Le 11/06/2024

Fulcrum Global Capital adds Niqo Robotics to its Ag Robotics startup portfolio

Fulcrum Global Capital (FGC) has been part of the FIRA Startup Award jury since 2022. Bijoy Shah, investor at FGC, explains how FIRA helps detect the next Ag Robotics nuggets... until they become unicorns!

FIRA | Please present Fulcrum Global Capital and its involvement in the ag robotics industry

Bijoy Shah, investor at Fulcrum Global Capital

BS | Fulcrum Global Capital (FGC) is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in companies and entrepreneurs disrupting the global food production industry through the agriculture, animal health, and agtech markets. We are especially interested in companies with technologies and approaches that increase yields, reduce food waste, and/or make food safer. Over both of FGC’s funds, we have invested in a number of Ag Robotics companies, and we are excited to add Niqo to that list. A core component of Fulcrum’s strategy revolves around a producer-mindset approach, since they are the ultimate consumer for most of these technologies and because they make up a large portion of FGC’s investors.

FIRA | What is the market size, growth expectation in the next decade?

BS | The Ag Robotics market size was at $13.4B in 2023 and is expected to grow 6x in the next decade. We think this provides a huge opportunity for companies to augment farm labor with the use of machinery and automation. I also see industry tailwinds from some of the large OEMs in the space (John Deere, CNH, AGCO, etc.) both on the corporate venture capital level and through collaborations many of them are participating in with these early stage startups.

FIRA | Did you already fund any ag robotics startup? Which one? Tell us more!

BS | We have a number of investments in the robotics space at Fulcrum. We’ve invested in Precision AI, which is developing an aerial solution for precision spraying on farm, Sabanto, which is developing a retrofit kit to make existing tractors autonomous, Rantizo, which is managing the largest network of spray drone operators in the US, and we recently added Niqo Robotics to this list.

FIRA | I've heard the latest startup you funded was the Indian Startup Niqo Robotics, how did you meet them?

BS | We met Niqo Robotics at the FIRA Ag Robotics conference in Salinas last year. They were giving a presentation at the conference? and I followed up with them one-on-one at the conference to learn more about what they are building. I was immediately impressed with the amount of progress they had made as an early-stage robotics startup and the entire team was also impressed by the technology, and unique GTM strategy they had in the Indian market. Since we are so focused on the producer point-of-view, Niqo’s engagement with Indian farmers and their low-cost solution was another reason we continued to engage with them.

FIRA | Great news! Why did you particularly have interest in Niqo / What are the reasons for investing in Niqo?

BS | Fulcrum invested in Niqo because of a combination of superior technology and the company's low-cost manufacturing capabilities. Niqo’s lean financing allows it to attack markets nobody else can access, while also allowing potentially lucrative niche opportunities in the crowded western markets. Fulcrum was also impressed with the strong management team with their previous experiences in the hardware industry and with the company’s early commercial success in the Indian market. We are excited to see all that Niqo accomplishes with their goals and really looking forward to their accelerated development with this fundraise with partners like Bidra Innovation Ventures, Omnivore, and Blume Ventures.

FIRA | Being involved as a judge in the FIRA USA Startup Pitch Session is important for you, tell us why:

BS | FIRA is a great place to meet startups in the Ag Robotics space and as someone who serves on the steering committee, I’ve loved getting to know and building relationships with companies from an early stage in their development. Since FIRA is one of the only conferences dedicated to Ag Robotics, it usually drives a global audience at both the US conference and the French version of the conference, so this allows us exposure into the rising stars of ag automation companies all around the world, which ultimately led us to finding Niqo.

Meet Bijoy Shah and FGC during the next edition of FIRA USA!

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