AgTech Startups : Ag Tech Products & AgTech Services News
San Jose and Brooklyn Ag Tech Startups Win Top Awards.
It is the year of the TechCrunch Disrupt agricultural technology business, with companies in that sector taking the Disrupt Cup and Runner-Up Awards. Maybe Snoop Dogg's appearance, touting his new pot lifestyle media business, should have been a clue.
Both companies that took top honors work with marijuana businesses, one exclusively and the other just includes pot growers among its customers. Brooklyn-based greenhouse Agrilyst — which helps greenhouse owners manage their crops better — is this year's Disrupt Cup winner.
San Jose-based Green Bits, helps marijuana businesses meet legal seed-to-sale tracking regulations was picked as the runner-up. There are three other Bay Area companies which are San Francisco-based Scrumpt and Leap Financial, and Menlo Park-based Preemadonna, also got the added exposure of competing in the finals.
Agrilyst and Green Bits survived two days of pitching in the Startup Battlefield and judges' grilling in the finals to win bragging rights and some cash. Agrilyst, co-founded by Jason Camp and Allison Kopf, pulls data from sensors in greenhouses to help growers manage their operations better. Much of the data they are working with is now recorded by hand by growers of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs that supply much of what America eats.
Kopf said in her finals pitch, "Indoor growers have to worry about each and every growing condition because controlling those growing conditions means being able to control your profits."
With a half-dozen greenhouse owners at a rate of $1,000 per acre of crops per month, Agrilyst started out working. It figures there are more than 1 million acres of greenhouse crops being grown around the world, giving it an expected addressable market of $9 billion in the U.S.
Green Bits, co-founded by Andrew Katz, Trae Robrock and Ben Curren, offers point-of-sale software to medicinal marijuana growers. Its big selling point is that its software provides a way for pot retailers, processors and producers to meet the seed-to-sale tracking requirements of every plant that government agencies require.
Curren told judges "Green Bits is the easiest way to run your marijuana retail store." He claims to have 45 percent of today's market and never lost a customer so far.
The company charges an average of $500 per month per customer and sells cash registers at $1,500 each. He said that, the legal marijuana industry expects about $8 billion in retail sales in the next five years and Green Bits expects to grow along with it.