Arugga

This interview details Arugga, an indoor farming technology company based in Israel. The interview is with Eytan Heller, Co-Founder of Arugga.

Source: Arugga

What is the origin story of Arugga?

We had some initial ideas about pollination and how robotics could address some drawbacks from bee and manual pollination, especially in tomatoes. We figured that increasing yields by a few percentage points with more effective solutions (than bees or manual solutions) could be a sustainable game changer for greenhouse farming.

After talking to some growers, we understood that the challenges they faced were much bigger, mainly around labour shortages, even in Mexico. That led us to investigate robotic solutions which could help solve those issues and we developed a road map for a multipurpose robotic platform. That was the premise of starting Arugga, with a vision of automating greenhouse farming which would ultimately increase yields and revenues for farmers. We decided to focus first on tomatoes, by far the largest crop produced in greenhouses worldwide with 200,000 hectares.

Source: Arugga

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Arugga in the future? 

The initial challenges involved a cautious approach by many growers when it comes to adding autonomous robots to their operations. With time, we have demonstrated that robots can integrate fairly smoothly in greenhouse production operations. It sometimes takes time to win over skeptics who are used to working in certain ways but labour shortages are clearly driving many growers to adopt robotic solutions and we are confident that this trend will only increase in the coming years.

Source: Arugga

What is unique about Arugga compared to competitors? 

We often describe our solution as the growers’ ‘Swiss Army Knife’, a unique multi-purpose robotic solution solving several challenges on one platform including pollination, plant-lowering, pest and disease detection and pruning. We also found a way to build low-cost robots, that will be cost-effective to the grower and profitable for us. That's one of our strong points.

Source: Arugga

What are some other relevant metrics of the company (growing area size, production quantity, team size, etc.)?

We are a team of 12 people mainly in R&D but also with tech support and sales activities. We now have over 50 robots deployed with some of the leading greenhouse operations in the US, Canada, Australia and Finland.

Source: Arugga

What are some goals in 2024 and beyond for Arugga?

In 2024, we plan on increasing the speed of Polly, our first (pollination) robot in the market and we plan to launch additional modules, namely plant-lowering and pest and disease detection. Beyond 2024, we will add a couple more modules solving other labour-intensive activities.

Source: Arugga

How can people connect with you or learn more about Arugga?

People can contact us through our website or info@arugga.com.

Source: Arugga

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