Dutch startup bags fresh funding to tailor orchard farming for every tree

Aurea Imaging, an Utrecht-based agtech startup, has raised €2.8mn in a Series A round to scale up deployment of its sensor system for orchard farming.

Founded in 2016, Aurea provides agronomic intelligence products for precision orchard management on the individual tree level.

To maximise productivity by customising treatments for each tree, the startup has developed TreeScout, a tractor-mounted sensor system.

Powered by 3D computer vision and edge computing processing capacity, TreeScout scans the trees as the tractor drives through the orchard. Then, it collects data and uploads it on the cloud.

TreeScout asseses each tree, looking at factors such as blossom density and health, and creates digital maps to guide tractor equipment like sprayers. Aurea says that the method can enable yield increases of up to €3,500 per hectare and reduce labour costs and use of agrochemicals by up to 90%.

The startup has also developed drone technology for crop breeders. The drone system tracks plant numbers, vegetation growth, and overall health to help breeders optimise trials, cultivate superior crop varieties, and accelerate the breeding cycle.

With the fresh capital, Aurea plans to develop new applications for TreeScout and accelerate its deployment. The startup is currently working with customers across the EU, North America, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Existing investor Pymwymic backed the funding round alongside a consortium of agtech and impact investors: ROM Utrecht Region, Knop Ventures, Goeie Grutten Impact Fonds, and BarUni Family Fund.

“Precision farming offers a lot of potential to create the sustainable orchard of the future,” said Joyce Houterman, Investment Manager at ROM Untrecht Region.

“With TreeScout, Aurea has shown that it has a unique and (economically) validated technical solution for optimising production while minimising the environmental impact.”

One of the world’s largest agricultural producers, the Netherlands houses a strong agtech startup scene. Some of the noteworthy companies in the field include Growy, Smartkas, and AgroExact.

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