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Boost for Outfield Technologies as funding harvested

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Outfield Technologies attracted a great deal of interest for its just-closed funding round which raised £750k to grow the company’s orchard surveying and fruit counting platform.

Outfield Technologies drone footage
Outfield Technologies drone footage

WeWork-based Outfield uses drone technology, AI and data science to help growers maximise their harvest from high-value orchard crops. The company’s technology is so sensitive it can count the blossoms on a tree as it surveys an apple orchard.

“We’re really pleased with it,” says Jim McDougall, commercial director and co-founder. “We had quite a mix of investors. The lead was the Low Carbon Innovation Fund, there was quite a lot from Cambridge AgriTech and others including Amadeus and DeepTech Labs.”

The funding will benefit the international aspect of Outfield’s expansion.

“People are saying they need our technology around the world,” Jim said. “The most important data for growers is knowing the size of your crop, and we can help survey orchards using drones.

Outfield Technologies co-founders Jim McDougall, left, and Oli Hilbourne. Picture: Keith Heppell
Outfield Technologies co-founders Jim McDougall, left, and Oli Hilbourne. Picture: Keith Heppell

“In addition we can direct precision spraying of crops, and irrigation. The service integrates really well with other technologies used by growers and producers.”

Outfield Technologies provides the on-board technology, not the drones themselves.

“An off-the-shelf drone can be used. We use 24 megapixel cameras, there’s three or four types suitable, they have to be of a certain calibre. We don’t do the hardware but we have been surprised at how many growers are already using drones, for instance, to measure weather factors, so we’re unlocking technology that’s often already there.”

Outfield has a headcount of eight, “soon to be 10 hopefully”. Half are on the tech side, the other half are the commercial and management team based at WeWork on Station Road.

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