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There are reports of significant layoffs at Iron Ox, an agriculture technology company that uses robotics to customize care for plants. Many now-former employees have posted on social media about the layoffs.
While it’s unclear exactly how many employees have been laid off, numerous posts indicate Iron Ox let go of roughly half of its employees. Iron Ox also laid off a smaller number of employees a few months ago, according to other posts from former employees.
Based in Silicon Valley, Iron Ox is an agriculture technology startup with deep expertise in plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The company uses two robots in its growing process.
The first is Grover, a mobile robot that autonomously navigates through Iron Ox’s greenhouses. Grover slides under the company’s plant-growing modules, picks them up and takes them wherever they need to be. This could include moving the modules to get new plants and give existing plants more sunlight, nutrition and water.
Iron Ox’s other robot, Max, delivers and monitors each module’s water, nutrient, mix and pH levels. Max works with Grover to optimize plant yield, expand growth cycles and maximize crop quality. The company also uses robotic arms to tend to the plants.
Iron Ox’s last funding round closed in September 2021 and brought the company’s total funding to $98 million.
Iron Ox isn’t the only company feeling financial pressure lately. Fifth Season, another agricultural technology company, closed down last week, according to reporting from the Pittsburgh Business Times. Fifth Season used robotics to grow leafy greens in vertical farms. The greens would be distributed in salad kits sold at grocery stores. The company employed around 100 workers.
Also last week, autonomous driving company Argo AI shut down. Some of Argo AI’s around 2,000 employees would either be receiving offers from Ford or Volkswagen, which were the two primary financial backers of Argo AI.
The Robot Reportreached out to Iron Ox for comment on the layoffs but did not hear back at press time.