Using optical sensors and AI to optimise food production, agtech Gardin raises $10.8 million

London-headquartered agtech firm Gardin has raised $10.8 million in a seed funding round. The company combines machine learning methods and remote optical sensors to provide growers with detailed data about the health of individual plants, all without the need to manually assess or conduct destructive chemical analyses. The funding will be used to further develop the entire product lineup, with crop forecasting and nutritional density mapping planned, ramp up production capabilities, and continue to market the technology to greenhouses and vertical farms across Europe and North America. Since launching in 2020, Gardin has garnered $12 million.

Like many a great startup, Gardin began life as a frustration. Unhappy with his own efforts, serial entrepreneur and 15 year veteran of the optics industry Dr. Sumanta Talukdar decided there had to be a better way to build a butternut squash.

While traditional farming methods rely mostly on naked eye inspections to determine plant health, Gardin is removing the manual crop gazing and replacing it with far more sophisticated measurements based on the physiological performance of the plant. In so much, several pilot programmes have revealed that Gardin’s sensors can accurately detect growth anomalies such as underwatering, a number of days faster than expert agronomists noticed through manual inspections.

By determining the symbiotic relationship between plant and substrate with far greater confidence and accuracy, growers are able to optimise not only the output of their crops but also the daily operations of an entire farm. Over time, via the input of an ever-increasing data pool, Gardin aims to forever cut out any inefficiencies in the entire growing process, providing each grower with the best course of action to maintain optimal output. Sustenance and sustainability at its finest.

Gardin’s technology is focused on controlled environment agriculture farming, i.e. greenhouses, and indoor/vertical farms where both exposures to light and temperature can be controlled, and the company has seen strong interest from the sector, with a steady sales pipeline already under construction.

“With the technology that is becoming available, food can be better, it can be tastier, it can be more secure. What’s more, the systems that provide it, if managed sustainably, can contribute to the health of our planet rather than advance its decline,” commented Dr. Talukdar. “We are incredibly excited to be a part of that movement and look forward to continue learning about and improving the way we grow our food.”

Gardin’s $10.8 million seed funding round was led by Molten Ventures, with LDV Capital, MMC Ventures, and Seedcamp also participating.

“The global food and agriculture system is coming to a tipping point. There are more people, more waste and less land available than ever before: food security and sustainable food production are now enormous challenges we are experiencing on a global scale,” said Molten Ventures’ Edel Coen. “Gardin’s unique technology enables a step-change in how and where food can be produced. We are excited to partner with Sumanta and the Gardin team on the journey toward solving one of the most significant challenges of our time.”

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