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Meet The Latest Plug And Play Startups

In March 2020, Silicon Valley-headquartered innovation platform, Plug and Play, announced its newest location in Fargo. North Dakota.

Plug and Play itself is a global innovation platform with accelerator programs, corporate innovation services and in-house venture capital to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Found in 2006, Plug and Play has since spread to over 25 locations globally, giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in the ever-changing entrepreneurial sphere.

Under their existing Food & Beverage program, Plug and Play North Dakota is focused on agricultural technology and will run two, three-month programs a year. Startups accepted in the programs will have the oppurtunity tonot only work with the corporate partners (Bremer Bank, CHS, Microsoft Corp. and the OCP Group) but also will test their technology at the Grand Farm Test Site.

These are the most recent batch of startups accepted into the progam.

Arva Intelligence

The Arva Intelligence Elevator Pitch

Arva Intelligence delivers the most comprehensive data and AI platform to ag suppliers and trusted advisors to optimize profits and sustainability for their clients while increasing efficiency in the supply chain. We improve profits and reduce GHG emissions by 30%, eliminating waste, improving efficiency and matching products to environment.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

With what began as a lecture with a thousand acres wager, Arva was born from a collaboration between the Department of Energy, the University of Arkansas, and Glennoe farms to use machine learning technology to get more from our inputs and scale efficient and sustainable agriculture-while making growers and the supply chain more money in the process. Once we learned how to do that, quantifying carbon credits and GHG offsets became a natural outcome and we are generating new revenue streams with the data already there. Our team came together around a passion for this industry with the grit to tackle some of its biggest hurdles. We are scientists, executives, and inventors, but most importantly farmers ourselves, which keeps our technology grounded.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

For us, being a part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program feels like coming home. Matt Rohlik, Managing Director of Sales and Strategic Partnerships, is from Minnesota and worked in North Dakota at the beginning of precision ag. We are excited to bring our platform to the Midwest and provide integrated Al solutions and profitable decisions to the data we’ve been collecting for years.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

The more people that use our platform, the more powerful the machine learning engine driving it becomes. Globally, we could show why each plant did well or why it didn’t and what to change to reach peak potential, Even if only the growers in North Dakota participated, we would have unprecedented accuracy to match genetics to unique fields, deliver customized fertility prescriptions instantaneously and predict product performance for next year. On top of that, entirely new revenue streams are emerging in the ecosystem service marketplaces. Right now, carbon is getting all the attention, but it is just the beginning. By housing all your data in one platform, you can discover additional value in your fields, quantify sustainable impact and generate credits based on that without having to commit to a third-party program. It’s your data, your credits, your decisions.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

We are growers ourselves and set out to solve our most pressing questions: How do I get my data to work together? What seed do! choose? Where do I place it? What nutrition plan is best for unique fields? How can I get my reports faster? How can I predict next year’s edict next vearis.. results to plan more efficiently? How do I know that it is accurate? Arva is dedicated to benefit growers, because if it doesn’t work for them, it won’t work for us. We are proud to work with trusted advisors and suppliers as our clients, because they are trusted for a reasongrowers depend on them to help guide their operation to success, and they already collect the data our system needs to work. We designed our business plan so growers can get all the benefits of our technology without having to do anything more than they already are.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We never stop researching how to make our technology more effective on the ground level. That means continually pushing the limits of what Al is capable of in agriculture and getting our hands dirty in fields. Our cutting-edge research collaborations with the Department of Energy, ARPA-E, carbon registries, universities and national laboratories keep us thinking about the future and how we can create the most profitable and sustainable industry as a whole. For us, carbon entered the picture just this year, and our Carbon Ready program has become incredibly important. We didn’t expect that three years ago, and ten years in the future, we hope to provide the ag industry tools that we couldn’t even have imagined today.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

Some of us are Midwesterners born and raised, so we couldn’t be more excited to finally show what we’ve been working on to our neighbors back home. The growers in Upper Midwest are some of the most impressive in the country and have been leading innovation for 30 years. The biggest accomplishment we hope to achieve is simply to support the great work they’re already doing by making their jobs easier, making their plans more efficient, and making them more money.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Like many of you, we’ve heard nearly every sales pitch on the market from the start of precision ag. We’ve tried out many of them too, and some we gladly use on our personal farms. Also just like many of you, we want our results to speak for themselves. If you’re looking to gain an extra $25-100 per acre, speak to your local retailer about implementing Arva Intelligence on your farm.

