Stories: 2 EU-funded SMEs chosen among the Best Agtech startups in Europe
The blog Valuer has curated a list of the top European AgTech startups utilizing data to ensure the future of food production is in the safety of technologically equipped growers hands. This selection includes the EU-funded companies Connecterra and Pollenity and presents SMEs that are reimagining the future of food production.
In recent years, startups have emerged providing some incredible innovations in the agricultural industry, with new technologies to make farms more productive, efficient, and sustainable, and to help small farmers increase their yields and incomes. The startups are introducing technology to monitor crops using drones and sensors, manage farm activities and logistics from platforms and apps, use robots to perform farm maintenance, grow food hydroponically on a mass scale, monitor the health of livestock using AI, and provide invaluable data to help millions of small scale farmers – many of whom don’t even have access to a smartphone. Here are 2 EU-funded companies that are innovating for the next green revolution to feed the globe sustainably.
Connecterra : ‘Connected earth’
This start-up uses an intelligent dairy farmer assistant to apply IoT to food, in what it calls the “Internet of Food”. Its app, Ida, monitors cow behaviour and activity, and allows farmers to detect health issues in livestock to improve dairy farming and milk production. Using this data, farmers can make better decisions regarding fertility, breading, milk yield, and heat detection.
“Connecterra means ‘connected earth’ and we founded the company based on a simple thesis: if we could use technology to make sense of data from the natural world, then we could make a real impact in solving the pressing problems of our time”, explained Yasir Khokhar, founder of Connecterra.
Yasir Khokhar and Saad Ansari, founders of Connecterra, were featured on Google’s blog about the way they are applying machine learning to an unexpected field: dairy farming. It all started when Khokhar moved to a farm in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam.
“We had both spent many years working in the technology industry and realised that the dairy industry was a sector where technology could make a dramatic impact. For instance, we saw that the only difference between cows that produce 30 litres of milk a day and those that produce 10 litres was the animal’s health. We wondered—could technology make cows healthier, and in doing so, help farmers grow their businesses?”, Khokhar added.
This project has received a Phase 2 grant from the EIC SME Instrument program in 2018. The total Phase 2 grant amount is €1.7m.
Pollenity : Bee-Based Businesses
Bees play a huge role in maintaining the balance of nature. Food production, biodiversity and environmental sustainability all depend on them. InvestEU funding has helped Bulgarian company Bee Smart Technologies to develop a remote digital diagnostic and monitoring system for beekeeping. This enables beekeepers to breed more and healthier bees.
Company founder Sergey Petrov, an aerospace engineer, had never considered working with bees, but a conversation with some friends changed his life.
“It happened spontaneously. I asked them, ‘Do you know that bees are dying out?’ From there, things just started to happen. Surprisingly, this cause turned out to be so close to my heart as to get my full commitment,” he said.
#InvestEU represents some of the incredible initiatives and innovative projects that the European Union (EU) is supporting. The world’s first smart beekeeping sensor system costs €380,000 to develop, of which €210,000 was provided by the EU.