SK networks' Hico Capital invests in a US tractor automation solution provider

  • Participated USD 4M in Series A round of Sabanto through Hico Capital
  • Investment decision based on market growth and Sabanto’s differentiated competitive edge… contributing to sustainability as well
  • “Investing in a variety of promising business domains around the world, to build a foundation to upgrade our business portfolio”

SEOUL, South Korea, June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hico Capital, US based investment arm of SK networks, has invested in a US AgTech startup.

SK networks announced on June 30(CDT) that the company will invest USD 4 million, via Hico Capital, its US investment subsidiary, in the Series A round for tractor automation solution provider, Sabanto (based in Chicago, Illinois, USA). Total funding amount is USD 17 million which will be used to fund commercialization and continued development the technology.

Sabanto is a startup offering an automation solution for farming tractors and differentiates itself from competitors by delivering an automation solution deployable in conventional tractors currently in operation. In addition, as the solution is offered as an open platform, it is compatible with most of the tractor brands. The automation solution is attractive with this wide range of adaptability as it can enable customers to access autonomy-embedded tractor without replacing the existing tractors. Sabanto is on track for a commercial launch of its product to farmers in the third quarter of this year. In addition, Sabanto has been pilot testing with the US Air Force since last year, with the final phase of testing to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Hico Capital has made its investment decision based on the considerable growth potential of AgTech industry as well as Sabanto’s differentiated technologies. The US agriculture industry faces a series of challenges including aging farmers, shortage of labor, and rising costs, which have prompted the government and the market to consider automation technology as a possible solution. The global autonomous tractor market is estimated to grow at 20% per annum. Sabanto is expected to benefit from the industry tailwind, driven by the increasing demand for automation.

Samuel Kim, Managing Director at Hico Capital commented, “The AgTech industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States, and Sabanto’s automation tech offerings will not only boost the operational efficiency of tractors but also contribute to the sustainability in agriculture,” and he added, “This investment will allow us to support startups with innovative technology and potentially forge partnership with SK networks’ businesses in the future.”

Founded in 2020, Hico Capital is a subsidiary of SK networks based in Silicon Valley to facilitate investments in frontier tech opportunities and to expand its local networks. Hico Capital has made a number of investments to date, including Standard Cognition and MycoWorks.  

Samuel Kim(left) of Hico Capital and Craig Rupp, CEO and Founder of Sabanto, have signed an agreement on the Oculus platform of Meta to facilitate Hico Capital’s investment in Sabanto.


(PRNewsfoto/SK Networks)


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