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High-flying farm tech

Outfield, a venture supported by Cambridge Judge Business School that uses drone technology to increase fruit-crop yield, raises £750,000 in first funding round.

The morning sun falls on trees in an orchard bearing countless apples.

Outfield, a venture supported by Cambridge Judge Business School that uses drone-produced imagery and artificial intelligence to help growers produce more fruit, announced that it received £750,000 in its first funding round.

Cambridge-based Outfield provides an orchard management and yield estimation system for high-value fruit crops like apples, pears and plums. The venture is supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme run by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge.

The company surveys orchards using drones, and then uses machine learning to provide detailed maps of tree conditions to help farmers increase yields, reduce fruit loss, and use fewer chemicals. Outfield is now working with growers in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand.

Turquoise, a UK merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, led the investment in Outfield through the Low Carbon Innovation Fund, which is partially funded through a European Union programme; other investors in Outfield’s first fundraising round include Cambridge Agritech, Deeptech Labs and Amadeus.

Jim McDougall, Co-Founder of Outfield, said: “This investment will enable us to develop the customer base as well as adding new functionalities to the platform.”