Leaftech Ag

The Leaftech Ag Elevator Pitch

Leaftech Ag, Inc. offers a handheld ‘Digital Lab’ that geo-locates and analyzes a plant’s leaf for nutrient and chemical composition; delivering results that are 98% faster and 90% less expensive compared to current industry practices.

With faster analytic results the producer is able to apply the correct inputs, in the right amounts, at the optimal time and location, improving crop performance, reducing production cost and resulting in enhanced nutrient stewardship

How did you get the idea to start your company?

In working with precision technology for 20+ years I was fortunate to work with a nutrient delivery system that allows for targeted application of nutrients and soil enhancing amendments. Achieving yield improvements of 100%, with a reduction of input cost by 30%. One of the limiting factors to achieving crops production potential is the inability to gain plant-specific nutrient content in a timely fashion, including the 3-5 days it takes to receive lab analysis of a non-site-specific sample of the nutrient content of a plant. In our work with Purdue University, we identified a technology that allows for georeferenced plant-specific nutrient content identification that is comparable to lab analysis, but takes a fraction of the time to provide results. We formed this company to commercialize this technology for a broader adoption in both first and third world crop production.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

Being a part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Programs provides us with exposure and input about our product and allows for a 360 degree view of our company. The programs that we are participating in gives us an additional introduction to other industry initiatives like the NASA Off-World agriculture production needs, something we would not have been able to achieve otherwise.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?


Global usage of our product would reduce the over-application of nutrients with exponential improvement in crop production in both food and fiber. The universal use of our product would achieve a decrease in groundwater contamination, improving soil health and sustainability and increase of carbon sequestration.

ChrysaLabs

The ChrysaLabs Elevator Pitch

ChrysaLabs has developed a soil health and fertility assessment solution, supporting agronomists in making better decisions, faster.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

We are a group that’s passionate about the environment. Our first goal was to develop an autonomous robot for gardeners. Talking with growers, we sooner realized that soil is the backbone of agriculture and the building block for more sustainable practices. The ag space was transitioning towards digital practices, but soil assessment was far behind. We’ve decided to apply our R&D knowledge to the problem, and ChrysaLabs was born!

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

For ChrysaLabs, Plug and Play means networking in the ag community and being coached by subject matter experts.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

Our solution, at scale, will empower agronomists and growers in making decisions more profitable and more sustainable in regards to soil health and fertility. The way we do agriculture must change if we want to achieve the upcoming challenges, and soil conservation is key. The only way to improve is to monitor what’s going on and take action accordingly,

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

In an industry with tight margins, improving bottom lines is essential. Our technology primarily benefits growers with better yields and less money spent on fertilizer. We also support them in conserving their soil, an investment for their future.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We want to lead the space of soil sensing worldwide and pioneer the way for regenerative agriculture.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

Our main goal is to establish new business relationship in the US. Agriculture is an industry of proximity, so if we have a lot of clients in the upper midwest, we would probably need some staff there as well.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Agriculture shouldn’t be about guessworking the soil parameters. Our technology exists to support decision-making based on data. Sustainable and profitable agriculture starts with ChrysaLabs.

Rowbot Systems LLC

The Rowbot Systems LLC Elevator Pitch

We make robots to work in large-scale corn for Improving profitability and stewardship. We begin with in-season nitrogen application and cover crop seeding. We are uniquely positioned to collect actionable data (on the ground), some of which can be used to confirm sustainability outcomes. We will expand jobs in corn, and then other crops.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

My brother, who is a large-scale dairy farmer, and I wanted to make an impact on what is arguably the largest problem in Midwestern US ag: the leakage of nitrogen off the landscape, which undercuts profitability and stewardship. This led us to understand challenges facing growers to implement best practices for nitrogen management. Height of the crop is an ongoing constraint. Our between-row robotic platform removes the height of the crop from the equation.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

It is an exciting program that is helping push us to consider new business development ideas and options to accelerate our business forward.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

The amount of nitrogen fertilizer required would be reduced substantially-perhaps as high as 30-40%. This would have a profound impact on farmer profitability, It also would have a huge impact on water quality, as well as offsetting large amounts of carbon required in the manufacture of N fertilizer (as well as avoided nitrous oxide emissions from fields). The universal use of cover crops would improve soil health and has the potential to trap large amounts of carbon in the organic matter of croplands.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

We have worked with growers as early testing partners and customers.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We’d like to see our robots having a positive impact – on millions of acres in the US and beyond.

