Momenta Invests in Agtonomy
The “Tractor Man” - Why we invested in Agtonomy
Technology and Farming
Farming has never fed more people than today, and industrialized agriculture has dramatically influenced that achievement. However, others believe farming at this scale causes harm to the environment and does not focus enough on sustainability.
The term “industrial farming” refers to cultivation in high-density environments, at scale, and using modern technology to promote faster growth, creating food products on a mass scale. It is the primary form of agriculture in the United States.
Technological innovation in agriculture is nothing new, and it has shaped the field throughout time. However, as the complexity and costs of these new technologies have increased, the benefits are increasingly going to large-scale industrial farms.
Even though the number of local farmers exceeds those involved in industrial agriculture, few technology companies have addressed their challenges.
What if the innovations encouraged by industrial-scale agriculture and mobility were made available to local farmers?
What if those innovations helped address their productivity, sustainability, and shortage of skilled labor?
Enter Agtonomy and "Tractor Man"
Agtonomy is doing just that ... making autonomy accessible to local farmers growing high-value crops and struggling to keep their skilled operators. Its co-founder is known affectionately in some circles as “Tractor Man.”
What kind of character features a tractor prominently in his winery tasting room? What kind of character names his winery eponymously after a tractor? What type of character can talk about the history and lineage of tractors for hours and even go to Europe on a whim to acquire an antique one?
Tim Bucher, the co-founder of Agtonomy, also known as “Tractor Man,” is that character.
Tim wanted to combine his career in engineering with a lifetime of farming experience, so he co-founded Agtonomy to bring modern autonomy to small farmers and their farms.
Agtonomy’s executive team includes veterans from the autonomy, electric vehicle, cloud service, and agriculture industries. The team has extensive experience at Apple, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Uber, and Cruise.
The company works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to help them bring sustainable autonomy solutions to market and enable digital services that address the critical issues facing small farmers and land maintenance operators.
While Agtonomy is focused on local agriculture, its efforts are part of the significant trend transforming farming in general with autonomy and electrification.
Why Momenta likes Agtonomy
At Momenta, we understand the phenomenal advances AIoT, edge computing, and electrification are bringing to smart farming and precision agriculture and the incredible potential yet to come.
“We could not be happier to be partnering with Momenta on our bold Agtonomy mission,” said Tim Bucher. “They not only look for ‘perfect storm’ situations that open up new growth businesses, but they look at those real trends on a global basis which is critically important to Agtonomy.”
Agtonomy is just getting started, but it is already working with several global agricultural OEMs and testing prototypes in conditions that challenge traditional autonomy (e.g., steep hillsides in winemaking regions).
The Road Ahead
Smart farming promises to reduce pesticide and fertilizer use while improving efficiency and total cost of equipment operation. IoT technologies enable better food traceability and lead to increased food safety. These technologies will also improve sustainability through efficient water use and optimization of treatments.
Smart farming holds the potential to deliver effective and sustainable agricultural production based on precision, autonomy, and resource efficiency.
Agtonomy, based in South San Francisco and Sonoma County, is a hybrid autonomy and tele-assist service platform with the venture backing of GV, Grit Ventures, Village Global, Toyota Ventures, and Momenta. The platform will give local agriculture and land maintenance operators the ability to solve the skilled labor shortage with autonomous equipment, autonomous vehicles and greatly increase their efficiency. The executive team consists of veterans from the AI, EV, cloud service, and agriculture industries, with extensive experience at companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Uber, and Cruise as well as lifelong farming experience at Northern California agriculture operations such as Tratorre Farms. For more information, please visit www.agtonomy.com.
Momenta is the leading Digital Industry venture capital firm accelerating deep tech and digital innovators across energy, manufacturing, smart spaces, and supply chain. Led by deep industry operators across its venture capital, strategic advisory, and executive search practices, Momenta has made over 50 investments with notable exits to SAP and PTC.
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