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Developers of mushroom picking robots have raised $17.5 million

Canadian agricultural robotics startup 4AG Robotics, formerly TechBrew Robotics, has raised $17.5 million to drive commercialization of its advanced mushroom harvesting automation. Investors include BDC Capital and innovation funds targeting technologies modernizing farming and food systems.

4AG aims to solve mushroom cultivation's pressing labor requirements using robotics tailored to gently detach and handle the delicate fungi. With harvest and processing traditionally manual, the industry grapples with productivity, profitability and finding steadfast workers.

The latest funding will spur 4AG's product development and initial deployments for early adopter farms facing thin margins and logistics constraints around these perishable yields. With commercial orders from North American and European growers secured, the cash influx aims to scale solutions proven in pilot studies.

"We believe we can build a globally successful robotics company solving agriculture's challenges with automation," said CEO Sean O'Connor on choosing Salmon Arm, B.C. as 4AG's base. O'Connor expressed confidence in both investor acumen and the transformative potential of research underway.

Having reliably automated mushroom harvesting could drive better crop quality, reduced waste and improved working conditions across produce categories. Investor Leah Nguyen suggested 4AG's innovations will "make positive change in a sector driving significant B.C. economic activity."

By increasing efficiency and supplementing erratic manual labor, the startup's robots may help mushroom farmers flourish despite thin margins and shifting market dynamics. 4AG will now accelerate R&D efforts to cement early beachheads before raising further capital for full commercial rollout.

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