Smart Agro Fund
There is a ton of agricultural innovation in Israel. Whether it is precise genetics, targeted pesticides, indoor farming, robotics, precision irrigation, data management or supply chain management, Israeli companies are working hard to relieve the world of its current food insecurity.
This podcast discusses issues such as:
- How does precise genetics accelerate the breeding of seeds?
- Are organic pesticides overrated?
- How sensitive is indoor farming to prices of electricity and availability of water? How scalable is indoor farming?
- How can technology reduce food wastage?
- Who increasingly owns data generated by farmers? The farmers or the manufacturers of farming machinery?
- How exact is precision irrigation in terms of optimizing the time at which irrigation occurs?
Among the fascinating Israeli AgTech companies mentioned are Agritask, Agurra, BeeHero, BetterSeeds, FruitSpec, Plantish, Supplant and Weedout.
Dganit Vered, CEO, Smart Agro Fund
Dganit was a Venture Partner at Entrée Capital, managing the AgriTech and FoodTech investments. Dganit’s prior experience extends from VP R&D to CEO roles in numerous companies such as Perrigo, Hazera and Nobactra. She started her journey in semiconductors with Intel and in her last position she was Israel Fabs CS site manager. Dganit holds a BSc in chemical engineering from the Technion.
00:00:59 – We are usually followers. We were leaders in one round, but usually we’re followers.
So, we currently, invest between half a million to 2000000$ in a round.
We are usually followers. We were leaders in one round, but usually we’re followers.
We have 6 portfolio companies and it varies from cdrom to siram because I’m less. Is sensitive to the stage and more sensitive to the ability of the company to become a 1000000 dollar one billion dollar.
Company that is kind of the vision we’re aligning to.
00:09:48 – We are very involved in the investor connecting to customers.
We work with all the companies very closely whether we are on the board or not.
We are very involved in the investor connecting to customers, connecting to corporate, connecting to the industry or even sitting with the CEO and talking about how do we start the customer success operations for the company and how do you maintain your, you know your customer support for one company and the other company is working with the VP R and D on how.
00:28:23 – So if you want to get a steady and trade like drought resistance for example…
When we look at the problems of the world, there are seed companies that are working to solve those problems. Through traditional breeding, that means the crossing and selection process and so on.
The breathing is a very long process because you need to build generations of the plants and so on.
So if you want to get a steady and trade like drought resistance for example or certain disease resistance on a plan and you are able to find the gene through gene editing, you are able to gain that trade very fast and stabilize it in the plan.
00:34:47 – It caused some health problems to the farmers and today you can see that…
I think that brings the risk in for example you saw that the problem of Roundup Roundup.
It caused damage. They had to use it because the seeds were resistant to this herbicide.
That was a trait that they went for and they actually, I’m not sure that I think it’s still in court.
It caused some health problems to the farmers and today you can see that the some of the plants developed resistance to these tests.
So you have super weed attacking a lot of areas in North America. So things like that are causing significant problems and there are companies working to solve that through other means.
00:40:16 – Some of the solutions out there are very broad treatment of problems …
We are still looking for investment by the way, in this area.
And the reason we put it as a target is really because we believe that the soil restoration, for example, is something that is needed and you want to be very specific in how you attack diseases.
Some of the solutions out there are very broad treatment of problems and if you come and become very precise either in the way you spray, for example, there is a green eye today that you’re doing precision spraying on the enable to see.
Very early detection of, green over green in the spring. It saves a lot of inputs and it’s the amount of you know, pesticides you need to apply is becoming very low.
00:48:46 – It’s a, it’s a sweet point for solving that Europe now with the energy cost going over the roof.
Energy cost is low and water cost is high.
It’s a, it’s a sweet point for solving that Europe now with the energy cost going over the roof, probably not the best solution because it does have energy requirements.
And the solar in Europe is not like the best solution for alternative energy.
I also think that if you’re looking at the solar panels to operate something like that, it can help, but it will not be able to fully support this kind of activity.
So you will need to find other alternative for energy to operate farms like that.
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