Zordi, an ag-tech startup backed by Khosla Ventures, announces its emergence from stealth mode, having secured $20M in funding. Specializing in autonomous greenhouses equipped with AI and robotics, Zordi is committed to delivering premium fresh produce to urban areas.
Following a successful year of research and development in Western New York, Zordi proudly inaugurates its second cost-efficient autonomous greenhouse located conveniently just 2.5 hours from NYC in New Jersey.
Harvesting robot deployed in the 1st Zordi farm in Western NY
Intensive labor, expertise to directe
"Greenhouse farming is one of the most sustainable and climate-resistant ways to grow fresh produce but it demands significant labor. Our solution marries robotics and AI, addressing this challenge head-on", says Zordi's founder and CEO, Gilwoo Lee.
"Today's greenhouse operations require intensive labor, expertise to direct complex crop care decisions, and large initial capital investments, making them extremely difficult to scale. At Zordi, we envision hyper-scalable future greenhouses which require 80% labor to operate, make key crop care decisions autonomously, and can be built in under 3 months at an order of magnitude lower cost."
Zordi leverages tried and true, naturally lit greenhouse designs that have been in production for decades. Gilwoo assures, "Our robots can adapt to a wide range of existing greenhouse types from low-cost hoophouses to high-tech Venlo glasshouses, maximizing scalability."
The brilliance behind Zordi's approach lies in the synergy between its AutoGrow system, the "brain," and the advanced robots, the "hands and eyes." With real-time data provided by the scouting robots, AutoGrow equips site managers with the insights needed to make optimal crop care choices, including pest control, pruning, and harvesting. These tasks are to be seamlessly carried out by Zordi's robots. This harmonized system ensures the scalability and replicability of Zordi's greenhouses.
This approach is a testament to Zordi's leadership. Founder Gilwoo Lee, an MIT alumnus, is an expert in machine learning and robotics, while co-founder Casey Call brings generations of farming experience, having previously been the Head Grower at Plenty. The dynamic duo later welcomed Ryan Knopf, co-founder and CTO of Root AI, and Suk Hwan Choi, an expert in modular construction.
Casey Call, Head Grower & co-founder, and Dr. Gilwoo Lee, CEO & founder
Zordi's heart however, remains in delivering quality produce. Their flagship product, ultra-sweet strawberries with a strong aroma, has garnered commendation from retail partners in NY and NJ. "We've received overwhelmingly positive feedback on our strawberry quality," says Gilwoo, "Expect to see more of our offerings this fall."