Founding Team


Kent Cavender-Bares, CEO

Kent's vision for creating the future of robotic farming starts with the needs of both the plant and the farmer. His driving motivation is to make it easy for farmers to use all of their inputs more efficiently. As CEO, he defines Rowbot's solutions, works with investors, manages operations and charts out IP strategy. He holds a B.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell, a M.S. in environmental engineering from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from MIT. Prior leadership roles in environmental non-profits. Kent grew up operating and repairing farm equipment. [email, LinkedIn]


John Bares, Executive Chairman

Internationally-renowned robotics leader. Past director of NREC at Carnegie Mellon University. John was the founding director of Uber’s Advanced Tech Center (UATC) in Pittsburgh, building the team that logged 1 million self-driving miles. John founded Carnegie Robotics and led it during development of Rowbot’s foundational technology. John also serves as CEO at Carnegie Robotics and holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon. [LinkedIn]

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David LaRose, Chief Robotics Scientist

David has over 25 years experience in robotics and computer vision. Previously, he's been involved in commercializing technologies in the biomedical, environmental, military, energy, and agricultural markets. David was involved in the development of ROWBOT’s autonomy technology while it was a project at CRL. David had a key role with Uber’s self-driving car effort. He serves also as Chief Scientist at Carnegie Robotics. David holds a B.S from Brown, and M.S., Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. [LinkedIn]

Founding Robotics Team



Matt Alvarado, Principal Software Engineer

Matt’s focus is on perception systems and field planning. He comes to Rowbot from Uber’s self-driving car unit, where he worked on the perception and motion planning teams. Prior to Uber, Matt was with Carnegie Robotics, where among other projects, he developed the V1 Rowbot prototype’s navigation system. Matt holds a B.S. from Olin College and a M.S. from CMU. [LinkedIn]


Chris Niessl, Senior Software Engineer

Broadly experienced robotic software developer who comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics (CRL). Most recently, Chris was Lead Software Engineer for CRL’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) System. This highly reliable robotic system has a software codebase of over one million lines and has been extensively audited and tested by the US Army. While at CRL, Chris was involved in extending Rowbot’s data collection capabilities in the area of rapid phenotyping. Chris holds a B.S. from CMU. [LinkedIn]


Matt Camacho-Cook, Lead Mechanical Engineer

Matt is currently Lead Mechanical Engineer at Carnegie Robotics (CRL), where he has designed several wheeled and tracked robotic systems, including the V1 Rowbot prototype. As part of his role as the Lead Mechanical Engineer on CRL’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) project, Matt not only designed a custom five degree of freedom manipulator but guided the design through the early production maturation process. Prior to CRL, Matt worked for CMU’s NREC on the APD program, a highly advanced hybrid electric technology demonstrator for the US Army TARDEC. He will be full time at Rowbot by Q3 2018. Matt holds a B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. [LinkedIn]



Chani Martin, Mechanical Engineer

Chani is a mechanical designer who can rapidly iterate through early prototype designs while still ensuring their robustness. She comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics, where she worked on new sensor development as well as a high-mobility tracked platform for MTRS II (Man Transportable Robotic System). Prior to Carnegie Robotics she was a mechanical engineer at SpaceX. Chani holds a B.S. from Olin College. [LinkedIn]


Nick Bland, Systems & Test Engineer

Nick is deeply involved in the development of Rowbot’s positioning and navigation systems. Nick comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics (CRL), where he was the Lead Test Engineer and Deputy Project Lead for CRL’s Joint Development Agreement with Swift Navigation on the low cost INS system for automotive and agriculture using the Swift RTK GPS system. Nick’s extensive experience as a talented field operator will help guide Rowbot’s user interface development. While at CRL, Nick has been involved in development of the V1 Rowbot prototype. Nick holds two associate’s degrees from Butler County Community College. [LinkedIn]


Nolan Stephenson, Lead Engineering Technician

Nolan is a highly skilled, interdisciplinary robotics engineering technician who comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics, where among other projects, he was involved in all aspects of the V1 Rowbot prototype, from assembly, testing, and field deployments. Nolan has been involved in the build phase and deployments of Carnegie Robotic’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) prototypes, and several infrastructure inspection and construction robots. Nolan's experience taking systems from workbench to the field will be leaned on heavily to produce a reliable and maintenance-friendly system suitable for extensive agricultural work. [LinkedIn]

 From Left: Charlie Bares, Kent Cavender-Bares, and John Bares.

From Left: Charlie Bares, Kent Cavender-Bares, and John Bares.

Rowbot was founded in 2012 by three entrepreneurial brothers. Charlie Bares is a large-scale dairyman and corn grower from NY State. Kent Cavender-Bares is an environmental scientist, who trained as an agricultural engineer and is based in Minnesota. John Bares is a co-founder of Carnegie Robotics, a robotics team that has deep experience designing and manufacturing high-quality products for agriculture and other markets.