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Boulder, Colorado-based Scythe Robotics emerged from stealth today and launched its first commercial, autonomous mower for the landscaping industry. The company also announced its $13.8M in Series A funding led by Inspired Capital with participation from existing investors True Ventures, Zigg Capital, and Lemnos, bringing the company’s total funding to $18.6M.
The new investment will be used to grow the company’s existing operations in Texas, Florida and Colorado, expand with new customers, and accelerate development of further products to revolutionize how commercial landscape contractors care for outdoor environments.
Scythe introduces an all-electric, fully autonomous mower
The company was founded in 2018 by Jack Morrison, Isaac Roberts and Davis Foster. Scythe comes to market to compete in the $105B commercial landscaping industry. The machine is designed to meet the rigors of professional landscapers, who struggle annually to hire labor to support their business needs. With an autonomous mower, a landscaper can unload the machine and initiate the mowing cycle, while attending to other manual landscaping needs for a given client. The Scythe mower is also designed particularly for large scale mowing operations for clients who have a large area to maintain.
“Mowing sits at the center of a green industry labor crisis. In full-service landscape management companies, mowing operations account for up to 40 percent of labor utilization,” explains Fred Haskett, veteran landscape industry consultant with The Harvest Group and Scythe advisor. “Scythe is a game-changer, delivering a tech-forward approach for landscape contractors to reimagine their operations and bridge critical labor shortages.”
Sustainable solutions that empower commercial landscape contractors to further curtail the release of fossil fuel and noise emissions have also been elusive. For instance, the air pollution from just one hour using a gas-powered mower is equivalent to driving a car over 100 miles. “To date, commercial landscape contractors haven’t had a technology partner who enables them to keep up with demand and to operate emissions-free. We are that partner,” said Morrison, co-Founder and CEO of Scythe. “Our autonomous mower gives them the ability to grow their business, while staying green. It’s designed from the ground up to be an order of magnitude more reliable, more productive, and safer than any existing machine by incorporating state of the art autonomy with a rugged, all-electric design.”
The Scythe autonomous mower is designed to keep crew productivity high while also increasing the quality of cut and worker safety. The machine features eight HDR cameras and a suite of other 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, the machine captures valuable property and mower performance data, which helps landscape contractors improve workflow, identify upsell opportunities, schedule more efficiently, and manage labor costs.
Scythe adopts Robotics as a Service model
Scythe’s Robotics as a Service (RaaS) model aligns the company with its customers: instead of buying machines outright, customers are billed by acres mowed. This massively reduces contractors’ expenses and eliminates the cost of equipment maintenance and downtime.
Ivan Giraldo, Co-Founder and President of Austin-based Clean Scapes, one of the largest landscape companies in North America, noted, “I have been actively looking for solutions that will support our frontline employees and increase the efficiency of our operations, and Scythe’s product will do just that. I’ve been open with employees about the opportunity autonomous mowers will bring: to get them off the mowers and onto higher value landscaping work, enabling us to take on many new contracts.”
“Commercial landscape professionals do an incredible job of maintaining the world around us,” said Lucy Deland, Partner at Inspired Capital. “We are thrilled to partner with Jack, Isaac, and Davis—some of the brightest minds in robotics—as they work hand-in-hand with their customers to invent a future for landscaping that is more scalable and sustainable.”
Editors note: This story originally appeared on sister publication Mobile Robot Guide