In recent decades, all of us have become more aware of the food we eat. There’s nothing quite like picking fresh lettuce or cherry tomatoes from your own vegetable garden. Let’s admit, though, that most of us are not really agronomists; our agricultural knowledge is quite limited. This is our cue to introduce Fluxiot, which has developed a system that will help us raise our homegrown crops.
A short pitch: What does the company do?
A: Fluxiot has developed a product called Eddy that analyzes a plant’s surroundings and gives tips and feedback for amateur hydroponic gardeners.
A slightly more thorough explanation
A: Fluxiot has developed Eddy, a small device that floats on the water of a hydroponic garden or farm and monitors essential chemical parameters of the environment. Using interaction with lighting, humidity, and other sensors, the device examines the changing balance of chemicals in the water. It sends information to the company’s server and uses an app to provide immediate feedback about what should be done. The company’s system uses artificial intelligence and information and image processing developed for the purpose of revealing data invisible to the eye and protecting areas against pests, among other things. Like other shared apps, Eddy can use the information gathered from other users to instruct garden owners how to grow the most suitable plants for their neighborhood and weather in their environment. Eddy sends real time alerts to the user’s phone about when and how to nurture their plants.
Eddy connects amateur gardeners from all over the world. It enables them to share tips and experience for the purpose of improving their crops. If you want to share your strawberries or start a farmers market, Eddy will also offer an opportunity to hook up to a network of other growers and farmers.
Q: What stage have you reached?
A: Our hardware is ready. Eddy is beginning a pilot at 50 international sites in December, and will be sent to consumers all over the US in the spring of 2017. An advance purchase campaign through Indiegogo designed for people in the US will go on the air in mid-January 2017. We can also accept other international orders, however.
Q: Who is your target market?
A: Our target market consists of urban growers and cannabis growers in countries where it is legal.
Q: Who are your competitors?
A: Companies such as Grove, GrowBox, Smart Bee, BlueLab, as well as sensor manufacturers like Cortica.
Q: How do you plan to make money?
A: We’re selling the device for $150 a unit, and also a monthly subscription for a fee.
Q: Have you already received investments? How many? Who invested?
A: We’re closing a $1 million financing round next month from international strategic partners. Technology company LED is leading the round, with participation from a number of angel investors. Another round is scheduled at the end of the first quarter of 2017 for the purpose of expanding our development and distribution channels.
Q: Who are the company founders?
A: VP marketing Karin Kloosterman, CTO Amichai Yifrach, and VP operations Nir Hertzman founded Fluxiot in 2014. CEO Blake Burris joined the company later.
Q: How did you get the idea?
A: I grew up in Canada with parents who froze and preserved food grown in season. My Dutch grandfather grew organic crops in our garden. When I worked in agricultural research in Switzerland, I realized how much conventional agriculture was harming our planet. As a reporter, I investigated scandals, and wrote about anonymous heroes, such as Moti Cohen, who built small hydroponic farms to feed people in cities like Gaza, and advised the UN about food. I knew I wanted to create a solution for entrepreneurs like him, urban farmers, and founders of urban farms concerned about a fair distribution of resources relating to food. It’s true that we want to make money like any other Israeli startup, but we also want to change our world.
Q: How many employees do you have? Where are your offices?
A: We have nine employees. The company offices are in Tel Aviv and Dallas.
Fluxiot is taking part in the Startup Arena, Geektime’s startup competition taking place for the ninth consecutive year in the framework of the Geektime Conference. Past participants include companies such as Kaltura, Cyactive, and SalesPredict, among others. The 2016 Startup Arena competition this year is sponsored by Altshuler Shaham Benefits.