PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Burro, a Philadelphia-based autonomous mobility company, closed a $24 million Series B co-led by New York City-based growth equity firm Catalyst Investors and Translink Capital, along with existing investors S2G Ventures, Toyota Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Cibus Capital. As part of the round, Brian Rich, managing partner with Catalyst Investors, and Kaz Kikuchi from Translink Capital, will join the company’s Board.
Burro is an autonomy company building the future of work outdoors. Founded in 2017, the company began with a mobility platform designed to help customers meet rising wages and a shrinking workforce. Today, Burro has more than 300 robots working as harvest assist robots in nurseries and permanent crops, where they tow trailers autonomously, patrol depot yards, and serve as a platform and physical API for a growing set of technology partners.
While robotics has been successfully used indoors for years, Burro is the first collaborative robotic platform to work safely and reliably outdoors alongside human workers. This enables customers to increase workforce efficiency within one year of investment. With over 75,000 autonomous miles in paid commercial use and more than 300,000 hours in operation, Burro’s reliability and scalability has been continuously enhanced, positioning the company for expansion into new markets and regions.
“Robots have long been stuck in warehouses and factories, and few robotics companies have successfully scaled outdoors into industries like agriculture, nurseries, and construction, where trillions of dollars are spent annually on labor,” said Charlie Andersen, CEO of Burro. “We have built a world-class product based upon state-of-the-art autonomous AI technology, and with this funding, we will deliver solutions for real-world problems, distributed world-wide through our network of dealers. With the incredible teams at Catalyst Investors and Translink Capital, and their strong track records of growing businesses, we are well on our way.”
“What sets Burro apart among the robotics sector is the team’s brilliant vision for augmenting – not replacing – labor with machines that work safely and reliably outdoors alongside humans, exponentially increasing efficiency and production,” said Brian Rich, managing partner at Catalyst Investors. “The Burro approach is already proven and its ROI demonstrated for farms and nurseries, perfectly positioning them to become the dominant outdoor robotics company for various industries and uses.”
“At Translink, we really like companies in the autonomy and robotics sector. We are especially excited about how Burro has brought automation to the agriculture sector,” said Kaz Kikuchi, partner at Translink Capital. “With their unique approach, Burros can work year-round, combatting the innate seasonality of work outdoors, by operating in a variety of crops and performing multiple tasks with one platform. Burro is positioned to be the first robotic company to successfully scale in agriculture and other outdoor environments.”
This year, the Burro company will expand its commercial, product and engineering teams, bring on more dealers, and launch new products in direct response to customer demand, beginning with its new product offering: Burro Grande. Burro Grande expands beyond people scale (less than 500 lb. payload, light-duty towing) to a true pallet scale vehicle (1,500 lb. payload, 5,000 lb. towing), and features Burro Operation System Software V 5.0, which includes indoor/outdoor Lidar based localization for autonomous movement across indoor and outdoor operations.
Burro is rapidly growing in the US within berry and grape farming and nurseries with additional systems working at scale in Australia and New Zealand. The company is on track to tackle the $1.2 trillion US outdoor labor market, where automation can address some of the industry’s most pressing challenges.
The #1 challenge facing our global food supply system (and incidentally the world’s largest industry, agriculture) is labor scarcity. Headquartered in Philadelphia, with an office in Visalia, California, Burro is backed by top Agtech and autonomy investors, including S2G, Catalyst Investors, Translink, Cibus, FPrime, Toyota Ventures, FFVC, Xplorer, and Radicle, Burro was created to free people from tedious work outdoors with collaborative robots.
Burros can be described as Disney’s Wall-E for agriculture and work outdoors, in a 1.0 format. They function, today, as people/pallet scale autonomous ground vehicles for carrying, towing, patrolling, and mowing, and are designed to lay the base for the fully autonomous future of work outdoors. The company has hundreds of robots in paid commercial use within nurseries, berries, vineyards, citrus, and beyond, in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South America and with an ever growing list of customers.