An agricultural drone technology specialist has secured £650,000 of equity funding from 934 investors and a further £145,000 grant from Innovate UK to grow its business and develop new crop scouting technology.

Founder of the business, Drone Ag's Jack Wrangham, told The SF: “This is the largest amount of funding we have secured as a company to date, with both grant providers and private investors choosing to support the development of our technology.

"This will enable our team to grow and develop new functionality and an Android compatible version of our crop scouting app Skippy Scout.”

Skippy Scout is a crop monitoring app that uses drones to automatically capture images which are analysed by ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) to offer arable farmers vital broad acre crop insight. The images provide an accurate green area index (GAI), count emerging plants, and identify weeds.

“We are soon to launch our Scout Sphere functionality which will offer users a unique full field overview that includes the ability to focus on any area of the field and choose where to inspect at leaf-level,” he added.

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The capital injection to the business will also be used to complete its base station concept which will see the launch of new remote drone scouting. “Skippy Nest can be installed on any farm and operated from anywhere in the world. It will revolutionise the way drones can be operated to help scout crops,” he pointed out.

The Innovate UK grant was obtained with support from NorthInvest, a not-for-profit organisation fuelling innovation across the Northern Powerhouse region.

Using this cash injection, said Mr Wrangham, the company will evolve further. “We plan to advance our drone-based spraying technology and start looking at using drones for spreading too.

"The investment achieved through CrowdCube and the grant support will see Drone Ag become a leader in precision agriculture and we are grateful to all those who have invested in us,” he concluded.