VegaMX

The VegaMX Elevator Pitch

Vega MX Inc, is AI, Big data, Machine learning, Analytics based business, using data from Satellites, UAV’s, and ground data, to develop Ag-tech applications for Precision Agriculture, and Agri- finance.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

We started the company to solve problems a farmer faces to have profitable Agriculture practices and connect to the financial institutions for his credit needs.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

It has been great opportunity to meet other startups, agricultural corporations and other Agriculture related business and their requirements.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, impact would that have?

Our products are in the initial stages of commercial application. But its impact will be the development of climate-resilient agricultural processes providing full transparency on land conditions, precision : water management, soil moisture status and weather forecasts.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

In different countries, we work differently. In North America, we work directly with farmers and with farmer producing companies (FPO) who are in turn connected to millions of Farmers. We also work with Agri corporations and Agri-Finance companies.

Where do you see your company in 10 vears?

We expect the company to have an international presence across the Americas, Africa and Asia.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

We expect to meet potential clients and potential investors.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Try our products that will provide transparency on all aspects of the climatic impact on your agriculture, hyper-local Weather forecasts, soil moisture, soil nutrients, crop health, and price transparency. We will also provide innovative solutions to Agri-Insurance, and Agri-Banking even when collateral is difficult to provide.

Chonex

The Chonex Elevator Pitch

TChonex offers a unique soil-regeneration product, StrongSoil, which has LIVE microbes, and solves multiple problems for growers and for the planet by restoring soil to health. For growers, it cuts the amount of chemical soil inputs thus saving time and money for crop maintenance and eliminating chemical waste runoff. StrongSoil also boosts yield, ROI and profitability. Improving soil health reduces risk by improving plant health, hardiness and nutrient density, Farmers using Chonex may also qualify for carbon credits because healthy soil sequesters more carbon dioxide, a positive outcome to reduce climate change.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

I became acquainted with Black Soldier Flies through consulting work with a group of farmers and academics that centered on their potential. The product idea is based on studies from Larry Newton who had written about recycling manures using Black Soldier Flies Black Soldier Flies have been around for about 66 million years and their larvae are voracious eaters. They’ve been feasting on manure Since the time of dinosaurs, Egg production results in tons of chicken manure each year and there is a great need for environmentallyfriendly processes to handle that waste, and Black Soldier Flies are up to the task. I knew that there were already many uses for chicken manure, but envisioned processing it using a highly controlled, closed, industrial system that offers several advantages, Pursuing that idea has resulted in the process we’ve developed and a product that is superior to others in terms of nutrient content, sanitary properties, and ease of handling.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

Chonex is a company created by people with deep experience in research, biological science and agriculture, who have worked with farmers for many years. While we are always learning, we alreadyunderstand farming and the challenges farmers face. We also understand that food production is the most essential industry in our world, and that current, conventional farming needs to improve to be sustainable. One of the biggest issues facing farmers in North Dakota and around the world is the loss of topsoil due to degradation, which stems from conventional farming practices such as tilling and relying on chemical inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.) to achieve maximum yields. While these practices have increased output, they are not sustainable. Our product, StrongSoil, is rooted in the most exquisite science that exists: nature. We believe that StrongSoil is a giant step forward in sustainable agriculture because it brings life back to soil and builds a healthy, sustainable ecosystem for farming. Being part of Plug and Play will give us the opportunity to demonstrate StrongSoil’s viability to farmers who really need it and link us to a network of startups with whom we can partner to further validate its benefits. Plug and Play’s North Dakota Ag Tech Program focuses on multiple areas directly related to achieving the optimal growing conditions: Soil Sensing and Analysis, Field Monitoring, Precision Farming, Analytics and Sustainability. StrongSoil is a product designed to create optimal growing conditions. Farmers who are adopting technology to improve their productivity and performance are the same farmers who will be interested in our product and who will immediately benefit from it.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

If StrongSoil by Chonex was already being used by everyone around the world, the impacts would be dramatic. Farmers’ yield increases would be enough to feed the world far into the future. Farmers would be more profitable because they would not be spending as much on chemical inputs. Topsoil would begin to be built instead of lost. Soil whose structure has been broken down would be rebuilt so that it retains moisture and sequesters carbon dioxide, positively contributing to the existential climate change crisis. Dead zones created by agricultural chemical runoff would heal, restoring life to waterways. Desertification in parts of the world could be reversed. The overall health of the planet would be better.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

