely by robots and it is the first time such a farm is created in America. The first Indo farm which is fully autonomous hydroponically, located in San Carlos in California, depends on only two robots to plant and to care for, and the robots also help to harvest and produce. The robots, which are produced by Iron Ox, are integrated with a hydroponic system and which helps to consume 90% less water than the traditional farms, according to a statement which was made by Brandon Alexander the CEO of Iron-Ox. Well, this usually becomes more helpful when the state of California is facing and struggling with another drop and this is surely a timely investment.
Iron Ox is a combinator-backed company, which was first founded in 2015 by Jon Binney and Brandon Alexander. This company helps to develop greenhouses that are maintained by robots created by them, and with this, they can make it possible to provide the highest quality products, which are affordable and accessible to everyone out there. Well according to Brandon Alexander, the Hydroponic method, the method of saving water and growing plants without the help of soil, is just a piece of the puzzle for the future of farming and agriculture. He also said, ” To really eliminate the waste, to really get to that next level of sustainability and impact, we have to rethink the entire growth process.”
Well talking about the robots they have created for the help of farming, each Iron-Ox Robot weighs around 1,000 pounds, and for comparison, it can be said that the size of the robots is similar to the size of a car. And talking about the work they can do, they actually pick up the trays of plants and can transfer them within and around the greenhouse. According to the co-founder and the CEO of Iron Ox, Brandon Alexander, “we design the entire process from the beginning around robotics.” Brandon Alexander has already worked at X, Alphabet’s so-called Moon Shoot factory, and has also worked at the robotics lab Willow Garage. He further said, “it requires pretty much going back to the drawing board to see what we could do if robots were in the loop.”
The company is putting that system to work at a 10000 square foot greenhouse which is located in Gilroy in California. In that greenhouse, a robot which is self-driven, named Grover, helps to move the pallets in the greenhouse and a robotic arm system lifts the pallet for inspection. Sensors are installed at the greenhouse so that they can check the water for acidity and nitrogen levels so that the plants can experience healthy growth.
The last big drought which California faced in 2012-2017 led to cut irrigation for farmers and has forced strict household conservation measures. So Iron Ox helps to use less amount of water with the help of technology. Currently, Iron Ox grows Thai Basil and also Strawberries. They are also working on growing tomatoes, parsley, and cilantro. They are also concentrating on building a 535,000 sq ft greenhouse in Lockhart, Texas.