Indoor farming AI startup boost from Dutch chemicals firm

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Dutch speciality chemicals giant Nouryon has invested in AgEye Technologies to support its automation platform for indoor farming.

The platform uses artificial intelligence to turn visual inputs from cameras into insights into the crop growth development and then enable autonomous actions to improve the efficiency of the farm.

AgEye in Raleigh, North Carolina, is part of Nvidia’s AI Inception startup programme and uses machine learning for precision farming to create an intelligent indoor farming platform that maximizes plant growth rate, development, morphology, physiology, and ultimately improvement of crop yield, phytochemical content, and flavour.

The value of the investment was not disclosed but AgEye raised a seed round of $500,000 in October.

Indoor farms rely on LED lights tuned to the particular plants and ideally powered by renewable energy, with hydroponics or aeroponics to produce food in factories or shipping containers.

Many startups are competing to develop more indoor and smart farming technologies to boost food production as soil quality deteriorates.

Nouryon produces a range of polymers, fertilisers and weed killers and says it in crop protection and crop nutrition to the collaboration to optimise indoor growing at scale for growers.

“We are very pleased to partner with Nouryon – they have an extensive global reach in serving fertigation and hydroponics applications with micronutrients and specialty fertilizers and we share a vision of advancing the sustainability of indoor farming,” said Nick Genty, Co-Founder and CEO of AgEye. “We look forward to collaborating and supporting the rapidly growing market of indoor farming.”

Nouryon is also a strategic partner in Icos Capital Fund III which invests in innovative scale-ups developing sustainable technologies in the chemical and food sectors. 

“The AgEye platform’s ability to rapidly identify localized growth irregularities and implement corrective actions is an excellent complement to Nouryon’s crop nutrition and crop protection product portfolio,” said Ignacio Garin, Vice President, Agriculture and Food at Nouryon. “We look forward to collaborating closely with AGEYE to accelerate the development of this revolutionary technology and offer our customers the next generation of solutions in the indoor farming sector.”

“At Nouryon, we are constantly assessing investment opportunities in emerging and sustainable technologies that have the potential to become a disruptive force in our key end-markets including Agriculture and Food, Home and Personal Care, and Paints and Coatings,” said Rajeev Rao, Nouryon Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. “AgEye’s next-generation digital platform has the potential to transform indoor farming.”;




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