seedalive, a pioneering agTech startup from RootCamp Batch #4, has harnessed the power of technology and biology to revolutionize seed quality testing. Based in Osnabrück, Germany, the startup has developed a new, efficient, and reproducible method to predict the germination of plant seeds. seedalive founder Jens Varnskühler shares insights about the product and vision in this interview.
Recent posts by Linh Pham
4 min read
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
4 min read
With a steadfast purpose to combat the pressing challenge of marine ingredient scarcity, Aquanzo has embarked on a transformative mission to reimagine the cultivation and utilization of marine zooplankton. Last month, the Scotland-based startup, which aims to farm Artemia in land-based systems for the aquafeed market, secured a €1.4 million funding boost to enhance their production capabilities. Artemia, commonly known as brine shrimp, are crucial for providing essential nutrition in aquaculture.
The startup believes the solution to supporting aquaculture is to farm artemia In this interview, we unravel the layers of Aquanzo's pioneering methodology, delving into their tech-infused solutions.
The startup was founded in 2022 and consists of an interdisciplinary team. Photo: Aquanzo
Describe the problem you are addressing with Aquanzo.
Aquanzo was founded with the goal of tackling the pressing issue of marine ingredient scarcity, particularly in relation to fishmeal used in animal feed production. We recognized that the traditional reliance on marine sources for these ingredients is unsustainable due to overfishing and environmental concerns. This scarcity of marine ingredients poses a significant challenge to the animal agriculture industry, which heavily depends on these resources for optimal animal nutrition.
Our innovative solution involves the development of cutting-edge technologies to cultivate marine zooplankton in a controlled, land-based environment at a large scale. By harnessing the power of agricultural byproducts, we're able to create a closed-loop system that not only addresses the scarcity issue but also contributes to the efficient utilization of existing resources. This approach aligns perfectly with the principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship, as it minimizes the strain on marine ecosystems while maximizing the potential for nutrient recycling.
How does Aquanzo's land-based zooplankton farming work, and what techniques ensure high production and environmental sustainability?
By developing a tailored farming system to grow small marine zooplankton (artemia is less than 1 cm long) at high density, we can transform agricultural byproducts, such as ricebran, into high-value animal marine ingredients with unique taste and smell enabling modern aquaculture diets to use high incorporation of cheaper but less attractive ingredients to perform better. These byproducts, which would otherwise go to waste, are transformed into high-value marine ingredients through our tailored farming system. Our mission is to domesticate and farm artemia as a feed, at low environmental footprint, for optimal fish and shrimp nutrition and help make the aquaculture industry more sustainable.
What are some challenges you have faced in developing and scaling up the farming of zooplankton?
One of the primary hurdles has been the intricate task of honing the product-market fit to ensure optimal alignment with the most critical needs of our target customers. This involves deeply understanding the core "jobs-to-be-done" within the aquafeed industry and tailoring our offering to address these pivotal pain points effectively. As we strive to meet the growing demand for sustainable marine ingredients, we must fine-tune our production system to ensure consistent, high-quality yields. Achieving this balance while maintaining environmental sustainability requires innovative engineering, precise control over cultivation conditions, and the integration of advanced automation technologies.
How does Aquanzo engage with stakeholders within the aquaculture industry?
Aquanzo actively engages with stakeholders across the entire aquaculture industry and the environmental conservation community, fostering collaborative efforts to promote sustainable practices and responsible marine protein farming. We are in contact with stakeholders at all levels of the value chain, from agricultural byproduct producers to aquafeed companies, fish farmers, fish processors and retailers. The feedback is very encouraging, and the appeal to conserving (or improving) marine ingredients' uniqueness for animal nutrition while reducing the environmental impact is attracting interest from most downstream groups.
We have set up a laboratory at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh with a recirculating aquaculture system that can produce Artemia biomass that is dried, ground into powder and used for in vivo testing on fish and chickens.
Why did you apply for the RootCamp startup program?
