Autonomous tractors and software platform for solar farm maintenance
Minimum Investment: $100
Sold three RenuBot mowers to a major solar energy provider in December 2019
Has 16 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place, as well as seven letters of interest (LOIs) with solar energy providers to potentially provide robotic mowers to solar farms
Plans to develop additional products to spray pesticides, as well as clean, inspect, and secure solar panels
Currently has two patents pending on the self-driving technology of its RenuBot tractor
Renu Robotics, a San Antonio, Texas-based robotics company, aims to help utility providers save on maintenance costs by providing fully autonomous robotic mowers for solar farm facilities. Currently, the company has 16 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place, as well as seven letters of interest (LOIs) with solar energy providers to potentially provide robotic mowers to solar farms. In December 2019, the company shipped its first RenuBot mower units and charging stations to a major energy provider and was accepted into Capital Factory’s VIP Accelerator. Renu Robotics is raising capital to continue the production of its first product, RenuBot, a fully autonomous mower, while continuing development on potential products that include specialized maintenance systems and agricultural industry-specific autonomous machines.
Investors that purchase the first 50,000 Crowd Notes, and thereby fund the first $50,000, will receive Crowd Notes with a conversion provision based on a $13.2 million valuation cap instead of a $16.5 million valuation cap. That means, in connection with equity financing of at least $1,000,000, the company has the option to convert the Crowd Note into non-voting preferred shares (Conversion Shares) at a price based on the lower of (A) a 20% discount to the price per unit paid for Preferred Shares by investors in the Qualified Equity Financing or (B) the price per share based on a $13.2 million valuation cap (instead of $16.5 million).
Security Type: Crowd Note
Round Size: Min: $50,000 Max: $1,070,000
Valuation Cap: $13,200,000 or $16,500,000
Discount Rate: 20%
Conversion Provisions: In connection with equity financing of at least $1,000,000, the Company has the option to convert the Crowd Note into non-voting preferred shares (Conversion Shares) at a price based on the lower of (A) a 20% discount to the price per share paid for Preferred Shares by investors in the Qualified Equity Financing or (B) the price per share based on a $13,200,000 or $16,500,000 valuation cap. Please refer to the Crowd Note for a complete description of the terms of the Crowd Note, including the conversion provisions.
Solar energy, which made up just 0.1% of U.S. electricity generation in 2010, has grown significantly in recent years, now accounting for more than 2% of total electricity generation. As a subset of the industry, utility-scale solar generation—large-scale solar projects typically produced on solar farms—is expected to increase significantly as well. Currently there is roughly 39,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar projects operational in the U.S., with another 94,561 megawatts of projects under development.i Put in perspective, one megawatt is enough energy to power anywhere from 400 to 900 homes,ii meaning that the current utility-solar output is enough to power roughly 15.6 million homes, with enough power for an additional 37.8 million homes should expected projects be completed.
As the production of large-scale solar farms is increases, so do the costs of developing and maintaining the facilities. To begin generating solar-derived electricity, a utility company must incur the initial costs of buying or renting land and purchasing solar panel modules, as well as variable costs such as labor, design, and engineering. Another potentially overlooked cost is related to vegetation management. If not properly managed, weeds and tall grass can potentially cause hotspots or fires that damage panels or decrease their efficiency.iii Though important, vegetation management can be expensive. For example, vegetation management is the second costliest expense behind land leases for Duke Energy solar facilities (one of the largest electric power holding companies in the U.S.) according to a spokesperson.iv
Renu Robotics, a San Antonio, Texas-based robotics company, aims to help utility providers save on maintenance costs by providing fully autonomous robotic mowers for solar farm facilities. These mowers, which do not require supervision, can help clients scale back maintenance labor costs. Further, by allowing clients to purchase the autonomous machines—which are engineered to require little ongoing maintenance—Renu hopes to enable its customers to reduce variable costs to better budget for the future. Starting with its line of mowers, the company hopes to optimize maintenance, stabilize and reduce costs, and lessen carbon emissions for its customers. In the future, the company plans to expand beyond mowers, creating systems designed to clean, inspect, and secure solar farm assets.
