Blue River began as an idea hatched by two graduate students at Stanford University: Jorge, former head of precision agriculture at Trimble Navigation, and Lee, a PhD student and roboticist. While taking Steve Blank's
Lean LaunchPad course, Jorge and Lee had a wild ambition: to make farming more responsible and sustainable through robotics.
During the course, the team built and tested its first prototype in California's ripe Central Valley - successfully demonstrating a computer that could recognize distinct plants. With seed funding from several professors, including Blank, Jorge and Lee took the leap and incorporated their company. They called their venture Blue River Technology - capturing the spirit of the sustainable, dynamic, ever-advancing company they wanted to build.
Giving Life to Lettuce
Labor shortages were threatening California's vegetable industry, where for decades most field work has been performed by hand. Lettuce - the state's #1 vegetable crop - especially needed new methods to avoid losing valuable yield.
With an expanded team, Blue River developed a solution to this challenge:
the LettuceBot, a precision thinning device that gives the farmer more control than ever before. We deliver consistent spacing, fine-tuned to your field's needs; we maximize stand count; and ultimately, we help you earn more value from the exact same field.
In Fall 2012, Blue River received $3M in funding from Khosla Ventures to continue refining LettuceBot and develop the next family of advanced agricultural solutions.
Vegetables and Beyond
In 2013 we
commercially launched thinning services for 40 and 42" beds, as well as began building a solution to serve wider beds. And we're not stopping with lettuce: with almost boundless opportunities for vision and robotics to serve this industry, Blue River is preparing to bring some exciting new ideas to life in 2014.
To keep up with demand, we also tripled our team size this year - bringing on even more talented people excited to create advanced technology for better agriculture.