February 1, 2019, Cape Town, South Africa - On Friday, 1 February, 2019, Aerobotics announced that renowned disruption and innovation expert Stuart van der Veen has joined the company as Chief Platform Officer. Stuart will be based in the United States and will manage partnerships in agriculture and adjacent industries around the world for Aerobotics.
Stuart is joining Aerobotics from Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), where he was Head of Disruption and Innovation. His highlights included winning the Financial Times of London ‘The Banker Tech Projects Award for Fintech Partnerships,’ bringing Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play Tech Centre to Africa for the first time and populating a widely admired venture capital investment portfolio. At Nedbank, Stuart successfully created new market opportunities in strategic industries, including a financial services partnership with Aerobotics in agriculture. Together, they worked to better serve clients by garnering unique data-driven insights through tree crop aerial imagery analytics.
“I am proud and excited to join Aerobotics and help build on the incredible growth they have already been able to achieve," said van der Veen. “Aerobotics’ technology and services are already providing farmers and the agriculture industry transformative information and insights, and I am excited to contribute to one of the best South African and global stories of our generation.”
Stuart’s hiring comes as part of Aerobotics’ plans for major expansion around the globe. Aerobotics is currently operating in 11 countries and is allocating significant attention and resources to the agriculture market in the United States, particularly California and Florida.
Aerobotics officially launched its presence in the United States in August of 2018, where it has already formed significant partnerships and brought on new clients. Stuart plans to take the foundation already built by Aerobotics and make 2019 the company’s most successful year yet in terms of growth, partnerships and its social impact in the communities in which it operates.
“Stuart joining our team is one of the most strategic and significant moves we have made internally at Aerobotics,” said Aerobotics Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Burdock. “Stuart has made a name for himself in the disruption and innovation space and will be a major factor in taking our company to new heights in 2019. We are proud that he is a part of our team.”
Stuart believes Aerobotics is complementary to what organizations like banks, insurers and pesticide companies offer. In his new role, Stuart plans to form partnerships with members of the agriculture industry and open up adjacent industries providing new data to better predict cash flows and drive new ways of distributing and utilizing financial services in agriculture.
“This is the year of aerial imagery analytics, and we’d like to work with the world’s most forward and sustainable thinking organisations,” said van der Veen. “Agriculture is fast becoming a data driven industry. Engaging with precision farming and our technology means less damage to the environment, enhancing how resources like water are being used and contributing to food security around the world.”
Cape Town start-up, Aerobotics, provides farmers around the world with world-leading pest and disease management systems for tree crop protection using artificial intelligence and drone and satellite data. The company was co-founded by James Paterson (CEO) and Benji Meltzer (CTO) in 2014.
Farming is a risky business with pests and disease often reducing a farmer’s yields. Aerobotics’ software, Aeroview, empowers tree crop farmers to identify early stage problems in their orchards. Used in conjunction with the Aerobotics’ Aeroview Scout App on their smartphone, farmers are able to locate problem areas on a tree-by-tree basis.
Achieving success for more than 17 million trees to-date, Aerobotics is setting the standard for tree crop analytics globally and innovating the agricultural processes as we know them.