Renu Robotics has built a fully autonomous tractor, the RenuBot, designed specifically for use on utility-scale solar farms. Currently, the company is marketing a version of the RenuBot equipped with a mowing system to maintain solar farm grounds. The low-profile mower is built to fit underneath obstacles, such as solar panels, for increased mobility. Equipped with a cutting-edge lithium ion battery and battery storage techniques that reduce weight, increase storage capacity, and decrease charge time, the RenuBot charges its battery using solar power during the day and operates at night, a process that produces zero operational emissions. Each RenuBot is given a stored map of the area it is servicing and will follow the pre-programmed path while utilizing machine learning to make corrections as needed to reduce wasted time and increase efficiency. To ensure the bot accurately follows the designated route, RenuBot leverages real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS, which provides horizontal accuracy within two centimeters.
To detect its surroundings, the RenuBot is equipped with multiple sensors, including ultrasonics, and lidar. These sensors allow the mower to navigate around obstacles and other hinderances without the need for an operator. Once it has completed its mowing, the bot automatically returns to its docking bay for charging. The RenuBot is also capable of wireless auto updating, enabling each unit to check for and download the most up-to-date version of software while uploading data on progress, status, maintenance, new object recognition, and security. Other features of the RenuBot include:
In the future, the company plans to pair its RenuBot autonomous tractor with various task-specific systems, such as pesticide spraying, security, and inspection systems. Due to design complexities, each unit will be capable of a specific task. The Company has developed software to manage and coordinate multiple units that provide a suite of grounds maintenance services.
Clients will be able to track their fleet of RenuBots using Renu Robotics’ fleet management software. Each RenuBot unit is connected to the management software, which helps optimize routes, coordinate fleet movements, and monitor each vehicle’s status. Through the software platform, clients will have access to dashboards that produce metrics on vehicle performance and system efficacy.
Each robotic system collects data regarding locations, environments, vegetation, performance, and operations. Renu Robotics exports this data to provide further reporting to its clients, as well as environmental data for research purposes.
Renu plans to allocate raised funds to the following categories:
Campaign Marketing - $3,000 (6%)
General Marketing - $1,000 (2%)
Research and Development - $20,000 (40%)
Equipment Purchases - $1,000 (2%)
Future Wages - $7,000 (14%)
General Working Capital - $16,000 (32%)
Travel and Patents - $2,000 (4%)
Campaign Marketing - $8,000 (1%)
General Marketing - $38,000 (4%)
Research and Development - $470,000 (44%)
Equipment Purchases - $88,000 (8%)
Future Wages - $143,000 (13%)
General Working Capital - $145,000 (14%)
Travel and Patents - $88,000 (8%)
Manufacturing - $90,000 (8%)
The company plans to use proceeds for the reimbursement of expenses incurred from the marketing of its crowdfunding raise.
Renu Robotics plans to use proceeds to conduct email marketing campaigns, literature and materials creation, video creation and signage.
Proceeds allocated to research and development will be used to further develop products outlined in the company’s product roadmap, including software development, hardware components design and testing, and analysis on items in design.
The company’s allotment for equipment purchases includes equipment for testing products including tools, a forklift, electronic testing equipment, computers, a small press and other items related to engineering and company operations.
Proceeds allocated to future wages will be used to pay the salaries of current employees, as well as future hires.
General working capital allotments will be used for daily operations, such as purchasing materials, funding operational expenses, and paying bills associated with ongoing business.
The company plans to use its travel and patents allocation to pay for travel associated with the installment of units with customers, as well as travel related to sales. The company hopes to file additional patents in the near future as well.
Proceeds devoted to manufacturing will be used to fund all aspects of manufacturing Renu Robotics’ products. This includes tools, benches, lifts, materials, and safety related items.
Starting in 2021, Renu Robotics intends to expand its product line by pairing its tractor base with task-specific systems engineered to address a wider variety of solar farm maintenance needs. While the core specifications of the tractor bases will remain uniform, the units will be re-balanced to optimize the towing needs of the following systems:
SprayBot – Q1 2021 launch – This proposed spraying system will include a moveable arm designed to spray natural pesticides precisely to limit waste and over-spraying
Panel Inspector – Q3 2021 launch – The company plans to develop the Panel Inspector to detect defective solar panels, loose wiring, loose bolts, failed trackers, and hot wires utilizing multispectral and infrared cameras. The company plans to equip the system with the capability to document the location of issues, capture the serial numbers of defective panels, and report issues to the appropriate parties.