We applied for the RootCamp startup programbecause it stands out as a lead accelerator in the EU AgriTech landscape. Recognizing the significance of aligning with top-tier programs, we sought to integrate RootCamp to elevate Aquanzo's growth trajectory with a high-quality and impactful platform. You can get to know us and our technology at the RootCamp Demo Day. We are happy to engage in an exchange with the AgTech community in Hanover.
As we eagerly anticipate their participation in the upcoming RootCamp Demo Day (register here) on August 30th, the broader AgTech community can look forward to engaging with Aquanzo's vision and learning from their journey toward a more sustainable aquaculture future.
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
4 min read
Berlin-based startup Cultimate Foods sees the future in hybrid meat substitutes. The founders are developing a breakthrough ingredient based on cell-grown fatty tissue that will be used to create hybrid meat products. The startup raised 700 thousand euros in funding last year led by Big Idea Ventures, ProVeg International and Realum.cloud and launched its own laboratory in Göttingen (Germany). In this interview, founder Eugenia Sagué delves into the concept of hybrid meat and its benefits for agriculture.
Describe for our readers your hybrid approach towards cultured fat.
Culminate Foods is a biotech company that utilizes state-of-the-art cell culture technologies to produce animal cell-cultivated fat without the use of animals. Our cell-cultivated fat will be sold as a B2B ingredient to manufacturers of alternative meat, enhancing the taste and juiciness of their products. Fat is the primary determinant of a food's flavor, taste, nutrition, and even texture. Its quantity correlates with consumer preference and product quality. By incorporating our ingredient, alternative meat producers can elevate their creations in terms of taste, flavor, and mouthfeel. Additionally, our cell-cultured fat is a versatile technology that can be applied across various food types.
Culminate creates a game-changing cultivated fat technology to provide alternative meats with authentic taste and texture.
We firmly believe that by contributing to the improvement of alternative meat products, we can reduce the reliance on animals and mitigate climate change. Since the science required for fully cultivated meat as an accessible product is still years away, the initial impactful products will be "hybrids," combining plant-based proteins with cultivated ingredients. A cultivated fat product like ours will enhance the popularity of plant-based items by bridging the taste gap and laying the foundation for the future of cultivated meat.
What are the key benefits of cultivated meat compared to traditional animal farming in terms of animal welfare, public health, and global food security?
Cultivated meat production requires fewer resources than traditional livestock farming, including land, water, and feed. As a result, it holds the potential to mitigate its negative impacts by generating lower greenhouse gas emissions, thereby addressing climate change. By directly producing meat from cells, cultured meat also has the capacity to significantly reduce animal suffering. Production occurs within controlled environments, which could minimize the risks of contamination and foodborne diseases.
How do you plan to navigate regulatory hurdles and gain consumer acceptance for your products?
Consumer acceptance (or willingness to try) of cell-cultivated products has been increasing worldwide in recent years, even though it will only be fully assessed once the first cell-cultivated products enter the market. Furthermore, many consumers of plant-based products are one-time consumers primarily due to taste preferences. Culminate's cell-cultivated fat aims to replace plant-based fats and oils, revolutionizing the plant-based market with hybrid products to achieve broader consumer acceptance.
For instance, in collaboration with other relevant companies and research groups, we are participating in European projects studying consumer acceptance of cultured meat. Moreover, we consider it our responsibility to actively communicate the benefits of cellular agriculture in terms of sustainability and animal welfare.
Concerning novel food regulations, we maintain close contact with the most relevant players and entities, such as Singapore and the US, and have initiated the necessary processes. In the EU, we closely monitor recent developments and aspire to participate in defining the necessary steps not only for our company but for the subsequent companies in the field.
As the cultivated meat market continues to expand with the emergence of companies in Europe and beyond, how does your startup, Cultimate, differentiate itself?
Cultimate's in-vitro technology precisely replicates the lipid profile of intramuscular fat, which manifests as delicate marbling within the muscle tissue of premium-quality meat. The quantity of intramuscular fat is directly linked to the product's quality, exerting a significant influence on its flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. High-quality marbled meat not only offers an exceptional dining experience but also boasts elevated levels of beneficial fatty acids, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
What are the next steps for your startup?
