Halter announces $8 Million Series A capital raise from Silicon Valley investors
14th June 2018
Halter raises $8M to guide and manage livestock using artificial intelligence, sustainably increasing production at NZ dairy farms, saving billions in labour costs and improving environmental compliance and animal welfare.
AUCKLAND, NZ, 14 June, 2018 -- Halter, an Auckland-Waikato based ag-robotics company, today announced it has raised NZD$8M dollars to commercialise its patented technologies that shift and manage livestock, starting with cows, using an AI-powered “point and click” application in combination with proprietary “Cowgorithm” which controls how the cows are moved around the farm.
Halter has developed a solar powered, GPS-enabled intelligent neck band – which uses sensory cue’s to direct cows - enabling farmers to shift and manage their cows remotely with a few simple swipes of a screen. Complex cow movements, path planning and health and heat detection is all done by the AI behind Halter’s platform.
Using Halter’s app, farmers are able to set schedules where herds are guided to-and-from the milk shed, receive alerts when cows are showing signs of poor health or distress, and set virtual fences keeping cows out of rivers and drains. The latter point is particularly important, because inadvertent contamination of NZ waterways is a huge environmental issue – now solved by Halter.
The financing round was led by DCVC (Data Collective), the largest backers of Rocket Lab, long time backers of Planet, and anchor investors in Blue River (sold to John Deere), with additional investment from Founders Fund (SpaceX), and Ubiquity, and with renewed participation from Promus Ventures, Tuhua Ventures and K1W1.
“We’re looking to provide technology for the future of dairy farming globally,” said Craig Piggott, Halter founder and CEO. “Every day, we talk to incredible farmers who are looking for ways to meet increasing food demands while running an environmentally sustainable operation and near continuously monitoring the health and wellbeing of their herd. It’s a constant juggle that involves working huge hours.”
Founded in 2016, Halter’s mission is focused around reducing the intensive hours farmers work, enhancing the well-being of cows and other livestock, protecting the environment and increasing milk production.
The company currently employs close to twenty engineers, scientists and animal behaviour experts. The funding will see the team grow four-fold, and Halter is looking to recruit a number of positions in Auckland and the Waikato region including engineering technicians, data analysts and cow behavioural experts ahead of commercial roll-out starting later in the year.
“This funding will allow us to scale and meet the intense demand and pre-orders that are rolling in,” says Piggott. “When selecting investors we look for more than just money - we seek partners who share our vision and have experience in growing global, game-changing technologies.”
Matt Ocko, who also led Rocket Lab’s most recent funding round is thrilled to be investing in another world-class New Zealand company. "The team at DCVC is excited to continue our commitment to strongly backing NZ-native innovation, as well as to help Halter positively transform the labour-costs and environmental-friendliness of the critical dairy industry for New Zealand" said Matt Ocko of Data Collective, Managing Partner of DCVC. “As we know from Rocket Lab, not all radical breakthroughs come from Silicon Valley. With Halter, again young NZ entrepreneurs are building a global business that is also a huge plus for New Zealand itself.”
Rocket Lab CEO and Halter Director, Peter Beck, continues his support of the company. “Halter is set to redefine an industry and truly modernise farming,” say Beck.
While the company has plans to go global, the product will initially be offered in the Waikato where Piggott was raised on a 300 cow dairy farm. The technology has undergone tens of thousands of hours of testing at the company’s Morrinsville research and development farm, and work is underway to begin operations on five pilot farms across the Waikato region.
027 279 0649
About Data Collective (DCVC)
DCVC (Data Collective) is a venture capital fund that backs entrepreneurs applying deep tech to transform giant industries. DCVC and its principals have supported brilliant people changing global-scale businesses for over twenty years, helping create tens of billions of dollars of wealth while also making the world a markedly better place.
DCVC brings to bear a unique model that unites a team of experienced venture capitalists with more than 50 technology executives and experts (CTOs, CIOs, Chief Scientists, Principal Engineers, Professors at Stanford, Berkeley, and major technical universities) with significant tenures at top 100 technology companies and research institutions worldwide.
DCVC focuses on Seed and Series A companies, and growth stage opportunities within its own portfolio.
About Founders Fund
Founders Fund is an American San Francisco-based venture capital firm investing in companies building revolutionary technologies. The firm invests at all stages across a wide variety of sectors, including aerospace, artificial intelligence, advanced computing, energy, health, and consumer Internet, with a portfolio that includes Airbnb, Knewton, Lyft, Spotify, Stripe, and ZocDoc. Founders Fund was the first institutional investor in Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Palantir Technologies, and one of the earliest investors in Facebook.
Ubiquity Ventures invests in software as it leaves the screen and enters the real world. This ubiquitous software runs on smart hardware and/or understands the world using machine intelligence, so we make early stage investments in and partner with smart hardware and machine intelligence startups.
About Promus Ventures
Promus Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Chicago investing in deep-technology software and hardware companies. The firm has invested in more than 60 private technology companies, including areas such as artificial intelligence, space, virtual reality/ alternative reality, machine learning, robotics, natural language processing, autonomous vehicles/connected car, bitcoin/blockchain, computer vision, digital health, fintech, insurance, and others. Promus Ventures focuses primarily on Seed and Series A rounds and has invested in such leading companies as AngelList, Kensho, Mapbox, Spire, Rocket Lab, Swift Navigation, Tulip Retail and others. More information can be found at www.promusventures.com.