Security Bot – Q1 2022 launch – The proposed Security Bot will be designed to provide roving security throughout a solar site. Running random patterns, the bot will look for intruders using on-board cameras to take and send videos.
Solar Panel CleanBot – Q1 2023 launch – Renu Robotics plans to develop a cleaning bot utilizing a proposed 4-wheel drive, all-terrain platform. Equipped with a proposed 10 ft. articulating arm with a rotating brush, the bot will be designed to clean panels at a speed of one to two mph. The company plans to enable the bot to perform dry cleans, as well as water and detergent cleanings.
AT MowBot – Q2 2023 launch – The company plans to leverage its proposed all-terrain platform to develop a mowing bot with two articulating arms attached to a single deck at the front of the system. Renu plans to make the bot capable of scouting an area for vegetation to mow, as well as the ability to climb rocks and hills to cut down weeds and grasses.
Mechanical Weeder – Q3 2022 launch – With the first task-specific system of the proposed lighter 4-wheel drive AgBot Electric Tractor, the Mechanical Weeder, Renu hopes to leverage software to analyze plant life to pull unwanted vegetation from crops, fields, and grassy areas. The company plans to license the visual learning software from various sources to integrate with the system.
Harvest Robot – Q2 2023 launch – The company plans to develop a harvesting system capable of harvesting low lying fruits and vegetables. Renu plans to enable the system to identify and pick produce similar to hand-picking, with tools to cut edible greens as well.
Omni SprayBot – Q2 2024 launch – Renu hopes to develop a spray system that will use non-chemical spray to reduce pests, fungus, and bacteria on fruits and vegetables. The company plans to use a combination of ozonated water, steam, ultraviolet light, and other techniques currently being developed to minimize the use of chemicals.
Currently, Renu Robotics plans to sell units to utility-scale solar power providers for use at their solar farms. In the future, the company plans to expand to agriculture, where it will target small-scale agricultural operations. Renu sells each unit for $50,000. It costs the company $30,000 to produce one unit. In addition to the sale of each individual unit, the company plans to provide monitoring of the units at a cost of $800 per month.
In the future, Renu Robotics hopes to transition to a leasing model, in which clients will pay a monthly or yearly fee to use a fleet of Renu units, while Renu will retain ownership of the units. The company also hopes to begin outsourcing the component assembly of its bots, while keeping the design, development, and final assembly inhouse.
The company currently has two patents pending related to the self-driving technology of the company’s RenuBot:
In December 2019, the company sold three RenuBot units and four charging stations to a major solar energy provider for use on the company’s solar farm facilities.
Currently, Renu Robotics has 16 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place, as well as seven letters of interest (LOIs) with solar energy providers to potentially provide robotic mowers to solar farms. In December 2019, the company was accepted into Capital Factory’s VIP Accelerator.
In December 2019, the company shipped three RenuBot units and four charging stations to a major energy provider. Upon shipment, the company generated revenue of roughly $252,000.
As of November 2019, Renu Robotics has incurred expenses totaling $797,443 year-to-date. Since the company’s inception in August 2018 through November 2019, the company has incurred expenses of $842,472. Overall expenses began to increase steadily beginning in January 2019. This was due primarily to increased spending on the development of prototypes, as well as an increase in payroll expenses. Operating expenses peaked in October 2019 due to a substantial increase in prototype development expenses.
Renu Robotics’ expenses since inception can be broken down into the following categories:
Payroll - $0 (0%)
Prototypes - $35,197 (78%)
Building Rent - $0 (0%)
Travel - $3,832 (9%)
Marketing Costs - $2,841 (6%)
Supplies & Other - $3,159 (7%)
Payroll - $322,771 (40%)
Prototypes - $384,117 (48%)
Building Rent - $44,530 (6%)
Travel - $5,735 (1%)
Marketing Costs - $16,212 (2%)
Supplies & Other - $24,078 (3%)
The company established a payroll in January of 2019. In May 2019, Renu Robotics began renting warehouse space in San Antonio, Texas, to continue manufacturing its RenuBot units. In 2019, prototype spending increased substantially as the company increased the development and manufacturing of RenuBot units for potential customers.