We are eager to finalize our investment round, secure additional research grants, and expand our scientific team. These strategic steps will allow us to expedite the development of our product and increase the distribution of samples to our customers.
Meet Culminate Foods at RootCamp Demo Day
If you're as intrigued as we are by the transformative potential of Culminate Foods, mark your calendars for August 30th. The RootCamp Demo Day in Hannover offers a unique opportunity to meet the minds behind this cutting-edge startup. Save your spot and register here.
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
3 min read
In 2020, fueled by a passion for both agriculture and environmental conservation, Felix and Lara founded Artenglück. What started as a project to highlight farmers' dedication to sustainability quickly evolved into a thriving startup. Discover more about their journey and innovative approach in our interview with the Artenglück team.
From farmers to founders. How did your startup journey begin?
Three years ago, we founded Artenglück (German word for "happy species"). At that time, Felix was a Master's student in Agribusiness and a farm manager, while Lara led her own online marketing agency. Initially, our goal was to handle public relations for agriculture and showcase the dedication of farmers to conservation efforts. To accomplish this, we relied on the support of private individuals and companies who financed our initial nature conservation projects, such as the creation of flowering meadows.
As we delved deeper into our work, we realized the challenges faced by our clients in the areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), as well as sustainability reporting. Consequently, we began providing support to our clients in these areas, helping them communicate their commitment to sustainability and incorporate it into their reporting practices.
What do you appreciate about the startup ecosystem in Lower Saxony?
We particularly appreciate the community here. The exchange with other startups and companies is very important to us, and here for example at RootCamp we have great opportunities for exchange and can learn a lot from the corporate partners, mentors and alumni.
What positive impact does nature conservation, especially by companies have?
In addition to our flowering meadows, which primarily promote biodiversity, we carry out other nature conservation measures, such as forest afforestation and field bird windows. Overall, our aim is to promote biodiversity and species diversity in different ecosystems. The need for forest afforestation is now easy for many people to understand. In recent years, due to climate change, an incredible number of hectares of forest have died, which many people notice when they visit the forest. Not only is less carbon being sequestered from the air due to forest dieback, but above all, there is a lack of habitats for our native biodiversity. However, we also want to promote other ecosystems, especially in the agricultural landscape, and therefore also carry out nature conservation measures away from the forest, such as flowering meadows and field bird windows, which remain in place for several years and thus create habitats in the long term.
Cooperations with companies create win-win situations for nature and for the companies. The companies can use their commitment for their sustainability report and their employer branding, among other things, while supporting nature in a transparent way. Our promise is that our nature conservation projects are a maximum of 30 km away from the desired location and can be visited at any time.
On the market, there are some providers who offer nature conservation projects for companies and private individuals. How do you stand out?
True to our motto: Do good and talk about it, we not only carry out the conservation projects for our clients in their region, but also support them quite actively in communicating about their sustainability commitment. This turns the cooperation into an investment that can be seen in increased sales, employer branding, image building and strong sustainability communication.
RootCamp Demo Day 2023
Join RootCamp and meet the Artenglück Team on August 30th at the Demo Day in Hanover. After the 12-week program, the startups from our network will be showcasing their projects. The Demo Day will be a unique opportunity for you to get a taste of the international startup scene, network with promising startups, investors and the AgTech community. Register now.
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
4 min read
With a mission to disrupt plant protection solutions, GreEnCAP is harnessing the power of encapsulation technology to address the challenges faced by farmers and growers. In this article, we delve into the journey of GreEnCAP, their innovative encapsulation technology, and the positive impact they aim to make on the agriculture industry.
Describe the problem you are addressing with your encapsulation technology.
Resistance resulting from the repeated use of chemical pesticides has emerged as a significant issue confronting farmers and growers. Moreover, efforts aimed at reducing the reliance on such pesticides in agriculture introduce new challenges for farmers. As a result, these farmers are actively seeking safer alternatives that can effectively address their evolving needs while ensuring sustainable agricultural practices.
How doesgreEnCAP's encapsulation technology work, and what advantages does it offer over traditional methods?
