Dropcopter, a pollination UAS startup secured $250,000 from Syracuse New York based GENIUS NY accelerator.
Their pollination drone service is the first in the world to use automated multirotors to dust almonds, pistachios and cherries, boosting crop set by as much as a tested 15%!
They’re offering the service as a much-needed alternative to expensive bee pollination, which has risen in price by 100% over 10 years. The recent decline in bee population is cutting into farmers margins and raising the price of food at the grocery store. Dropcopter can alleviate that while delivering a profit to the growers, using minimal resources and manual labor.
The GENIUS NY accelerator is a 1 year program that works closely with the Central New York Aerospace industry, providing guidance and investment. The year culminates with access to potential Venture Capital funding.
Dropcopter is using the funds to reproduce their patent-pending pollinator for planned night time operations over local New York orchards. Night-time doubles the operating window, as cold temperatures prevent bees from flying.
They also offer the service as an alternative to crop insurance. Should adverse temperatures or bee scarcity affect a grower, Dropcopter can provide fast, reliable, and effective pollination as an emergency service.
That’s exactly what happened to California Cherry Growers in 2018. During the months of February through March, late cold snaps and rain coincided with blooming almonds and forced beekeepers to remain in the Almond crop longer than expected. This deprived the (typically) later blooming cherry growers of a vital service. Lack of bees can pose a staggering loss to cherry growers, as the crop is the years first fresh fruit to Market, with a commanding $770 million value from Washington State alone.
“We want to deliver real data-driven value to our Growers”
– Matt Koball, CEO
Apple trials are planned in New York for May.