2021 Year in Review
Software strides and hardware snags
2021 was marked by hitting a noticeable stride in our ability to ship new software features, while also enduring hardware snags and an arduous development cycle for our next generation kits.
A major factor in our software success was our heavy investment in stability and test coverage of FarmBot OS that began in early 2020. While the rewrites and QA took substantial resources, the effort has allowed us to shorten the time it takes to fix bugs today and ship what feels like a record number of features this year. Additionally, maintaining a low amount of technical debt and enforcing a test coverage policy has improved our confidence in publishing new releases early and often. It is clear that continued investments in infrastructure, testing, and tooling are strategic towards shipping quality software quickly.
Meanwhile, 2021 was the year we unfortunately found more preventable issues in our hardware than ever before. This has prompted us to heavily invest in hardware testing, CAD model fidelity, part drawings and specifications, and also make extensive design improvements to the next generation of hardware. The design changes, along with the pandemic-impacted supply chain caused major delays in restocking our inventory in Q3 and Q4. However, it is looking like our efforts are just beginning to pay off, as they did with software 12 months ago.
Looking back at the long journey, I am appreciative and awed by all that we have accomplished. Moving ahead, I look forward to continuing on our current software trajectory and hitting new strides with hardware through 2022!
– Rory Aronson, CEO of FarmBot Inc
January 4, 2021 — Hosted our first community photo contest on the forum, with the winners receiving FarmBot store credit .
January 7, 2021 — Released the ability to measure the height of the soil using just FarmBot’s built-in camera.
January 13, 2021 — Updated the app to support pinned sequences, giving users the ability to more quickly access their most-used sequences.
January 21, 2021 — Began the deprecation of 3rd party farmwares, soon to be replaced by first-class Lua support and other supporting features.
February 2, 2021 — Added first-class support for executing Lua code within a sequence, as well as an in-app code editor.
February 2, 2021 — Embedded our documentation hubs into an updated help panel in the app.
February 10, 2021 — Added a new ENV editor to the app, new Lua helpers to FBOS, and refreshed the manual controls panel with additional options.
March 6, 2021 — Released FBOS v13 with a new message broker protocol to improve system reliability.
March 6, 2021 — Added an in-app feedback submission form allowing customers who have registered their order number to receive quicker support.
March 17, 2021 — Created an all-new setup wizard to guide new FarmBot users through hardware and software configuration.
March 17, 2021 — Published FarmBot.Py , allowing 3rd-party developers to use external Python code to control FarmBot directly.
March 17, 2021 — Launched an Open Educational Resources (OER) Hub in beta, providing free resources for teaching FarmBot and related subject matter in K-12 schools .
March 30, 2021 — Added search functionality to our documentation hubs.
April 13, 2021 — FarmBot was featured in Heise Online with an accompanying video garnering over 10k views.
May 10, 2021 — Founder Rory Aronson was featured on the Inspiring Design with Rashan Senanayake podcast.
May 24, 2021 — Released FBOS v14, including new firmware and a new firmware handler to improve the reliability of communication between the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
May 26, 2021 — Co-founder Rick Carlino was featured on a video podcast with Paolo Messina, garnering over 3k views.
June 4, 2021 — Released new in-app tours to better showcase the app to prospective customers and onboard new users.
June 15, 2021 — FarmBot was featured for a second time on Kirsten Dirksen’s YouTube channel, garnering over 60k views and capturing FarmBot’s progress since 2016.
June 15, 2021 — Added additional setup wizard steps and video content to further aid new users in getting set up.
June 15, 2021 — Released the ability to use custom firmware to support non-standard FarmBot use cases .
July 7, 2021 — Exposed new properties, environment variables, and sequence variables to Lua developers, providing even more capabilities to 3rd party developers.
July 19, 2021 — Announced quiet mode for Express v1.0 and Genesis v1.5 kits, allowing FarmBot’s movements to make almost no noise.
August 11, 2021 — FarmBot was featured on CNN’s Tech for Good television series.
August 13, 2021 — Introduced interpolation maps allowing users and FarmBot to interpolate the value of the soil height and soil moisture in-between measurements.
August 17, 2021 — FarmBot and founder Rory Aronson were featured on Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist kid’s TV show, garnering over 3 million views on YouTube alone.
September 22, 2021 — Released new Lua helpers, settings, and map photo filters.
October 7, 2021 — Announced support for multi-variable sequences, publicly shared sequences, and a refreshed edit sequence panel.
November 5, 2021 — Dissolved the groups and gardens panels into other areas of the app.
November 15, 2021 — Produced a new FarmBot Story titled FarmBot Digital Twin showcasing using FarmBot and photogrammetry techniques to create a 3D simulation of a real garden.
November 23, 2021 — Published the Photo Grid sequence, allowing users to scan their entire garden in one step.
December 16, 2021 — Released support for text and number variables, opening up a wide array of new sequence capabilities using Lua.
December 16, 2021 — Published new “one step” shared sequences for detecting weeds and measuring soil height across the entire garden, watering all plants, using the Plant.ID 3rd party API to detect crop type, and more.
December 16, 2021 — Added additional settings to automatically triage detected weeds.
December 22, 2021 — Released v1.6 of our FarmBot Genesis documentation hub featuring updated assembly instructions, documentation for the new Rotary Tool, and improved Bill of Materials pages.
YoY revenue by product
Despite the lack of FarmBots available from inventory due to pandemic related supply chain disruptions, 2021 brought us 14% growth in revenue over 2020, making this our biggest year yet:
|Product||2020 Revenue||2021 Revenue||% of 2021 Total|
|Express XL v1.0||$101,831||$158,751||10.9%|
|Express XL v1.1||—||$29,072||2.0%|
|Genesis XL v1.5||$539,628||$121,285||8.3%|
|Genesis XL v1.6||—||$463,262||31.8%|
We sold out of most of our inventory early in the year in an unexpectedly strong Q1 and Q2. Due to pandemic related supply chain disruptions and the time required to develop the next generation of hardware, we were unable to restock our inventory for the rest of 2021, resulting in far fewer FarmBots shipped than sold. With a large number of outstanding pre-orders going into 2022, we expect next year’s total shipments will be substantially greater.
|FarmBot||Quantity Shipped||% of Total|
|Express XL v1.0||95||51.9%|
|Genesis XL v1.5||26||14.2%|
The following table breaks down our FarmBot sales into three main market segments based on end-use of the machine: Education, Personal, and B2B.
The Education segment includes K-12 schools, universities, and extracurricular educational programs such as 4H and robotics clubs. The Personal segment includes homeowners, families, and DIY enthusiasts who use FarmBot non-commercially. B2B includes family farms, research facilities, farm-to-fork restaurants, and other entities that are not in the business of education.
|Segment||FarmBot||Quantity||Revenue||% of Total|
Revenue by country
|Country||Revenue||% of Total|
Shopify report for this table.
Revenue by US state
|State||Revenue||% of US|
Shopify report for this table.
Impact of the pandemic
While our revenue streams have largely stabilized with the reopening of schools and a renewed interest in being self-sufficient at home, the pandemic has continued to impact our internal manufacturing supply chain.
Due to the rising cost of microchips, aluminum, shipping, and many individual components in FarmBot, we will be increasing our prices approximately 10% starting January 15th, 2022. These price increases will help us to better keep inventory on our shelves and maintain margin through the year.