What is the elevator pitch you use for your startup?
Taking the 30-year pain out of mushroom harvesting.
What pain points are you trying to solve in agriculture?
The top three problems in fresh market mushroom production worldwide are labor, labor and labor. Harvesting labor accounts for half of the cost of production of button and cremini mushrooms. These mushrooms double in size every 24 hours and need to be picked when they are the largest they can get without opening their veils. The undesirable harvesting job (stinky, cold, damp, painful) is typically done twice a day, resulting in 10-20% lower yield and quality than what is possible if picked around the clock. Robotic harvesting solves both of these problems and opens the door for additional productivity improvements using Artificial Intelligence and inline process controls.
How did you get the idea to start your company?
Looking for tomato producers interested in robotic automation, our bored salesman went into a mushroom farm and asked if they needed robots.
What are your plans for the US market? Do you think you’ll have a presence in the midwest?
Half the mushrooms grown in the US are produced in Pennsylvania, with the remainder sprinkled about the country. We are actively selling our systems in Canada and the US and eventually, we will establish a presence where the most synergy can be achieved, potentially in the midwest.
If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?
This will revolutionize the mushroom industry, driving innovation and probably resulting in dramatic consolidation. The robots and robotenabled upstream and downstream automation using Artificial Intelligence can potentially double the productivity of farms, resulting in a significant reduction in the environmental footprint per pound of mushrooms produced. People do not want to do the job of harvesting mushrooms around the world and most jurisdictions import temporary foreign workers to do the job—not a sustainable model.
How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?
We have three early adopter growers engaged with us in our pilot testing program who collectively can consume over 1,000 robots. Our pilot testing is meeting its objectives and we look forward to orders in the near future. Industry gurus and our customers tell us that we have at least a two-year lead on the competition so we hope to ramp quickly and become the de facto industry standard in robotic mushroom harvesting.
Where do you see your company in 10 years?
An industry standard in optimized mushroom production worldwide.
This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?
Watch our robots work on Youtube and then tell all of your friends about how cool you think they are. Connect with us if you want to invest or purchase.
2960 Okanagan Ave E Salmon Arm, BC
V1E 1E6, Canada