Ten Agric start-ups have been carefully curated and will present during the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit virtual event being held on March 9 and 10, 2021.
The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit is not only an event that connects some of the world’s leading agribusinesses, food brands, growers, entrepreneurs, and investors, but it also provides early- to mid-stage agri-food companies an opportunity to showcase their technology to over 1,000 attendees. The descriptions of the various start-ups are presented below.
Agro.Club is a mobile platform that connects growers to their suppliers and crop purchasers in a single network. From seed to sale, this singular network becomes an efficient marketplace, the source of valuable analytics, and a marketing and networking tool for the entire ag value chain.
“At Agro.Club, we provide an opportunity for the whole ag community to network, share the know-how, and ultimately support each other in the fields,” says the company’s founder and CEO Egor Kirin on the company’s website.
Founded by three young entrepreneurs from Nova Scotia, Nexus Robotics has created La Chèvre, a weeding robot that works autonomously, 24/7. Using cameras and a neural network to differentiate between a weed and a crop, the robot accurately removes a weed without damaging the crop. Used in conjunction with a more conventional in-row cultivator, La Chèvre can effectively replace several workers.
With a target of 90% reduction in insecticide use, BigSIS is building a broad portfolio of sustainable insect control solutions that are more effective than chemical insecticides. Its artificial intelligence and robotics platform produces sterile male insects, which have minimal regulatory requirements. The company projects it will replace the $16 billion insecticide market and capture value by improving yield. It will progressively address dozens of commercially valuable pest targets in agriculture and public health, among others. The first two pest solutions for codling moth and spotted Drosophila were chosen for speed-to-market and competitive advantage. They are already laboratory-proven and approved for sale in England. Mosquito solutions are a high priority for the company as well.
Bloomfield Robotics is using portable cameras and artificial intelligence to automatically and continuously assess the health and performance of specialty crops, one plant at a time. The platform can recommend treatments, predict yield and harvest timing, and identify infestation and pests. It is currently working with a number of vineyard and tree fruit customers across North America and will soon add the European Union.
Botanical Solution is a patented R&D platform based on plant tissue culture that enables the company to discover and develop sustainable, highly consistent, and cost-effective botanical products. The platform eliminates major barriers, such as supply and quality issues, that have prevented traditional botanicals from becoming commercially successful. One of its products, ABM-01, is based on a plant native to Chile (Quillaja saponaria Molina). It is the active ingredient the company uses to produce the biopesticide Botristop. It will soon enable the production of the vaccine adjuvant QS-21.
The electrophysical solution developed by Crop. Zone combats weeds and manages pre-harvest desiccation. The process combines chemical and physical plant protection to create an effective way to kill weeds. Because the patented solution provides a competitive alternative for weed management, significant parts of today’s synthetic herbicide use can be replaced.
Kapsera believes that in order to make the switch to sustainable agriculture, conventional tools such as chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides must be replaced with environmentally-friendly, natural solutions that are safe for consumers. The most promising solutions, the company believes, draw on active principles found naturally in soil and plants.
Before these products can be brought into widespread use, they need to be stabilized and gain in efficacy. Based on the latest advances in microfluidics, Kapsera has developed biodegradable alginate capsules to meet this challenge. Its product pipeline will include seed treatment, as well as soil and foliar application. Capsules are compatible with standard farm equipment and optimized with a tailor-made liquid core for stabilizing active ingredients and improving field performance.
Using intelligent swarms of tiny valves, Verdi is customizing nutrition for every plant. The company’s hyper precise irrigation technology is enabling unique water and fertilizer applications on subsections of single crop rows as well as the plant level.
ScanWorld wants to deliver Level 2 hyperspectral imagery, twice a week, on a global scale. This will enable a wide range of applications from soil organic carbon estimation to early vegetation disease alerts. Today, it uses third-party spacecraft complemented with aerial imagery. As of 2024, ScanWorld will start deploying its own constellation.
Nanomik Biotechnology is developing micro-encapsulated biopesticides, which protects crops against plant pathogens. The result: an increase yield and post-harvest shelf life of fruits and vegetables.