Growers are essential to our business plan because they are our customers. In developing and improving our product, we partner with growers for field trials, working with them to assess results. We have primarily focused on measuring yields achieved by a control group compared to groups with multiple combinations of a StrongSoil application and variables such as standard and reduced irrigation, and standard and reduced fertilizer doses. We would like to expand our research to analyze soil structure and content, moisture retention and varying levels of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. We also seek input from growers for ease of use of our application method. In addition to growers, we partner with egg producers for one of our primary inputs, layer manure.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

In 10 years, I envision that we will have multiple product lines and production facilities. We will be a market leader in the soil health regeneration market. Our product will be helping farmers across the U.S.-from small family farms to huge industrial farms-to improve their soil’s health and transition from conventional agriculture to regenerative agriculture. We will be exploring international options and adapting our product to meet those needs.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play AgTech program, we hope to accomplish three things. First, we want to collaborate with other great companies and thought leaders in the AgTech space who can help us improve and refine our product, and with whom we can partner to offer solutions. Second, the program allows us to test our products in the area to validate the increase in and benefits of the microbial activity we add to the soil. Third, we want exposure to and interaction with growers in the area to understand their unique challenges so as to better provide solutions and develop messaging that resonates with their needs.

We started in the South because that’s where we are, but we view the entire U.S. as our market and row crop growers as our primary target, although our product can benefit all growers, including organic growers and specialty crops. We can definitely see ourselves expanding production into the Upper Midwest states

Nutrient Recovery & Upcycling LLC

The Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling Elevator Pitch

Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling (NRU) recovers resources from wastewater such as nitrogen and phosphorus to produce high-grade fertilizers. Doing so protects our waterways and gives farmers a renewable and sustainable alternative to mined fertilizer products.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

We saw the opportunity to recover phosphorus from wastewater in 2002 when we found out that struvite, a magnesium ammonium phosphate mineral, was clogging pipes at wastewater treatment plants. With our soil and plant nutrition background, we knew that struite was also a good fertilizer. Then in 2007, we discovered that brushite, a calcium phosphate mineral that is also a good fertilizer, could more efficiently be recovered than struvite so we shifted our focus and developed a technology to produce and extract brushite. The rest was a very long process of validating the technology and producing our first sellable fertilizer product.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

The Plug and Play Agtech program has been a great learning experience through the entrepreneurship training and all the introductions with their agricultural partners. It’s allowing us to move on to the next step in scaling our company, technology and product.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

We would see significantly fewer algae blooms and dead zones in the waterways and water bodies globally. There would be a more efficient use of our resources which would require less mining.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

We are talking to fertilizer distributors and farmers to find a way to best demonstrate, sell and scale the brushite and struite fertilizers.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We see our company as a major player in the world of water purification and resource recovery. Our team is eager to keep building and scaling technologies that recovery phosphorus and nitrogen from waste streams.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Resource recovery from wastewater is a key aspect of sustainability and preserving our waterways while also producing valuable upcycled fertilizers such as SteadyState brushite and struvite which can meet and exceed the quality of commonly used products.

Agrellus

The Agrellus Elevator Pitch

Agrellus is where American farmers engage with trusted local retailers to access extreme value and the most comprehensive inventory of agricultural inputs, every hour of every day.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

After the growing season in 2016, the co-founders of Agrellus began to envision a better and more profitable way to engage B2B engagement in the agricultural inputs industry. Their aim was to sustain farming excellence, in the local community and utilize digital transformation to advance the farming lifestyle. The Agrellus Marketplace model was bom and a company was formed to carry out that mission.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

North Dakota is a remarkably diverse agricultural state providing America with a wide range of outputs throughout the year. Agrellus is honored to be working close with Retailers and Growers to achieve the highest value at the farm.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

The efficiency and immediate results with the Agrellus Marketplace go right to the bottom line. The Agrellus features serve the grower with the most advanced input technology while delivering the best overall value. The retailer benefits by providing accurate products and substituting where needed, while getting payment almost immediately optimizing profits and lowering accounts receivable.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

Growers are the core beneficiaries of the Agrellus Marketplace. Because Agrellus is never a competitive retailer, it provides the grower with certified retailers within the community. This keeps business local and products close to the grower when and where they are needed most Growers experience the convenience and benefits of the marketplace immediately.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We strive to inspire the future of farming in the community, by keeping commerce local and supporting a great place to live. Our mission is about encouraging the farming lifestyle, by remembering the family farm, supporting education for generations, and increasing the value of land. So, we relentlessly look for ways to maximize long-term solutions, in the community, to sustain and improve farming equity. Agrellus is intent on proving our commitment to the entire farming family on a daily basis, with results for years to come!