GreEnCAP has developed a chitosan-based encapsulation technology for formulating natural lipophilic/hydrophobic active ingredients that are challenging to use due to their low water solubility or instability in aqueous mediums. We utilize nano/micro formulation technologies to create fine particles that can be easily sprayed onto the leaf surface, making the hydrophobic active ingredient readily available for action.
Chitosan was chosen as the matrix material based on years of research on the structure-function relationship of this polymer. This extensive knowledge allows us to select the most suitable chitosan for our encapsulation system. At the heart of our encapsulation system are essential oils, which serve as natural antimicrobial agents.
With our encapsulation technology, we harness the antimicrobial activity of essential oils and combine it with the plant-strengthening properties of chitosan in the matrix. This creates a dual-action product that provides both direct and indirect means of protecting plants against attacking pathogens. Our products are entirely natural, biodegradable, and residue-free, making them suitable for spraying even near the time of harvest. The significant advantage lies in the water-based nature of our solution, enabling easy integration into current farming practices.
What inspired you to start greEnCAP?
As scientists, nothing gives us more satisfaction than seeing our own research being implemented and used for the benefit of society. To make it more exciting, we decided to give it a try ourselves. We are fully aware that this is a complex industry to enter and probably a time-consuming one too. Nevertheless, we believe every step taken, even if small, takes us closer to our goal of making food safer to consume, a vision with which we started greEnCAP.
Who is your target group?
Our target group consists of vegetable and fruit growers who regularly spray pesticides on their plants to prevent pathogen attacks. However, the repeated use of these fungicides often leads to resistance issues, rendering these solutions ineffective. We aim to reach our target group through our customers, distributors, and trading agencies, who frequently provide advice to farmers and growers regarding suitable products. Our first product is specifically designed to combat Botrytis, a fungal pathogen that causes molds on strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and various other fruits and vegetables.
What impact do you want your startup to have on agriculture?
GreEnCAP's biodegradable encapsulation technology can have a profound impact on agriculture with various encapsulation opportunities for developing fertilizers, pesticides, and plant growth regulators. As mentioned before, our technology can reduce the risk of accidental exposure to harmful chemicals for farmers and farmworkers during handling and application, while also protecting sensitive active ingredients. The biodegradable nature of the technology leads to the degradation of our products into harmless by-products, thus reducing environmental impact. Overall, we aim to provide our farmers with sustainable solutions that are safe and effective to use, while also being safe for consumption.
Why did you apply for the RootCamp startup program?
We are utilizing encapsulation technology to develop innovative biopesticide solutions. Recognizing the formidable challenges of entering the industry with numerous competitors and a complex regulatory process, we have actively sought an opportunity to join an AgTech-specific accelerator/incubator program. This program can provide valuable support in refining our business model and enhancing our industry access. Upon discovering the RootCamp accelerator program, we immediately recognized it as an exceptional opportunity. The exhilaration of being selected and now being a part of this program is truly fulfilling.
Apply now for RootCamp Batch #5
If you are a budding entrepreneur with a passion for AgTech or Bioeconomy and a vision to revolutionize the agricultural sector, we encourage you to take the next step in your startup journey. Don't miss the opportunity to apply for the RootCamp accelerator program that can provide valuable support, mentorship, and industry access to help bring your innovative ideas to life. Submit your application by August 1st.
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
5 min read
RootCamp startup Grassa from the Netherlands is transforming the agricultural landscape by maximizing the potential of green biomass and creating a sustainable circular economy. In this article, we explore how Grassa's circularity concept works, the environmental benefits of using grass as a protein source, their contributions to a sustainable circular economy, and their future plans for expanding their impact.
CEO of Grassa Rieks Smook from the Netherlands at the RootCamp headquarters.
Traditional livestock farming heavily relies on imported soy as a protein source. How does Grassa's circularity concept offer a more sustainable solution for protein production?
Grassa maximizes the productivity of existing land by utilizing green biomass, which currently has limited use. Through this process, we are able to extract green protein, sugars, minerals, and open fibers. Notably, the green protein derived from this biomass contains 17% more essential amino acids than soy, making it an ideal locally grown, plant-based protein for human consumption and a viable alternative to soy in animal feed.
