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WWF International Preseident Pavan Sukhdev kicks off the summit with his keynote in London.

A startup cheat-sheet for London’s World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit

October 15, 2019

If you have been hurriedly using the last few weeks to prepare for London’s Future Food Tech summit by carefully reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading this 18-startup food tech cheat sheet, then here’s some more good news: there’s also this one which we’ve had stuffed in our back pocket for the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit this week in London.

The cheat-sheet below comprises 14 international agri-tech start-ups that will present their tech at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in London on October 15-16; they come with a special seal of approval from the organizers, the Brighton-based Rethink Events. Like the other cheat-sheet AFN got from them, these are not award winners, at least not yet; but they are an agtech startup list that Rethink reckons is worth looking out for, like interesting new music albums that might hit the big time.

Call them the Rethink 14, kind of like Ocean’s 11 or 12, but more innovative. They range from crop protection that harnesses the power of amoeba, to precision-guided insect technologies to eliminate non-organic pesticides; from bee vaccines, to early warning sensors to protect hive health. Also showcased are the latest in precision agricultural platforms to monitor crop growing cycles, livestock location or water ecosystems, and soil or leaf analysis tools to optimise crop-specific plant nutrition.

You’ll find many of them showing off their bags of tricks at the various Technology Showcase pitching sessions, or prowling round the TechHub networking area, hunting down investors, corporates or collaborators.

This year, Barclays’ Eagle Labs has been unveiled as the Innovation Partner and sponsor of the TechHub area for start-ups — so don’t be too surprised to see their merchandise draped all over the shop. “Together,” says Roxanne Martin, Eagle Labs AgriTech Innovation Lead for Barclays, “we can leverage our networks and specialist partners to position them at the front of new technology adoption, advancing the future of agriculture.”

But that’s enough from Barclay’s, at least for now: AFN has been talking to Mark Suthern, head of Agriculture at the British banking behemoth, ahead of the event, and expect a summary of his views on the UK agtech ecosystem over the next few weeks. But without further ado, back to the Rethink 14.

The Rethink 14

Agragene (US) commercialises eco-friendly products using CRISPR-based genome engineering. The company has developed TransDominant technology for hybrid seed production platforms and Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology to target crop pests. Agragene has created Knock-Out, a sterile male spotted wing drosophila which eliminates non-organic pesticide use in berries and stone fruits. The product reduces pesticide residues in multiple food crops and is cheaper for growers, non-toxic to farm workers and consumers, and completely safe for beneficial organisms.

AmebaGone (US) is fighting persistent bacterial infections of crops using the natural predatory power of microorganisms called Dictyostelid amoeba (Dicty). Its biological approach relies on the bacterivorous nature of Dicty and their ability to penetrate and disperse bacterial biofilms while leaving the plant surface unharmed and safe to eat. With over 3,000 Dicty strains collected from diverse geographic and climactic regions, AmebaGone can select Dicty that is ideally suited to diverse growing and storage environments.

ApisProtect (Ireland) brings the power of  sensors and machine learning technology into the hive to deliver a 24/7 early warning system; beekeepers can use this system to target at-risk hives, giving them immediate attention when needed, and improve bee health. Combining the sensor data on hive conditions, health and activity levels with its proprietary big data and machine learning techniques, ApisProtect gives beekeepers actionable insights and alerts to help prevent losses and increase colony productivity.

Dalan Animal Health (US) is a developer of vaccine technologies that protects the world’s honey bees from devastating diseases and secures access to safe and affordable foods for the future. Multiple factors, including increasing prevalence of disease, is contributing to the rapid decline in bee populations worldwide. Dalan’s environmentally friendly approach aims to ensure the sustained performance necessary for crop pollination and high-quality honey production.

Elemental Digest (UK) works with abattoirs to intercept and extract additional edible beef extract (protein) and dripping (fat) from fresh bone and meat trim. It then utilises the remaining bone mineral and other organic by-products for conversion into a sustainable organo-mineral fertiliser using by-products to produce a carbon and mineral rich homogenous product. The company’s globally patented process underpins a much-needed transition to domestic fertiliser and food security, soil regeneration, renewable energy, nutrient recovery and sustainable food sources; while creating a circular model that builds economic, natural and social capital.

Evologic Technologies (Austria) has developed a bioreactor design, allowing the production of high-quality AMF spores at low cost. This novel large-scale production process for AMF allows an unprecedented pricing strategy for AMF-coated crop seeds. These coated seeds will permit AMF usage at an economically attractive cost-benefit ratio for the farmer.

Farmbot Monitoring Solutions (Australia) – is a leading Australian agtech company in the Internet of Things (IoT) of Agriculture. The company monitors and reports on farm water ecosystems delivering near real time reporting on water trends, consumption and alerts. As water is the lifeblood of all agricultural endeavours, a detailed understanding of its usage helps farmers make better management decisions around asset utilisation, resource allocations and carrying capacities. Farmbot is rapidly expanding and is interested to meet interested investors and collaborators.

GeoPard Agriculture (Germany) is an innovative precision agriculture platform that delivers comprehensive field profile and automatically creates management zones maps for almost any field operation such as: soil sampling, seeding, fertilising, irrigation, herbicides and fungicide spraying. The start-up aims to simplify the complexity of precision farming and provides the ultimate view of any spot of agricultural land globally.

Hiber (The Netherlands) – is a satellite operator built for IoT applications. Its mission is to bring easy, affordable IoT connectivity to everyone on the planet. Imagine being able to monitor soil conditions, to track cattle and know how crop storage is doing – worldwide, no matter the location. Hiber enables this through its own nanosatellite constellation.

MapMyApple (Serbia/USA) provides apple growers with agronomist knowledge through accessible daily growing plans, to achieve higher yield and efficient apple growing.

Ploovium (Italy) Soonapse is a start-up company with experience in DSS creation, using AI and Machine Learning. Its most recent application is Ploovium, a solution for precision irrigation which predicts the hydric behaviour of each soil five days in advance with an average accuracy above 99%.

Skudu (South Africa) has created a technology that converts laboratory analysis of either a soil or leaf sample into a detailed, crop-specific plant nutrition solution, more accurately and rapidly than humanly possible. The company claims to be the very first to know the exact fertilizer requirement of the farmer. This knowledge provides advantages and cost-saving opportunities for any fertilizer supplier wishing to serve this need, the company says.

Soiltech Wireless (Taiwan) aims to deliver real-time, actionable information to help agriculture professionals increase yields and crop quality whilst lowering costs and reducing inputs. The Soiltech sensor measures moisture, temperature, humidity and bruising, which is wirelessly transmitted to users for analysis and decision making – during the growth, storage and transportation of crops.

Stenon (Germany) has developed an integrated hardware and software solution for real time soil analysis. Through its technology, extraction-free soil readings can be performed directly in the field in seconds, while maintaining the level of accuracy derived from laboratory results. Real time soil analysis is a difficult proposition that Stenon is trying to solve through the combination of sensor-fusion technology and machine learning. Based on the measurements, recommendations are given for optimal cultivation.


Are you at the summit? What are your takeaways so far? Drop me a note at [email protected]

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