Sask Polytech May 2020
Money

Seed Round Success for Regina’s Prairie Robotics

Prairie Robotics co-founder Sam Dietrich

Prairie Robotics, a Saskatchewan-based CleanTech venture, has announced the closure of its $690,000 seed round. The round, led by Conexus Venture Capital Inc, also had participation from investors Max Schmeiser, Kerry Lumbard and Dan Cugnet.

The company was founded by Sam Dietrich and Stevan Mikha, who met studying engineering at the University of Regina. The co-founders would work together at DOT Technology Corp before entering a Government of Saskatchewan Innovation Challenge in 2019, to address waste reduction for the Ministry of the Environment.

Today, the Regina Internet of Things (IoT) company helps municipalities use Prairie Robotics proprietary IoT technology on recycling collection vehicles. The technology allows waste management services identify contaminants at the household level so that contamination can be removed before hitting the recycling stream. The technology is changing the recycling industry through a reduction in both cost and environmental impact.

“We’ve made tremendous strides over the past year in harnessing our proprietary computer vision technology to understand how we can identify contaminants as the recycling bin is being emptied, and help
cities educate households on the mistakes they’re making,” says Sam Dietrich, co-founder & CEO of Prairie Robotics. “Through our pilot projects with a handful of municipalities across Western Canada, we’re
learning that many of the mistakes people make in adding contaminants to their recycling are simply due to a lack of education. By using our targeted education platform we can significantly reduce the recycling
processing costs and the environmental impacts of contaminants.”

After winning the Innovation Challenge in 2019, Prairie Robotics accessed further funding from Innovation Saskatchewan‘s Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund in 2020. The company also worked with both tech accelerators – Cultivator and Co.Labs to grow the startup. They have also been accepted into Montreal’s Next.AI program for AI startups.

“The initial results from Prairie Robotics have been extraordinary,” said Sean O’Connor, managing director, Conexus Venture Capital Inc. “As we look forward to the enablement of smart cities around the world, one of
the high impact initiatives we can collectively ensure is creating greener cities with less waste. We believe Sam and Stevan are well ahead of the curve in identifying this trend, and their prairie grit combined with
technical skills has allowed them to build some truly unique products in a short period of time.”