By Steve Crowe
Scythe Robotics, a Colorado-based developer of autonomous lawnmowers for the professional landscape industry, raised $42 million in Series B financing. The round was led by Energy Impact Partners and included additional new investors ArcTern Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Amazon’s Alexa Fund, alongside participation from existing investors True Ventures, Inspired Capital and more.
Scythe Robotics said the funding will help it meet demand for the more than 7,500 reservations for its all-electric, fully autonomous M.52 mower. Founded in 2018, this financing round brings the company’s total capital raised to date to $60.6 million.
According to Scythe Robotics, the latest generation of Scythe M.52 can mow all day on a single charge. It features a suite of sensors that enable it to operate safely in dynamic environments by identifying and responding to the presence of humans, animals and other potential obstacles. Simultaneously, it captures property and mower performance data that helps landscapers improve workflow, identify upsell opportunities, schedule more efficiently and manage labor costs.
“Since launching from stealth in June 2021, we’ve seen overwhelming interest from commercial landscape contractors in Scythe M.52 as a solution addressing both their crippling labor pains and their electrification needs,” said Jack Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Scythe. “We’re thrilled to expand our outstanding investor list, particularly with the addition of influential climate-tech investors Energy Impact Partners and ArcTern Ventures, and secure more capital to scale and meet the phenomenal demand for M.52 as we work to decarbonize the landscape industry.”
Morrison was a guest on The Robot Report Podcast in June 2022. He discussed the commercial market for autonomous mowers and how Scythe is going to market to support the needs of commercial landscapers with its Robots-as-a-service (RaaS) business model.
Robotics Summit & Expo (May 10-11) returns to Boston
Zach Goins, a senior autonomy software engineer at Scythe Robotics, will be speaking at the Robotics Summit & Expo (May 10-11 in Boston), the world’s leading design and development event about commercial robots. Goins will be discussing how Scythe Robotics built its autonomous lawnmower with the Rust programming language. Goins will dive into Scythe’s decision to use Rust, the journey of building a fully autonomous system in Rust, and some of the lessons learned along the way.
Scythe Robotics said the U.S. landscape business is a $176 billion industry. The company added that about 2% of the continental U.S. (40M+ acres) is covered with carbon-sequestering turfgrass, but each gas-powered mower used to maintain green spaces today produces the same amount of air pollution in just one hour of operation as driving a car 300 miles.
“Commercial landscaping electrification represents a massive but undercapitalized decarbonization opportunity, tackling more than 40 million metric tons of CO2e emissions annually,” said Sameer Reddy, managing partner, Venture at Energy Impact Partners. “By combining cutting-edge robotics with a purpose-built electric platform, Scythe is delivering a no-brainer value proposition for its customers that unlocks the economics of electrification while also alleviating unprecedented labor constraints. With increasing regulatory pressures on emissions and air pollution, we see Scythe playing an instrumental role in decarbonizing our nation’s largest crop: grass.”
Scythe Robotics uses a pay-as-you-mow pricing model that it said aligns with the objectives of landscape contractors to decrease mowing costs and maximize uptime. Scythe Robotics’ M.52 autonomous lawnmower has already been deployed to customer operations in Texas and are currently rolling out to customers in Florida.
“As a landscape veteran, it’s exciting to see this level of investment and interest in our industry,” said Ben Collinsworth, director of operational technology at Yellowstone Landscape, a Scythe customer and one of the largest privately-held commercial landscape companies in North America. “The team at Scythe has developed cutting-edge solutions that tackle real, deeply-felt challenges our business wrestles with every day. We’re excited to partner with them in transforming the industry as we roll out M.52 to our operations.”