CNBC Disruptor 50

20. Monarch Tractor

Founders: Praveen Penmetsa (CEO), Mark Schwager, Zachary Omohundro, Carlo Mondavi
Launched: 2018
Headquarters: Livermore, California
$81 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: $280 million (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, deep neural networks/deep learning, Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

Monarch Tractor is the maker of fully electric, "driver optional" tractors, promising to bring down the cost of farming by eliminating the need for ever-more expensive diesel fuel, and increasing farmworker efficiency by enabling an operator to manage up to 8 tractors at once, rather than drive just one.

All that, plus the promise of reducing commercial agriculture's significant carbon footprint.

Monarch boasts a diverse founding team that includes CEO Praveen Penmetsa, a serial entrepreneur, President Mark Schwager, a former Tesla supply chain manager, and CTO Zachary Omohundro, who has a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon. Founder and Chief Farming Officer Carlo Mondavi is a fourth-generation viticulturist from the world-famous California winegrowing family.

At $280 million, according to PitchBook, Monarch is one of the lowest-valued start-ups on this year's CNBC Disruptor 50 List, but has garnered critical acclaim from the Consumer Technology Association and several ag industry trade groups. It completed two rounds of funding in 2021 after it deployed its first vehicles for commercial use at Wente Vineyards in Livermore Valley, California.

Monarch has backing from Astanor Ventures, a food and agriculture "impact investing" fund based in Luxembourg, as well as Japan's Musashi Seimitsu Industry Company and former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg.

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