R-Sept, a Skolkovo resident startup that has developed a robotic milking station for cows, has raised 10 million rubles ($170,000) in funding from two investors, the company told VC.ru last week.

Alexey Khakhunov, CEO of R-Sept, shows off the company's robotic milking technology at Golden Autumn. Photo: Sk.ru.

The investment is coming from Eduard Gurinovich, co-founder of the CarPrice used car online marketplace, and his partner Sergei Eryomin, a member of the board of the Business Russia union of entrepreneurs. In exchange they will receive 4.5 percent of R-Sept’s capital.  

R-Sept, which demonstrated its automated milking system that uses artificial intelligence at the recent Golden Autumn agricultural fair in Moscow, will use the funding to create prototypes and prepare presentations for potential investors, the company told VC.ru, adding that it is seeking to raise 350 million rubles ($6 million) in a main round in January 2018.

Alexey Khakhunov, CEO of R-Sept, is the lone techie in a family of farmers, he told Sk.ru at Golden Autumn, where he presented the robotic milking system to visitors including Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. Khakhunov and his family have a farm in the Sergiyev Posad district of the Moscow region, where R-Sept plans to put its technology into practice for the first time next year.

R-Sept’s system can milk cows in two stalls simultaneously, and decrease the cost of producing a litre of milk by 30 to 40 percent, according to Khakhunov. The robot can process 110 cows a day, working on the basis that each cow goes to the robot to be milked on average 2.7 times a day. The system will cost about 8 million rubles ($140,000) when it reaches the market.  

R-Sept, a resident startup of the Skolkovo Foundation’s biomed cluster, also makes an automatic feed pusher and farm management software that allows farmers to monitor cattle health and behaviour, milk output and other data, including the milk’s chemical composition, enabling the system to alert the farmer at the first sign of disease.

The company hopes to enter the international market by 2021.