January 25, 2022
Electric Sheep Robotics, which develops autonomous lawn mowers, has announced raising $21.5 million in Series A financing, led by Tiger Global. The company also announced general availability of its Dexter robot, which takes existing commercial lawn mowers, both gas and electric, and turns them into autonomous vehicles.
The company said Dexter is designed to address critical labor shortages in the landscaping, facilities and property management spaces. According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, tens of thousands of full-time positions are going unfilled, with one calling 2021 “the worst labor market in recent history.” The new funding brings the total raised by Electric Sheep to $25.7 million.
Dexter attaches to new or existing lawn mowers, and requires minimal training in order to autonomously mow any type of grass, the company said. Landscapers just need to show Dexter what to do one time, and then the robot autonomously repeats those actions. The equipment uses technology such as lidar, cameras, GPS, and ultrasonic sensors for precise maneuvering across diverse terrain. The hardware also includes over-the-air firmware updates. All robots are monitored while in use, and have a safety-rated system capable of detecting perimeter breaches, even in the most adverse conditions, the company added. Dexter is being designed to the evolving R15.08 standard for self-driving robots, and is available with no upfront costs through a robots-as-a-service model.
“I don’t think people realize that lawns are America’s largest crop,” said Naganand Murty, CEO of Electric Sheep. “More land and water are dedicated to lawns than to wheat and corn combined, and more than 40 million acres of land in the U.S. has some form of lawn. $20 billion is allocated annually to lawn mowing alone. Solutions such as Electric Sheep’s Dexter robot are helping our customers meet demand and better allocate their already scarce labor pool.”
The company said it will use the new funding to fuel expansion across its company in order to meet growing customer demand. The company said it currently has contracts with 30 customers across the U.S. In addition to the funding from Tiger Global, other investors include Foundation Capital, which led the company’s $4 million seed round, Signia Venture Partners, and Ariel Cohen, Travis Deyle, Sahil Lavingia and Reinforced Ventures.
“The technology Electric Sheep has brought to market is an absolute game-changer. It won’t take long for our industry to catch on,” said Matt Memoni of Apex Landscaping in Hawthorn Woods, Ill. “The landscape industry, like many others, is experiencing extreme labor shortages, and for us, COVID-19 has only exacerbated a pre-existing problem. The automation of our mowing work allows our teams to redirect their focus onto more specialized work at our clients’ properties – the stuff they actually get excited about. We’re also big believers that this opens the door for young people to get excited about horticulture. This technology provides opportunities for the next generation to be engaged in an industry they might not normally consider.”
For more details on the company and its technology, visit the Electric Sheep Robotics website here.