Sabanto Set to Grow Autonomous Ag

Farm Tech Company Sabanto Secures $17 Million in Investments

Matt Wilde
By  Matthew Wilde , Progressive Farmer Crops Editor
Craig Rupp, founder and CEO of Sabanto, announced several agriculture-based companies invested $17 million in his company to help it grow. This includes outfitting tractors, like the one behind Rupp, that farmers own with autonomous technology. (DTN photo by Matthew Wilde)

ANKENY, Iowa (DTN) –- Sabanto is poised to dramatically expand its services as an autonomous farming-as-service company and provider of autonomous technology following an infusion of $17 million from investors.

The Chicago-based company recently announced the latest round of funding from leading ag tech venture firms and agriculture-based companies. Investors include:

--Fulcrum Global Capital, based in Kansas City.

--DCVC Bio, with offices in Palo Alto, California, and San Francisco.

--Hico Capital, a subsidiary of SK Networks in South Korea.

--Yara Growth Ventures, headquartered in Norway.

--Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis, based in San Francisco.

--Johnsonville Ventures, a part of Johnsonville Holdings, which makes Johnsonville sausage, based in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.

--Trimble Ventures, Trimble's venture capital fund, based in Sunnyvale, California.

Craig Rupp, founder and CEO of Sabanto, told DTN the funding will allow the company to hire more sales, marketing and other employees and continue to improve and manufacture its technologies. It will help Sabanto grow and accelerate its mission to make autonomy an affordable, reliable, and scalable solution for all farmers worldwide.

"My ultimate goal is to make autonomy a mainstay in agriculture," Rupp said. "I want to make it affordable and accessible. And, I want to create an ecosystem that will become mainstream in agriculture."

Sabanto operates a fleet of 60- to 90-horsepower autonomous Kubota tractors with various implements that it hires out to do various farm work, ranging from planting and tillage to cultivating and mowing. Company employees can monitor multiple units working non-stop simultaneously with its advanced mission control platform. Thousands of acres were farmed last year by the company throughout the Midwest and in Texas.

The company also developed autonomous software and hardware that can be installed in tractors, no matter the make, model or size, owned by farmers. Sabanto will train farmers or farm employees to remotely operate the autonomous equipment. In the past year, company engineers have worked toward mass production of the technology and hardware.

Solving the labor shortage in agriculture and resetting the out-of-control capital expenses associated with agricultural machinery was the reason for forming Sabanto in 2019, Rupp said. That mission is being accomplished. The company planted more than 750 acres of corn and soybeans in one season with a single 60 horsepower tractor.

"Labor is a persistent problem with scaling up operations," Rupp said. "If (farmers) have spare capital, they would rather put it toward land. We're working with them to optimize their operations."

The future is bright for Sabanto, investors say, and the need for its services will only grow.

"Sabanto combines a talented and experienced team with a differentiated and well-developed technology stack, focused on an agriculture industry experiencing significant global tailwinds toward autonomy," said John Peryam, co-founder and partner of Fulcrum Global Capital, in a press release. The latest funding round was led by Fulcrum Global Capital, and Peryam is now on Sabanto's board of directors.

Trimble Ventures is focused on investing in companies that want to solve problems in markets that are aligned with its mission of transforming the way the world works, according to a company press release.

"Sabanto is an ag technology pioneer offering autonomous tractors and services for row crops that can increase efficiency and maximize profitability for farmers," said Phil Sawarynski, managing director and co-head of Trimble Ventures. "This is an exciting opportunity to help accelerate innovation."

Rupp said Sabanto is looking to grow beyond agriculture as well, including companies and the U.S. military that can benefit from autonomous equipment. Sabanto recently worked with the U.S. Air Force to clean debris, such as small rocks, from runways and other areas that can get sucked up into jet engines.

For more information:….

For previous DTN/Progressive Farmer reporting on Sabanto, check out:




Matthew Wilde can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @progressivwilde

Matt Wilde