Chinese media confirmed today that farming robot solutions provider Lanjiang Technology (岚江科技) had closed a pre-Series A round of funding valued at tens of millions of yuan, led by state-run Ninghuai Investment.
In the coming two years, Lanjiang will use the proceeds to develop, mass produce and promote its multi-functional orchard management robots and field inspection robots.
The startup is also considering an expansion into overseas markets.
Founded in 2021 and based in Nanjing, capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, Lanjiang specializes in the design, manufacturing and sale of agricultural robots. It integrates information technology, intelligent robotics and agricultural knowledge to supply one-stop solutions to clients, primarily farm and orchard operators.
Lanjiang’s main product is its orchard and field inspection robots. Orchard robots can spray pesticide, remove weeds and transport fruit.
Specifically, users can check the robot’s real-time status on a mobile app, and receive notices alerting them when it runs low on pesticide. The device also keeps its own work records, a feature that realizes digital traceability.
The robot, equipped with a mower, plans its own routes and weeds the orchard with a press of a button on the mobile phone. It also can assist orchard workers in picking and transporting the fruit, enhancing efficiency.
According to Lanjiang, compared to drone-powered plant protection, its on-the-ground robot fleet has a “natural” advantage. It can spray pesticide from under crop leaves, instead of raining the chemicals from the skies using drones.
Lanjiang believes this mode of spraying, which it worked on together with Nanjing Agriculture University, spreads the pesticide more evenly and maximizes the effects while also saving on pesticide.
Underpinning the suite of robots is a SaaS-like smart orchard system.
Zhang Hongbo, founder and CEO of Lanjiang, expects this platform to serve as a bridge connecting traditional and tech-driven agriculture.
Zhang had 16 years of experience in IT before venturing into robotics, and worked on the frontlines of the agtech sector for another six years. Based on his insights, he considers management as a minimally mechanized part of the four-step agricultural process, which also comprises plowing, planting and harvesting.
An agtech pioneer, he believes Chinese farmers have acquired their own set of knowledge after thousands of years of working the land.
“This knowledge base is not incompatible with modern tech-assisted agriculture,” he said. “Instead, it is something agtech can rely on.”
Lanjiang looks to become a repository of ancient agricultural knowledge passed down from generation to generation and apply it to enhance the management efficiency of orchards and farms.