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Angel Investor Program Helped Plant Kansas Robotics Company

Mar 22, 2024

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A company that sprouted roots in 2018 in Kansas is using innovation to succeed, with proof in an exciting and significant new private investment.

Greenfield Robotics in Cheney, Kansas, produces autonomous robots to clear fields of weeds — a regenerative agriculture solution that can replace chemicals typically used to control weeds. Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots and the lead of third-generation farmer Clint Brauer, Greenfield Robotics has earned the backing of farmers, food manufacturers and technology experts.

After working as a computer executive in California, Brauer returned to farm in his home state of Kansas. Annoyed by ever-present weeds on the farm, he developed a plan to use a machine to strip them away. And now, the ag tech company he founded makes robots that go between crop rows to tear up weeds.

Deploying robots to end the use of chemicals in farming is an important step toward a more sustainable future. Producers have expressed keen interest in regenerative agriculture that features practices such as frequent crop rotations, precision fertilizer dosing, herbicide reduction and cover cropping between cash crops.

Greenfield Robotics’ push toward chemical-free food recently captured the attention of Chipotle Mexican Grill, an American restaurant company that operates a chain of “fast-casual” restaurants around the world.

In embracing innovative strategies to grow its own business — to include pursuing its own a food-chain process free of chemicals — Chipotle invested $50 million in Greenfield Robotics with a goal of scaling the company’s robotic products for use on farms in its supply chain. It’s all part of Chipotle’s Cultivate Next venture fund, which is focused on the use of AI, robotics and other state-of-the-art technologies to make regenerative farming more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Added benefits come in boosting soil health and encouraging water retention.

“It’s exciting to get the investment from them,” Greenfield Robotics founder Brauer said. “They’re extremely advanced in the way they think about their supply chains and the way they do things.”

Greenfield Robotics’ use of AI and automation align with the Kansas Framework for Growth’s emphasis on innovation, cutting-edge technologies and collaboration. The launch of Greenfield Robotics was boosted early on by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit Program (KAITC), which is designed to bring together accredited angel investors with qualified Kansas companies seeking early-stage investment. By helping Kansas start-ups access capital, the Angels program has contributed to the pro-business environment that’s fueled historic economic growth since Governor Laura Kelly took office.

For more information on the Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit (KAITC) program, click here.