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

Agriculture and technology integration has really just begun in earnest. Digital transformation for the farm is more about practical communication, education and sustaining a lifestyle. Complexity should give way to time savings and less cost, while resulting in better outputs. Agrellus is about helping digital transformation become meaningful, by assisting efficient cost practices, lending, and the utilization of “green” data for the benefit of the grower. Agrellus is expanding into the University programs in North Dakota, as well as certifying some of the best Retailers in the community on the Agrellus Platform.

Rize

The Rize Elevator Pitch

Rize is the first platform for climate finance in agriculture, enabling – farmers to easily drive and finance their climate action.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

We were looking for an angle to help solve climate change when we realized that agriculture was contributing to 25% of worldwide greenhouse gases emissions and that too few solutions existed to support farmers in their transition. With a couple of tech ideas and some knowledge of carbon finance, we quickly connected the dots.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

The Plug and Play North Dakota Agtech program is great to expand our horizons, we are originally from Europe and meet leading ag.companies and agtech thinkers.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

If every farmer was using our solution, it would mean that all of them would be engaged in their transition towards regenerative and low carbon agriculture, significantly contributing to the world’s fight against climate change.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

Growers are usually advised and supported in their transition by our network of agronomic advisors and connected to us via our platform. They can alternatively onboard directly on our platform.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

In 10 years, Rize will be one of the leading carbon finance platforms in agriculture worldwide, helping many farmers to design their unique “Sustainable pathway, and financing their projects for their environmental performance.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

We are looking to expand our operations in several regions of the US soon, which requires some R&D beforehand to built an adequate carbon monitoring infrastructure.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

If they want to embark on a transition to regenerative agriculture and finance their climate action through a very accessible platform, Rize will launch soon in the US.

Soilytics

The Soilytics Elevator Pitch

PDMI’s cutting-edge technology provides accurate and scalable soil testing solutions that enable growers to optimize crop yields, reduce input costs, and improve soil health-resulting in healthier food and a healthier planet.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

As a 9th generation farmer, I realized that we were making fertilizer input decisions that didn’t have enough data points to be accurate because of the cost of testing

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?

Our scientific method decreases inputs by a minimum of 15% while increasing yields by a minimum of 1396, increasing farmer’s profits while protecting the environment.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

Growers and farmers are at the heart of our business. We primarily market to their trusted advisors: agronomists, Ag Retailers, CCA’s and agronomic service providers to increase market penetration.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We see ourselves as a primary platform for soil diagnostics and recommendation with a global impact on nutrient inputs that affect farmer profits, environmental stewardship and increased nutrient value of food through soil health.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

We are working towards establishing a lab for increased research and development and providing commercial services to the Upper Midwest region of the US.

FungiAlert/Fa Bio

The Fungi Alert/Fa Bio Elevator Pitch

Fungi Alert, soon to become Fa Bio, is a creative and curious entrepreneurial business focused on increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability. We are leading the way in discovering and developing superior microbial biofungicides and biofertilisers. Our unique targeted microbial sampling strategy allows us to collect data and microbial isolates from agricultural fields to build a database of the soil microbial community with the potential to become microbial products that can replace or enhance the activity of agrochemical inputs

How did you get the idea to start your company?

FungiAlert was founded in 2015 with the mission of developing tools to support sustainable agriculture and revolutionize disease management practices through the early detection of soil pathogens. Today, our mission with Fa Bio is to help minimize agriculture’s environmental impact whilst sustainably increasing crop productivity by carrying out skilled microbiological and biochemical experiments to study microbial activity and develop microbial bioproducts. We are focused on discovering sustainable farming solutions that can restore the biodiversity of degraded soils and enhance or replace the activity of agrochemical inputs.