To establish our green refinery infrastructure, we will leverage the existing harvesting infrastructure for grass, which happens to be the largest cultivated crop in Europe, accounting for one-third of all crops. The extensive harvesting season of grass, coupled with its widespread cultivation, provides us with a readily available resource. By using grass as our raw material, we can make the most of the entire plant, including its fiber component known as opened grass. This fiber product is just as effective as the original grass in terms of milk production, but with reduced emissions of ammonia and phosphate.
By implementing the Grassa process on less than 25% of the current grassland, we can generate a sufficient amount of locally grown protein to replace the need for soy imports entirely. This means that the alternative to soy is already present on the land; it simply requires proper harvesting and processing.
What are some of the key environmental benefits of using grass as an alternative protein source?
At least 50% more food can be harvested from the same area of grassland when utilizing Grassa's infrastructure. By incorporating other forms of green biomass, such as horticulture and sugar beets, we can generate an even greater supply of high-quality protein without requiring additional land usage. These additional food products have a low carbon footprint since they do not require additional land, and they effectively replace imported foods with high environmental footprints, such as soy.
Moreover, the sugars and minerals derived from this process are applied more efficiently, using precision fertilization techniques that prevent spillage into groundwater and minimize waste. The opened fiber, when digested by bacteria, exhibits significantly better efficiency compared to unprocessed fiber. This enhances various applications like composting, fermentation, and biogas production, resulting in improved yields and efficiency.
Regarding the opened grass fiber, cows, or more specifically, the bacteria within the cows, digest the grass more effectively. As a result, the extraction of green protein from grass does not hinder milk production; instead, it enhances nitrogen efficiency and reduces ammonia emissions.
Describe how you contribute to a sustainable circular economy with Grassa?
Circular economy explanation based on the example of grassa's product. Graphic: Grassa
The image above illustrates the circularity of the process. In summary, the proteins that would have been processed by cows in their manure are now extracted before the cows consume the grass. The fibers have been optimized to improve efficiency, allowing the cows to produce the same amount of milk while emitting fewer greenhouse gases and reducing nitrogen content in the manure. The extracted grass protein is then used in human food and monogastric animal feed, replacing the need for soy imports.
Although the animals will still produce manure, this manure will now originate locally instead of being linked to the origin of soy. It is important to bring this manure back to the grassland to complete the circular system. By reducing the amount of cow manure, which contains nitrogen, and incorporating grass protein-based manure from monogastric animals, we can close the nitrogen cycle. This ensures a sustainable and self-sufficient process.
How does the technology behind extracting surplus proteins from grass work, and what are the main challenges you faced during the development process?
Through a natural process of pressing, heating and filtering, Grassa unlocks the full nutritional value of grass. Photo: Grassa
The technology used in extracting surplus involves a process of pressing, heating, and filtering. The key lies in applying the appropriate pressure to the specific biomass to achieve high protein yield and open fibers. Filtration techniques are continually evolving, with ongoing advancements in the field. Currently, the green juice containing proteins still requires heating for extraction, but new filtration methods are being developed to enable protein extraction without this heating step. This non-heating extraction method enhances the functional properties of the protein and reduces the energy requirements for extraction. One of the significant challenges in the process is managing the substantial amount of water involved and addressing the logistical aspects of handling the fresh biomass.
What makes RootCamp interesting for your startup?
Many challenges in the Netherlands are similar to those in Germany. The concept requires all the support it can get, particularly from established agricultural companies. Rootcamp serves as a gateway to German strategic investors for Grassa. Through Rootcamp's partners and network, Grassa has the opportunity to attract German investors, which would greatly facilitate the rollout of the concept in a German context.
Looking ahead, what are your future plans and aspirations for Grassa? How do you envision the role of alternative proteins, such as grass protein, in the global food landscape?
We envision an agricultural system that goes beyond harvesting and processing just the seeds, roots, and fruits of plants. Our vision includes harnessing the nutrients from green biomass as well. In the next 10 years, it will become commonplace to bio-refine a portion of the grass, alongside the traditional practice of silaging the entire grass. This expanded infrastructure will also be utilized to process other biomass, increasing efficiency and adding more value to agricultural practices.