As of November 2019, Renu Robotics has incurred a net loss of $797,443 year-to-date. Since inception in August 2018, the company has incurred net losses totaling $842,472. In 2019 through November, the company’s average monthly burn rate is $62,946. As of November, the company has $60,569 of cash on hand. As a result of low cash on hand, the founders of the company plan to fund the company until the conclusion of the crowdfunding raise.
Renu Robotics plans to initially target utility-scale solar companies. Currently, there are nearly 39,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar projects operating, with another 94,561 megawatts under development. Of the utility-scale solar projects signed in 2018, only 11% were under a government-mandated renewable portfolio standard, while more than 80% of projects were signed under voluntary procurement by utility companies or corporate off-takers. Utility-scale solar power generation makes up the largest portion of all U.S. solar installations, relative to residential and non-residential installations.v
Growth of solar installations have been fueled in part by the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Initially passed in 2006, the credit has since been extended and/or expanded in 2007, 2008, and late in 2015. As a result of fears surrounding the future of the ITC, solar project installations surged in 2016 in order to take advantage of the ITC. However, due to the latest extension in late 2015, the federal policy is stable until 2021.vi
Solar has ranked first or second in new electricity capacity additions from 2013 to 2018 and is on pace to rank second in 2019. In 2010, solar power was responsible for just 0.1% of total U.S. electrical generation. Today, solar accounts for more than 2% of total generation.vii While becoming a significant source of new electric capacity additions, utility-scale solar has decreased in price. Despite the imposition of a 30% tariff in February 2018, module prices have begun falling again due to renewed market certainty in the wake of the lower-than-expected tariff announcement and global module oversupply caused by steep reductions in Chinese demand.
In the future, the company plans to expand into the commercial agricultural industry. In 2017, U.S. farms contributed $132.8 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). In the same year, roughly 2.6 million people were employed in the farming sector, accounting for 1.3% of total U.S. employment.vii Digital disruption and consolidation are expected to impact the agricultural industry. With demand for food worldwide rising and farm profits decreasing, food production practices are shifting. In 2018, farm profits dropped to $59.5 billion, a 12-year low.ix The agricultural robotics industry is estimated to capture a market size of $5.7 billion by 2024.x Machine learning, analytics, and remote sensing are also expected to impact the agricultural market in the near future.xi
According to Zion Market Research, the global autonomous robot market was valued at around $4.61 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately $11.9 billion by 2024. The industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% between 2017 and 2024. The demand for autonomous robot units is expected to reach about 115,400 units by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 13% between 2017 and 2024. Anticipated growth will be driven by demand from a wide variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, military operations, and home applications, among others. These industries use autonomous robots across many different functions like delivery, material handling, security, and more.xii
Renu Robotics operates within the larger industry of robotics. Some highlights from historical venture capital funding data for robotics companies are as follows:xiii
John Deere is the brand name of Deere & Company (NYSE: DE), a corporation founded in 1837. As part of its suite of products, John Deere offers commercial lawn mowers and lawn mower accessories. These commercial-level offerings include zero-turn mowers, walk-behind mowers, front and wide-area mowers, and stand-on mowers. Currently, John Deere offers the TANGO E5, a consumer-level autonomous mower, but does not have a commercial quality autonomous mowing product. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, the company generated net sales of roughly $33.4 billion.xiv
Founded in 1914, The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is an American corporation specializing in the manufacturing of lawn maintenance equipment. Toro currently offers various commercial-grade mowers, including walk-behind mowers, stand-on mowers, and zero-turn mowers. In 2002, Toro partnered with the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) to develop an autonomous mower for the golf market. Though it successfully developed a working prototype, the company deemed the technology too expensive, estimating the cost at roughly twice the cost of a traditional commercial mower. Toro eventually abandoned the project.xv In 2018, Toro generated net sales of $2.62 billion, a 4.5% increase over 2017.xvi
Founded in 1969, Alamo Group is a Texas-based company that designs, manufactures, distributes and services high-quality equipment for infrastructure maintenance, agriculture, and other applications. Alamo Group’s industrial division, Alamo Industrial, offers a suite of commercial-grade mowers. As part of its product offerings, Alamo Industrial offers TRAXX RC, a purpose built rotary-type remote controlled industrial mower for cutting grass and light brush in areas not accessible to conventional mowing equipment or not safe for operators. In the first quarter of 2019, the company reported net sales of $261.9 million with net income of $15.3 million.xvii
