Indoor AgTech: Building the Next Generation of Grower
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Our next investment program focuses on technologies for indoor agriculture (“Indoor AgTech”).
As investors, we want to be a catalyst for building an ecosystem of technologies that, together, are more valuable than they are on their own. Indoor AgTech is one of the key technologies for this ecosystem to work.
About our Indoor AgTech Program
So, for that reason, our next startup scouting and due-diligence program targets international startups in the following areas as applied to a variety of crops (vegetables, herbs, cannabis, etc.):
Computer vision for indoor agriculture
Pest control applications
Automation of indoor growing and harvest processes
Plant data technologies
Workflow management for indoor agriculture
The program features an intense set of activities to analyze and evaluate participating startups, connect them with projects with indoor and greenhouse customers, and introduce them to an ecosystem of indoor AgTech investors and service providers.
Why We are Passionate About Indoor AgTech
One of the key reasons we do what we do at Sente is that we think technology can help solve some of the issues created by major forces in the world, such as climate change and urbanization. As the population increases and an ever-growing number of people move into the world’s cities, we need to think of new, more efficient, and resilient ways of growing food to feed everyone.
In addition, we are seeing a shift from animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins with an increasing amount of plant-based, practical uses of plants (such as CBD and other nutraceuticals, and cannabis for medical and recreational use). Experts expect indoor AgTech to be a $40B market by 2025. Combining this with the risks of climate change and unsustainable farming practices means that indoor agriculture is positioned to skyrocket and represent a more significant portion of grown crops.
Unlike outdoor agriculture, the indoor environment means you are less dependent on nature and can have better visibility and control of the variables. For this reason, we foresee a future that is “growing as a service.” With the right software and hardware infrastructure, you can ensure consistent, predictable yield, and quality of whatever you are growing indoors.
How We Are Investing in Indoor AgTech
For us, we started with our investment in the LED lighting company GrowRay Technologies, a full-spectrum lighting platform, since the quality of light is one of the main factors in crop yield. From there, growers have a physical infrastructure upon which other technologies can live (such as computer vision sensors). We are on our way to establishing an integrated, closed-loop data platform where we can make real-time decisions and small tweaks over time to optimize yield.