A significant part of the grass and other green protein will be utilized as human food, contributing to the protein transition (Phase 1). The remaining portion will be used as locally grown feed for our animals, supporting the protein transition (Phase 2) in animal farming. Sugars and minerals will be applied precisely where they are needed the most, optimizing their use and minimizing waste. Additionally, the opened fiber will enhance bacterial digestion processes such as composting, biogas digestion, and animal digestion, making them more efficient.
By harnessing the power of green biomass and implementing a sustainable circular economy, Grassa is paving the way for a more efficient and environmentally friendly protein production system. If you are a startup looking to make a meaningful impact in the agricultural sector, seize the opportunity to be a part of the new RootCamp batch. Applications are now open until August 1st.
Topics: Startup Bios Interview
5 min read
In this interview, we delve into the innovative world of RootCamp climate tech startup Poás Bioenergy. Poás Bioenergy has developed groundbreaking technology that converts agricultural waste into valuable resources, including biochar and syngas. With a mission to reshape the perception of waste and drive the transition away from fossil fuels, Poás Bioenergy is paving the way for a circular economy in the AgTech and Bioeconomy sectors.
Sofía Camarero and Jose Alfaro, the founders of Poás Bioenergy, introduce their groundbreaking technology that transforms agricultural waste into biochar and syngas. Photo: Poás Bioenergy
Please explain how Poás Bioenergy's gasification technology converts agricultural waste into biochar and synthesis gas?
Biomass gasification is a process in which organic materials are transformed into a gas mixture called syngas or synthesis gas through a series of chemical reactions. Poás Bioenergy's reactor provides the high-temperature and oxygen-limited environment required for these reactions to occur, allowing the biomass to decompose and release gasses, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane. Our gasification technology optimizes not only for energy production but also for biochar production. The biochar is accumulated in a chamber as the syngas is continuously produced. We utilize our technology to upcycle abundant and problematic organic materials, such as agricultural wastes from crops like coffee and pineapple. To ensure proper processing, our system includes a biomass pretreatment unit to extract water from these wastes before they enter the gasification reactor.
How does the production of biochar and synthesis gas contribute to the regeneration of soils and the sequestration of carbon?
This is mainly achieved by our focus on optimizing biochar production. The use of biochar dates back thousands of years and has a rich history across different cultures. More recently, interest in biochar has grown due to its potential as a tool for carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture. Biochar is a highly stable form of carbon that offers multiple environmental benefits.
Prototype of Poás Bioenergy gasification technology. Photo: Poás Bioenergy
By adding biochar to the soil, carbon dioxide that was absorbed by the biomass is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil, contributing to the mitigation of climate change. There is robust evidence and a high scientific consensus that biochar can effectively store carbon away from the atmosphere for centuries. Additionally, when incorporated into agricultural soils, biochar improves water retention, nutrient availability, and soil structure. It acts as a sponge, absorbing water and nutrients that can then be slowly released to plants, thereby reducing the need for irrigation and fertilizer application.
In our case, as we utilize agricultural wastes and divert these materials from field burning or anaerobic decomposition, biochar production helps to avoid methane emissions, pests, and other environmental hazards.
What potential applications do you see for the syngas produced by your technology?
With our technology, we aim to reshape the perception of waste and leverage it to create a circular economy while transitioning away from fossil fuels. Syngas is a prime example of this, as it can effectively replace fuels such as natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas in various thermal applications and internal combustion engines. In Costa Rica, most agribusinesses rely on fossil fuels for their operations. This presents a significant opportunity for us, as it is challenging to decarbonize dryers, boilers, and kilns, and electrification of this machinery is currently not a viable option due to high electricity costs and the associated capital expenditures. Moreover, syngas can be utilized in the production of specialty chemicals, and we intend to explore these applications in the future.
Do you have any new projects or developments in the pipeline that you can share with us?