Based in the Czech Republic, SPIDER Slope Mowers produces a patent-protected fleet of remote-controlled mowers. The company offers five models of mowers, designed for all types of commercial lawn maintenance needs. SPIDER’s 2SGS model is specifically designed for the maintenance of turf areas around solar panels at utility scale solar farms. Equipped with hydraulic engines and a lower profile, the 2SGS is made to maintain the turf beneath panels. Currently, the 2SGS features a cutting width of 123 centimeters, a weight of 853 lbs., and a remote-control radius of 100 meters.xviii
Tim has served as CEO of Renu Robotics since August 2018. Before Renu, Tim was an operations manager at MediaFusion, a digital media platform. Tim has also held the roles of Director of Product Development at Electrolab and Chief Operating Officer at Itsa Energy. Combined, he has over 20 years of experience leading teams and bringing products from research and development to market. His experience ranges from manufacturing, oil & gas, biotech, marketing, and media, developing both business and product strategy. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Michael founded Renu Robotics in 2018 alongside Tim. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Renu. Michael also works for Origis Services, where he serves as Managing Director. He has held director and vice president positions at Sunpower Corporation and MaxGen Energy Services, respectively. Prior to his corporate career, Michael was a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Michael holds his bachelor’s degree in Marine Sciences from Texas A&M University at Galveston, his master’s in Military and Foreign Affairs from the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, and his MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jeff has served as CFO of Renu since August 2018. In his role, he has been working on developing the long-term financial plan and monitoring current cash levels. Jeff is tasked with developing policies and procedures to ensure prudent stewardship of Renu Robotics finances and building a team of finance and accounting professionals to deliver best in class service to all stakeholders. Currently, Jeff works for Glenmount Global Solutions, serving as Director of financial planning and analysis (FP&A). In the past, Jeff has also worked for Khoros and Sunpower Corporation in FP&A roles. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from La Sierra University, and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
Todd Sanders joined Renu Robotics in August 2018 as the Chief Technology Officer. In this role, he prototyped and validated the technology with other team members to prove the concept was possible. With the growth of the software and hardware team Todd’s primary focus is now the overall platform and building out the control and monitoring tools and support team. His experience includes being an executive at multiple startups including: GridMonitor a data analytics and information platform for the power industry, DSI Energy Ventures, PointStream, Inc., and The Patient Recruiting Agency creating data-drive advertising solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University.
Tony has served as Renu’s COO since February 2019. Before stepping into his current role, Tony held the position of Executive Vice President of Field Operations for the company. He has also held the positions of Vice President of Operations at MaxGen Energy Services and Director of Operations and Maintenance at First Solar. Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, and a master’s level certificate from the Solar Engineering and Commercialization Program at Arizona State University.
In January 2020, in exchange for admittance to Capital Factory’s accelerator program, the company issued a warrant to Capital Factory for 1,205,868 shares of Class B common stock, exercisable at $0.0025 per share at any time prior to January 27, 2030. Renu Robotics has also raised capital through the following rounds of financing:
The information provided herein is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation to purchase, or an offer to sell securities of the company. You should rely on the offering statement and documents attached as exhibits to the offering statement when making any investment decision. An investment in the company is not suitable for all investors.
An investment in the company is speculative, and as such is not suitable for anyone without a high tolerance for risk and a low need for liquidity. You should invest only if you are able to bear the risk of losing your entire investment. There can be no assurance that that investors will receive any return of capital or profit. Investors should have the financial ability and willingness to accept the risks (including, among other things, the risk of loss of their entire investment and the risks of lack of liquidity) that are characteristic of private placement investments. There will be no public market for the securities being offered, applicable securities laws will restrict any transfer of the securities, and the securities will not be transferable without the company’s consent.
The company’s industry is highly competitive, and the company may not be able to compete effectively against the other businesses in its industry. The company is subject to a number of significant risks that could result in a reduction in its value and the value of the company securities, potentially including, but not limited to: