Aigen raises a $4M seed led by NEA
Aigen, a company developing a scalable, solar-powered robotics platform for agriculture and soil regeneration, today announced a $4M seed round led by NEA with participation from AgFunder, Global Founders Capital, and ReGen Ventures.
"Aigen's technology leverages best-in-class AI and robotics to provide an elegant solution to several of humanity's biggest problems. Their product unlocks nature's superpower to sequester substantial amounts of atmospheric carbon at planetary scale," said Andrew Schoen, Partner, NEA.
The company was founded with the mission to regenerate our planet's health—Aigen is building an autonomous, solar-powered robotics platform that manages plants without the chemical inputs that undermine soil's carbon storage potential. By bringing affordable alternatives to conventional practices, the platform will regenerate soil health and help farmers deal with the global agriculture manual labor shortage. Closed-loop data collection, analysis, and action without diesel or pesticides.
Aigen means "farmer's right to own" in old German—fitting for a company that respects farmers' right to their land, their data, and their product. Studies show that 60-75% of soil carbon has been lost in lands used for agriculture (IPCC), and Aigen has developed novel plant and soil management methods to reverse that. Healthy soil means healthy food, healthy people, and higher farmer profitability.
"Few industries have the potential to go carbon negative. Agriculture is one of them, with soils that currently store three times more carbon than the entire atmosphere," said Rich Wurden, co-founder of Aigen. Rich, whose relatives are farmers at Wurden Farms in Minnesota, is an engineer who spent 12 years designing and launching multiple electric vehicle platforms—from electric boats to Tesla Model S, X, and 3. In 2020, he decided to leave his career in the transportation industry to start Aigen.
Aigen has assembled a diverse team of agriculture professionals and technical experts from Tesla, Boeing, Google, SpaceX, and Siemens. "As a father of two young kids, this is so rewarding because we're building a better future for them," says Kenny Lee, a co-founder and MIT graduate who successfully exited a software startup. Rich and Kenny met in a quickly growing Slack community called Work on Climate.
"Rich and Kenny offer a unique combination of hardware, software, and agriculture expertise. In a very short period of time, they developed a novel solution that is easy to deploy, convenient to manage, and most of all, helpful to farmers," said Henry Magun, Associate, NEA.
With top-tier investors committed, the team is opening the doors of a new lab space in Kirkland Washington. Aigen aims to ramp up in 2022 and launch their platform to regenerate soil at a planetary scale.
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