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TerraClear Secures $15 Million For Its Innovative Rock-Picking Technology

Courtesy of Terra Clear
Courtesy of Terra Clear

TerraClear, an innovative startup based in Issaquah, Washington, and Grangeville, Idaho, has recently secured $15 million in new funding to advance its groundbreaking rock-mapping and picking technology solutions for farmers. This latest round of funding, contributed by Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, TerraClear CEO Brent Frei, and several angel investors, builds on a $25 million Series A raised in May 2021. The infusion of capital bolsters the company's sales organization and fosters partnerships with original equipment manufacturers, propelling TerraClear towards significant growth.

Founded in 2017 by Brent Frei, the former CEO of Onyx Software and co-founder of Smartsheet, TerraClear was born out of the necessity to alleviate the laborious and time-consuming task of removing large rocks from agricultural fields. Seven years into its journey, the startup has made remarkable strides, particularly with its Rock Picker hardware, capable of attaching to various machines and picking hundreds of rocks per hour. Coupled with TerraClear’s continuously evolving software and AI, the technology enables efficient rock mapping, route planning, and rock picking, showcasing an unprecedented solution in agricultural technology.

Unlike traditional agricultural companies focusing solely on hardware automation, TerraClear’s mission encompasses a holistic approach to solving the rock problem farmers face. Offering a comprehensive suite of services, TerraClear begins with field mapping using drones to create a detailed Rock Map at a competitive price of $4 per acre. This map then facilitates the rock-picking process, carried out by service providers in partnership with TerraClear, costing farmers between $2 and $9 per acre. This innovative model presents an exceptional opportunity for local businesses to expand and allows TerraClear to scale its impact without directly establishing a service channel.

The visionary outlook of Frei draws a compelling parallel between TerraClear's potential impact on agriculture and the transformative journey of Amazon, from a bookseller to an e-commerce behemoth. Frei envisions TerraClear's end-to-end solutions—spanning AI, automation, robotics, and information processing—as forming a platform with the capability to revolutionize agricultural practices.

Currently operational mainly in Minnesota and Iowa, TerraClear serves around 100 farming customers. Modern marketing efforts, including collaboration with popular agricultural influencers, further boost its visibility and customer base. The startup is also making strides towards full automation, with a Bobcat equipped with TerraClear’s control software and Rock Picker demonstrating autonomous operation in test fields, poised for production deployment this summer.

Having raised $53 million to date and employing a team of about 40 individuals, TerraClear stands at the cusp of transforming agricultural operations, making the task of rock picking more efficient, less labor-intensive, and environmentally sustainable. Frei's enthusiasm for the technology and the farming community underscores TerraClear's commitment to innovation and its promise to enhance the future of farming for generations to come.


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