Canadian drone technology startup SkySquirrel Technologies Inc has raised $3 million in follow-on financing. The round was backed by Innovacorp, an existing investor, and an unidentified private investor in Ontario. SkySquirrel also said it has merged with Napa Valley, California’s VineView SAI Inc, creating a new Halifax-based provider of aerial imaging and crop diagnostics for vineyards called VineView. Richard van der Put, SkySquirrel’s founder and CEO, who will lead the new entity, told Entrevestor the funds raised will be used for the merger and working capital. Last year, SkySquirrel bought its French partner Avidordrone.
Photo: Richard van der Put, founder and CEO of SkySquirrel Technologies Inc.
SkySquirrel raises $3-million and merges with VineView to become global leader in remote sensing for vineyards
SkySquirrel Technologies Inc. and VineView Imaging, leading providers of aerial imaging and crop diagnostics for vineyards, have announced the merger of the two companies. The merger is effective today, and the companies plan to begin integrating operations, customers, global partners and employees immediately.
SkySquirrel, the Canadian based tech start up recently closed a $3-million investment round including a $2-million investment from an Ontario-based private investor and $1-million from Innovacorp, a venture capital organization in Nova Scotia.
The combined company, which will operate under the name VineView, uses drone and airplanebased hyperspectral imagery to provide wine growers with essential information about the health of their grapevines. VineView’s specialized data products allow growers to optimize yields, improve grape quality, and reduce damage from environmental factors like grapevine diseases and frost.
The merged company will be headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with international operations based out of Napa Valley, California, and Toulouse, France; two of the world’s biggest wine markets. SkySquirrel acquired its French partner Avidordrone in late 2017 and is scaling up operations for the 2018 growing season across France.
Richard van der Put, SkySquirrel’s founder and CEO, will remain as CEO of the new combined company, and Dr. Matthew Staid, former President of VineView and a lead scientist on many NASA projects, will serve as the company’s Chief Scientific Officer.
“VineView has provided exceptional services, deep product knowledge and industry expertise to California’s premium wine market for over 15 years,” said van der Put. “We are excited to leverage their strong IP in disease detection that is unique to the market place as we expand our capabilities and data products to best serve our customers.”
“After working in partnership with Richard and his team for the past few years, we are excited to officially join forces with SkySquirrel and combine our two companies,” said Dr. Matthew Staid from his office in St. Helena, California. “Together we will be able to scale globally and offer our customers enhanced data solutions.”
Van der Put added, “With Matt’s R&D leadership, the talented teams we have built, combined with VineView’s strong industry knowledge and our technological expertise, we are confident in our ability to seize the position as global market leader in the vineyard space. This merger will further enhance how we work with our global partners, and solidify our ability to meet the needs of our customers.”
SkySquirrel works with some of the most prestigious wine brands in the world and VineView has been a market leader in California, one of the world’s largest wine growing regions, for over 15 years. Together, the new VineView, with customers in twelve countries and counting, will continue to drive vineyard technology innovation and provide grape growers with the most accurate and advanced data-insights available.
About SkySquirrel Technologies
Founded in 2012 and based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, SkySquirrel is a data analytics company that is transforming the way vineyard operators monitor grapevine health through highly specialized aerial-based technology, a multispectral camera system, and a cloud-based image processing service. Named one of the country’s most innovative tech companies, SkySquirrel offers grape growers custom data solutions, specifically engineered for the complexities of vineyards.
About VineView Imaging
VineView Imaging provides aerial remote sensing services to agricultural producers and researchers, with a focus on vineyards and high-value crops. Their specialized mapping products reveal the location of stress, disease, soil boundaries, and other variations thereby enabling farm managers to implement precision agriculture practices. VineView has been serving the California and Pacific Northwest agricultural markets since 2002.
Photo courtesy of Innovacorp