We are thrilled to announce that we have signed two letters of intent to initiate our first pilot operations in Costa Rica, focusing on the coffee and pineapple sectors. Our first pilot project will be in collaboration with Good Liquorworks, an independent company specializing in climate-positive spirits derived from overlooked agricultural byproducts and innovative ingredients. Together, we will establish an operation to process 6000 tons per year of coffee fruit pulp waste. The extracted sugar-rich water will be supplied to Good Liquorworks for the production of bioethanol, while the remaining dry solids will be used to produce biochar to meet the thermal demand of Good Liquorworks' distillery.
Our second pilot project will be implemented as part of a UNDP GEF-financed initiative aimed at eliminating persistent organic pollutants emitted during current field burning practices in pineapple cultivation. In this project, we will process pineapple waste from Nicoverde, a local pineapple producer and partner. Nicoverde aims to purchase biochar and thermal energy for their own consumption.
What are the advantages for corporates in partnering and collaborating with startups like Poás Bioenergy?
The startup ecosystem is at the forefront of innovation and can bring fresh ideas, technologies, and approaches to the table. Moreover, startups often possess unique insights and have access to markets that large corporations have yet to penetrate. Additionally, startups tend to be more agile in navigating these markets. In our case, we offer market intelligence and an established network in the pineapple and coffee sectors in Costa Rica. We strongly believe that by collaborating with startups, companies can unlock synergies and effectively develop new products, services, or business models that benefit both parties and generate overall value.
Why did you apply for the RootCamp Accelerator program?
We strongly resonated with RootCamp's goal of disrupting the agricultural value chain and recognized the tremendous benefits of participating in their accelerator program, which focuses on AgTech and Bioeconomy innovation – our specific sector. As a startup based in the United States with operations in Latin America, we saw the opportunity to expand our network in Europe through RootCamp, connecting us with experts, investors, and corporate partners in a region that is highly relevant to us. Europe leads the way in bioeconomy initiatives and represents a significant market for both coffee and pineapple. European stakeholders, therefore, play a crucial role in the value chains in which we operate.
➡️ RootCamp is delighted to support Poás Bioenergy's mission and invites all AgTech and Bioeconomy startups with to apply for the next batch of the RootCamp acceleration program. Don't miss this opportunity to join a network of experts, investors, and corporate partners while accelerating your impact. Applications are open until August 1st.
Topics: Startup Bios energy Interview
5 min read
In the fast-paced world of startups, where groundbreaking innovations are sprouting like never before, getting your company's name out there is more critical than ever. While having an exceptional product is undoubtedly essential, the true path to success lies in capturing the attention of the right audience. That's where the power of PR and media features comes into play. As a founder, gaining exposure for your startup is crucial for success. Getting featured in prominent media outlets not only helps you build credibility but also attracts potential investors, partners, and customers. In this article, we will introduce you to 10 must-know (Agtech) startup publications that can provide the perfect platform for showcasing your startup. Let's dive in!
5 min read
Regularly, we want to present to you the startups that are part of the RootCamp accelerator startup program. In theinterview series, we introduce you to the founders, their innovative technology, and how RootCamp has taken the startup to the next level. The benefits of regenerative agriculture are becoming increasingly clear, with its potential to provide economic, environmental, and social advantages. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group has estimated that shifting to regenerative agriculture in Germany could result in a total economic value of approximately €8.5 billion per year, primarily due to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improved soil capacity, and enhanced water quality. Seqana, a startup specializing in satellite imagery, is playing a crucial role in supporting multiple regenerative projects in Germany and beyond.
Read below the interview with Jakob Levin, co-founder of Seqana.
Seqana was part of RootCamp Batch#3. Photo: Seqana Team
Describe what your startup does.
Our goal is to unlock soil carbon for nature-based solutions, such as insetting and offsetting projects, by creating a revolutionary Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) system that is satellite-based and currently unavailable in the market. MRV is a critical part of natural climate solutions (NCS), and often the most costly.
Our innovative MRV system uses satellite imagery to dramatically reduce the cost of soil sampling. In addition, leverage satellite imagery to complete the soil organic carbon (SOC) analysis process 60 times faster than current solutions. By providing accurate and reliable data on soil carbon, we can make nature-based solutions more accessible and cost-effective for businesses and governments seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. Our solution is not only environmentally sustainable, but also economically viable, making it an attractive option for anyone looking to invest in climate action.