Founded and led by Dr. Angela de Manzanos Guinot and Dr. Kerry O’Donnelly Weaver who met and began the development of FungiAlert whilst completing their Ph.D. studies at Imperial College London. Since winning three entrepreneurial competitions at Imperial College in 2015 with their Spor Senz, the device for the early detection of plant pathogens in fields, Angela and Kerry have been focused on increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability with the aim of applying their skills to find innovative ways to solve the challenges farmers are facing.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

Being a European company, participating in Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program is giving us great networking opportunities, visibility and extremely useful information about how to step into the US agtech landscape. Also, it offers collaboration opportunities with key agricultural stakeholders that otherwise we would have been unable to access. The Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program is definitely an Rize 1500px-Etienne Variot.png.

Since the Green Revolution which started in the 60s, crop yields have massively increased but at a cost to the global environment. The Earth has lost 1/3 of arable land in the past 40 years but it takes 500 years to create just an inch of topsoil. FA Bio is focused on increasing crop yields using revolutionary soil and water microbial analyses facilitated by innovative technology to discover unique microbes that can help increase crop yields and soil health. With Fa BioLab we study the soil microbial community to develop superior and targeted biofungicides and biofertilizers that can restore the biodiversity of degraded soils, reduce agricultures C footprint and more importantly help growers produce more.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

FA BioLab partners with growers to study soil microbial communities using our proprietary technology, Spor Senz. The Spor Senz is a unique and innovative tool for the discovery and collection of new superior soil microbes, capturing active and dominant microbes interacting with the crop roots. Studies by FA BioLab are harnessing nature’s microbial response to different environments, which is something not possible using traditional methods.

Our SporSenZ technology has been commercialized since 2018, under the Fungi Alert brand, as a soil microbial analysis tool for growers Over 1600 SporSenz samplers have been deployed around the world in all types of crops including pasture, cereals, broad acreage,.. speciality crops and hydroponics. FA BioLab, previously FungiAlert, has demonstrated that the Spor SenZ sensor facilitates an understanding of the microbial community which helps key agronomy decisions and allows FA BioAg to discover new improved microbial active ingredients for agricultural products.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

We want to have a global understanding of the key soil microbial communities, by working with growers from all types of crops worldwide. This knowledge will facilitate the adoption of practices that can enhance soil biodiversity and reduce soil degradation.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

We hope to carry out a project with growers and stakeholders in North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest to study the soil microbial communities. These studies will open the door to find sustainable microbial fertilizers and fungicides that are designed for their needs and will work effectively in their fields.

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Are you a curious grower, agronomist or researcher who would like to understand more about soil microbial communities? If so, get in touch with us at info@fungialert.com.

Soiltech Wireless

The Soiltech Wireless Elevator Pitch

Soiltech Wireless provides a complete farm management solution providing insights from seed to storage to help farmers increase yields and operational efficiencies.

How did you get the idea to start your company?

I met with many growers and consultants who told me that they would drive to every field, every day-so they could pick up the soil to judge whether their crop needed water. I wanted to build a solution that would give them the ability to monitor their fields remotely-in a cost-effective and easy to action way. The Soiltech solution then evolved beyond just a moisture sensor to become a multi-functional system thanks to the farmers who we worked with from day I to build the product.

What does it mean to be part of Plug and Play’s North Dakota Agtech Program?

Agriculture is critical to every human on the planet-yet it does not get the attention it deserves from technical innovators. The Plug and Play North Dakota Agtech Program is providing a much needed focushelping to stimulate developments in agriculture technology that can have a global impact. It is an honor to be a small part of these efforts.

If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what, impact would that have?

More efficient water usage, less food waste and a reduction in inputs. This translates to more food for consumers, more profits for farmers-a sustainability win-win.

How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?

e are a grower first company. Growers helped build the Soiltech solution, growers invested in the Soiltech solution and growers are those we want to serve first. Soiltech can absolutely help drive wider Sustainability initiatives and deliver value across the whole agriculture supply chain-for processors, input providers, researchers, logistics companies and consumers. But to help the whole supply chain, we have to help growers first.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

Being a company that growers trust to deliver the technology that they need.

North Dakota, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest are embracing Agtech like never before. By participating in the North Dakota Plug and Play Agtech program, what do you hope to accomplish? Have you considered expanding your operations in the upper midwest?

Not only have we considered expanding our operations in the upper midwest-we are actually in the process of doing so. There is of course great business potential there. But, more important than that is the community. A community that has warmly welcomed us and a community that is open to innovation and is hungry to help foster development

This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?

Soiltech Wireless is a farmer first company that listens-so please tell us how we can help you and your operations with technology and we will do our best to develop and deliver.

What do you think?

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