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Agtech startup Small Robot Company shutting down

Small Robot Company (SRC) is facing closure after struggling to secure the necessary funding for its next phase, leading the company to enter the process of liquidation. Despite having a signed term sheet, the anticipated investment did not materialize before the company’s financial runway ran out.

SRC pointed to the lack of a robust funding ecosystem for hardware and technology in the UK, especially when compared to the more favorable conditions in the US. The company highlighted that agriculture, in particular, is perceived as highly risky, and government funding often only covers development up to the prototype stage.

As of February 1st, Kroll has been appointed as the administrator to oversee the sale of assets. Collaborative efforts with Kroll are underway to identify potential acquirers, aiming to secure a future for some of the team and the technology, which continues to offer benefits to farmers and the environment.

Headquartered in Salisbury, England, SRC made a mark in the industry by naming its robots with everyday names, including “Tom” (the weeding platform), “Dick” (designed as a weed-zapper), and “Harry” (the planting robot). The AI system responsible for weed identification was aptly named “Wilma.”

Established in 2017 by Ben Scott-Robinson, Sarra Mander, and Sam Watson Jones, SRC successfully raised a total of $13.18 million over six funding rounds and expanded its team to over 50 employees, with the latest funding round taking place in September 2022.

SRC operated in the competitive market of small-format agtech mobile robots, catering to smaller farms and high-value crops. The closure of SRC adds to the recent challenges faced by several companies in the robotics industry, including RoboTire’s bankruptcy, the termination of Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, and layoffs at companies like Locus Robotics and Vecna Robotics in January.

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