Due to the growing global population, greenhouse horticulture is facing a number of challenges. Innovation and technology are key to a sustainable future. The collaboration Atrium Agri is planning ahead for the future and investing in AgriData Innovations, a start-up which makes data-driven cultivation possible by using ‘smart eyes’ for greenhouse automation.
Greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands is a perfect example of human innovation and ingenuity. AgriData Innovations (ADI) provides an integrated, data-driven solution that enables entrepreneurs in the greenhouse horticulture sector to collect and analyse valuable data about their crops. As a result, they gain insight into how to increase the quality of their crops and reduce production costs.
ADI’s solutions are perfectly in keeping with Atrium Agri’s mission. “This investment is helping us to continue innovating and gives us access to knowledge from the source at the precise moment that knowledge becomes available. Knowledge that we as partners within Atrium Agri in turn pass on to others. It also gives us the opportunity to adapt our own systems so that new systems can be incorporated in the automated systems”, explains Koen Brabander, co-founder of Atrium Agri.
From student project to successful start-up
What began as a student project has now developed into a successful start-up. In 2015, co-founders William Simmonds (CEO) and Lucien Fesselet (CTO) started experimenting with drones in greenhouses to collect data about crops (under the name Applied Drone Innovations). During the trials they realised that their added value did not lie in drones, but in data. This shifted ADI’s focus to developing smart eyes and specialising in software analysis to obtain efficient and reliable information from the crop.
CEO William Simmonds explains that “Using the power of technology and innovation, ADI develops robotic platforms with smart eyes and artificial intelligence to make horticultural production future-proof to serve the growing global population. We are enabling growers to step into ‘The Age of Data’."
“This investment allows us to plan for the future. We consider multi-layer growing to be an achievable concept. If the crop becomes more difficult to access, we will need additional ‘eyes’. We believe that innovation in this area requires a positive push from the industry. ADI is already at a stage where it can offer saleable solutions. They are supported by a number of acclaimed entrepreneurs with wide experience and in the food and agricultural sectors. Our ultimate goal is not so much to earn money from this investment, but to promote innovation and acquire knowledge.”, explains Koen Brabander.
Pim van Geest, lead business developer at ADI, is proud of what the company has achieved so far. “I think it’s really fantastic that we have been able to find such a great club of ‘Angel Investors’, including Atrium Agri. We are on a mission to make autonomous data-driven cultivation possible. Our goal for the future is to have smart eyes collecting usable data in every enclosed agricultural environment (vertical farming and greenhouses). These investors will definitely be playing a part in this.”
Atrium Agri is a collaboration of entrepreneurs within the international horticultural sector. The partners form a powerful knowledge platform in the areas of total cultivation concepts, greenhouse construction, water, climate, automation, energy and consultancy. Everyone equal, while retaining our own identity.
Atrium Agri comprises the following companies; Havecon, VB Group, PB tec, PB sys, Bom Group, VEK Adviesgroep, CambridgeHOK and JB Hydroponics.