Take a closer look at Green-eye Technology

*Green-Eye Technology are the Winners of SiliconegevBGU 2018 startup competition (500,000 ILS investment by MATA)

“Ground-breaking Agritech technology that will save our crops!” 

3 Market failures in the current practice of herbicide application by Green-Eye:

  1. Yield Loss – farmers spray their entire field uniformly with non-selective herbicides. The current treatment is not effective enough against weeds and can cause up to 50% of yield reduction.
    2. Environmental – Each year, millions of pounds of dangerous chemicals are being used for no need, causing severe soil and water contamination, health risks etc.
    3. Herbicides resistant weeds – The intensive use of herbicides created weeds that are immune to herbicides around the world. More than 160 species of weeds in the US developed resistance to herbicides. Herbicide-resistant weeds are growing to be one of the greatest challenges for the agriculture industry.

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“Enabling farmers to spray herbicides only where it’s needed and with the most effective herbicides”

Green-eye uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to revolutionize the current pest control process in agriculture. The challenge in our domain is to automatically identify weeds from drones at a very early stage (1 inch tall). Over the past year, Green-eye has built the largest database of weeds in the world (cataloged images) which enable our algorithms to perform high-level of accuracy using machine learning technology. Green-eye is the only company in the world who can identify weeds from drones at the species level.

(SiliconegevBGU 2018 startup competition Final Pitch)

Green-Eye’s solution in three steps:

Step 1 – Green-eye samples the field with a custom drone at high-resolution (0.5mm/pixel)
Step 2 – Green-eye analyzes the collected data from the field and identifies weeds in the field at the species level using machine learning technology.
Step 3 – Green-eye provides its customers with a detailed report on the distribution and identification of weeds in the field, enabling farmers and agrochemical companies to use selective and effective herbicides.

Q&A With Nadav Bocher   

Nadav is the CEO and co-founder of Green-eye Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Ben Gurion University. Nadav has a wealth of experience in business development, strategy, and management.

Why are weeds so detrimental to crops?

Weeds compete with crops on resources such as nutrients, water, sun, space, etc. Ineffective weed management causes yield losses in excess of 50%. Today, weeds are one of the most significant threats to crop production worldwide. Today, farmers spray their entire fields with non-selective herbicides uniformly. Herbicides do not distinguish between the crop, bare soil, weeds, and more than 50% is sprayed in vain. This results in a huge economic loss for the farmer and unimaginable damage to the health of the environment.

How do you feel your technology will revolutionize the way crops are grown and maintained?

 

Our technology can map and identify weeds in the field down to the species level. Enabling farmers to spray herbicides only where it’s needed and with the most effective herbicides.

 

How big is the market for your product and what is your strategy to capture it?

 

Today, the net worth of the herbicide market is $30B. However, we think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential and the market that our technology can be applied for. There is a huge shift in agriculture to transform machines such as tractors, into smart and autonomous machines. For example, tractors can spray pesticides precisely and independently. Our core technology is based on machine learning and the opportunities that can be applied in agriculture are endless.

 

Do you think your business model of charging $2 per hectare for data analysis is sustainable?

 

Agriculture is a very dynamic ecosystem, and pricing can dramatically change between different geographies and different crops. The current pricing represents row crops like corn and soybeans, and it was determined through discussion with customers. We are also working with one of the largest processed vegetable producers, and the pricing we have built with them is entirely different, which is evidence of the variability in terms of pricing.

 

How would a potential grant of funds and capital be used to make the company profitable?

 

The capital will help us complete field trials (proof of concept) with multinational companies in Canada and Australia. It will also place our company in a strong position for a round of financing. In addition, the capital will support the development of our unique database and technology in collaboration with Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev.

 

What are your goals for the business?

 

Ultimately, our goal is to reduce herbicide usage while increasing yield. Our first step is applying our technology in field scouting, detecting weeds in the fields, and using the most effective herbicides. Our next step is to integrate Green-eye’s technology onto tractors and sprayers. This will reduce the usage of herbicides by more than 90% through spraying only where it’s needed while using the most effective herbicides.

 

How has being in the Beer Sheva tech ecosystem helped to develop your company and product, if at all?

 

Our entire R&D operation is located in Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev in collaboration with “Shikma Giduli Sade”, one of the largest agriculture cooperatives in the south of Israel. It’s been a great privilege for us to work with a team of professional farmers in the South to ensure our product and our technology can actually be applied to address farmer’s needs, or in other words, to build product-market-fit. We are only at the beginning in terms of our vision of spraying selective herbicides only where it’s needed. Having a great partnership and beta site in the South helps us build and commercialize a much more successful product around the world.

 

How do you feel your product will help with the development of the Negev specifically, given the harsh conditions and lack of resources?

 

Weeds are a major threat to farmers around the world, and that is also true for the agriculture industry in the Negev. Green-eye helps farmers in the Negev to eliminate one of the greatest threats for food production, especially in a challenging environment. The Negev is world-renowned for its innovative solutions in agriculture, and Green-eye will support and lead the unique R&D activity in the Negev.

 

Key Takeaways

Green-Eye’s goal to reduce herbicide usage while increasing crop yield will benefit not only farmers worldwide, but will greatly help the environment as a whole. Their technology of using machine learning and A.I. to analyze crops is both innovative and promising to help combat the problem of weeds destroying over 50% of crop yields.

 

Edited by Jordan Luden*

Jordan Luden is a student at McGill University in Montreal, studying Finance and Entrepreneurship. He spent 2 months in Israel in the summer of 2018 through Onward Israel and worked with Tech7 and CDI Negev. This is his 2nd post giving his insight into the hi-tech scene in Be’er Sheba.

 

 

 

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