Backing the world’s first raspberry picking robot

10 August 2023

Elbow Beach is pleased to announce its third AgriTech investment, backing harvesting robot developers, Fieldwork Robotics Ltd. Elbow Beach contributed £1.5 million and an ongoing Seedrs round which opened to new investors this week is expected to raise an additional £600k. The round closes in September. Frontier IP, a family office and other existing investors have also followed on in this round.

Fieldwork has developed the first autonomous raspberry harvesting robot, in collaboration with Bosch. The robot, named Alpha, analyses the crop, decides when to harvest the raspberries, and places them in punnets ready for delivery to supermarkets.

Alpha gives growers the ability to extend operations to 24 hours a day, increasing harvesting time threefold. Fieldwork’s technology allows growers to significantly increase their harvesting efficiency and reduce the food wastage caused by human labour shortages.

Working in collaboration with the Summer Berry Company, Fieldwork has deployed Alpha to farms in Portugal, and the fruit it harvests is currently being sold in the UK’s top supermarkets including M&S, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

The immediate focus of Fieldwork is to address the pressing issue of unharvested soft fruit, particularly focusing on raspberries, which represent a $2bn global market opportunity. Global demand for raspberries continues unabated with an impressive c.22% annual export growth. Fieldwork has recently recruited David Fulton as CEO who brings a wealth of knowledge in AI, technology development and marketing.

Jon Pollock, CEO of Elbow Beach Capital:The Fieldwork Robotics team combine their significant technical expertise with a drive to create an instant and lasting impact. Agriculture as it stands is not fit for purpose and we need innovative technologies to alleviate the unsustainable levels of waste and improve the economics for the farmer and end customers in the sector. We look forward to working closely with Fieldwork as they tackle this issue head on.

David Fulton, CEO of Fieldwork Robotics:Elbow Beach Capital are a great strategic and cultural fit for us. As a genuine impact investor, it’s clear that EBC are not only looking for potential value, but also at the impact of their investments and how they can make the world a better place. This round will support our work with forward-looking farms looking to solve their labour shortages, reduce crop wastage and mitigate food inflation.