Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the agriculture industry. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we decided to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising Controlled Environment Agriculture Startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Controlled Environment Startups
For our 5 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 interesting examples out of 260 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Letcetra Agritech – Hydroponics
A growing global population and unprecedented natural events have put severe pressure on arable agricultural lands. Farmers are unable to maintain the quality of the topsoil which is vital for growing healthy crops. It is no wonder then, that agriculture is looking to go indoors where the climate can be controlled and the crop can grow without the need for soil. Hydroponics involves growing plants with water and nutrient solutions.
Indian startup Letcetra Agritech aims to provide pesticide-free food at affordable prices by using hydroponics to grow crops. They offer cultivation of crops as a service along with turnkey solutions for unproductive spaces. Indoor hydroponic systems utilize a lot less water than outdoor cultivation, saving valuable resources. Yields are higher and the crops are healthier. The controlled environment significantly reduces any risk of disease for the crops.
Ponics Technologies – Aeroponics
The ability to control the environment indoors has given rise to numerous techniques to cultivate plants without soil. Aeroponics uses just air, or a mist environment, to grow plants. It does not require soil or any other aggregate medium.
Russian startup Ponics Technologies grows crops by spraying the plant’s dangling roots and lower stem with a nutrient-rich water solution. The leaves and crown, often called the canopy, extend above and the roots of the plant are separated by the plant support structure. They offer two aeroponic growing systems, H-type multi-layered for growing greens and herbs and L type single-tier systems for growing tomatoes, cucumbers or strawberries.
Fusion Farms – Aquaponics
Indoor farming is by no means restricted to only growing plants. Fish, or aquaculture, has great potential in agriculture because of controlled environments. The strain on both freshwater and sea-based fish, their habitat, and ecosystems have forced companies to think of better ways to farm for fish. Aquaponics is a symbiotic relationship between two entities: growing plants with hydroponics and breeding fish with the same water flowing between the two tanks. Fish produce natural fertilizers that are absorbed and carried by the water. Entire ecosystems can be recreated with such technologies.
Puerto Rico-based startup Fusion Farms develops advanced, sustainable methods of producing seafood and produce, in a closed-loop indoor vertical farm, creating a natural nutrient solution delivered through water. Their system provides fresh, healthy, nutrient-rich produce all year long, with daily harvests.
Farmer’s Cut – Dryponics
While indoor vertical farms commonly use hydroponic systems, even further optimization is available in the form of aeroponics. Using less water during cultivation is always a benefit, opening up more real-estate options for growing crops. This novel method of agriculture also makes it easy to harvest and sell the crops before they turn stale.
German startup Farmer’s Cut develops a climate-controlled and fully automated dryponics system to grow plants. They use a proprietary growth substrate which keeps the roots dry. The root system stays on top of the substrate while absorbing the nutrients in the water. They have the capability for growing herbs, baby greens, and even small fruits and vegetables.
Sprout Stack – Indoor Farming
Despite many innovations, soil is still the most widely used medium for growing crops. Several companies have been trying to achieve the most ideal conditions for the soil or its alternatives such as coco coir to produce healthy crops. Fully controlled indoor environments keep the soil healthy and monitoring systems constantly assess the soil for disease and nutrient loss.
Australian startup Sprout Stack produces fresh leafy greens using an indoor farming system. The system is fully automated, growing 10-15 crop varieties out of recycled shipping containers, which are fitted with NFT-hybrid hydroponic systems, HVAC climate control, and LED lights. The startup has developed proprietary “Growth Algorithms” by which crops are automatically provided with precisely the correct amount of irrigation, nutrients, and light needed for each life stage of each plant – making the operation about 95% more water-efficient and 80% more nutrient efficient than traditional farming.
What About The Other 255 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 5 startups showcased above are promising examples out of 260 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.