How does your technology bring positive change to agriculture?
Soil carbon is not the most exciting aspect of agriculture. It is just one parameter. But it is a convenient proxy for indicating soil health, water retention, resilience to drought, and heavy rain porosity. Effective mitigation of climate change requires the adoption of clean energy and the removal of atmospheric carbon. One promising strategy for increasing carbon sinks and reducing emissions is the cultivation of soil carbon due to its benefits for agriculture. However, the practical application of soil carbon climate strategies lags behind their potential due to the lack of clarity around the magnitude of the opportunity and how to best capitalize on it. To overcome this hurdle, it is crucial to explore innovative approaches and strategies that prioritize the development and implementation of soil carbon climate solutions. By doing so, we can unlock the full potential of soil carbon as a climate mitigation tool and pave the way for a more sustainable future.
At Seqana we empower climate positive land use managers to conduct analyses of soil organic carbon (SOC) with ease and efficiency. One way that we help is by measuring, we can make carbon financing more accessible to projects which benefit the transition of agriculture. We can also encourage supply chain resilience by making harvest more predictable because the soil is healthier.
Tell us why Nature Climate Solutions (NSCs) are the future for climate action?
Natural climate solutions refer to a set of conservation, restoration, and land management measures aimed at increasing carbon storage or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These solutions, when combined with clean energy innovations and other strategies to decarbonize global economies, represent some of the most effective options available for combating climate change.
NSCs are becoming increasingly important in the fight against climate change because they offer numerous advantages over traditional approaches. Firstly, NSCs are typically more cost-effective than many other climate mitigation strategies. Our solution for example costs 10 times less than current alternatives. At the same time, NCS brings environmental, social and economic benefits and can thus contribute to strengthening resilience.
At Seqana, we have developed a state-of-the-art technology that not only accelerates the MRV process but comes at a lower price tag. We are convinced that this technology can spur permitting of NCS projects to keep up with the growing demand for carbon removal.
Why did you decide to apply for RootCamp?
One of the key benefits of the RootCamp accelerator program is the direct line to some of the biggest agricultural players like K+S and the unique chance to conduct pilot projects. This is crucial for startups like us. Working with established companies through pilot projects provide startups with valuable insights into how larger companies operate, what they look for in potential partners or suppliers, and how they make decisions. This information helps us to better understand the needs and preferences of the target customers.
How did RootCamp help you with your business?
As a RootCamp startup alumni, we highly recommend joining the RootCamp accelerator program for any aspiring entrepreneur looking to accelerate their growth and take their startup to the next level. We are incredibly thankful for the strong connections and pleased to have the great opportunity to implement pilot projects with the RootCamp partners, KWS and KS. Overall the program was a great package of networking, mentorship, personal coaching and incentives, all of which helped us optimize our product and processes and reach milestones faster.
Stefan Gönner (Founder of Seqana) Pitching at RootCamp
What are your plans for the near future?
We are planning to raise a seed investment. The next financing round will be this year, which we are preparing for at the moment. Furthermore, we are deploying projects in more than 10 countries, and signed an open letter to the EU Commission calling for an ambitious and progressive soil health law. Healthy soils are fundamental to achieving the targets of the European Green Deal and the transition to asustainable food system. The health of European soils is rapidly degrading. An ambitious Soil Health Law is urgently needed.
To support this, the Soil Health Law Coalition and signatories are offering to share their expertise and provide more detailed political, economic, technological, and legal analysis as needed.
➡️ Do you want to level upyour startuplike Seqana and benefit from the unique ecosystem of innovation hub RootCamp? Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedInto not miss the next application deadline for batch #5.
2 min read
Since 2018, Lower Saxony has been supporting the establishment of startup centers and is now funding ten such centerswith 2.31 million euros from 2023 to 2025. The eligible total costs are covered 50 percent by the state. We are thrilled to announce that RootCamp is among the selected startup centers to receive funding. We are very pleased and excited about this opportunity, which will enable us to further expand our acceleration program and support even more startups in Lower Saxony and beyond.