The Swiss AgTech startup AgroSustain has just closed its seed investment round with a financing of around €1 million. National and international private investors and family offices have invested in the spinoff of the University of Lausanne, in addition to the support obtained from Venture Kick and Canton of Vaud (FIT seed loan), all supporting the long-term vision for sustainable crop protection. The fresh capital will be used to move forward with the certification and product development of AgroSustain’s first plantinspired product to prevent molds on fruits & vegetables in post-harvest.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated annual food waste at an equivalent of $1,000 billion, out of which $60 billion of fruits and vegetables lost due to fungal pathogens in post-harvest. Metabolites of some of the broadly spread molds in food storage facilities can have an additional adverse effects on humans. To this day, no efficient, cost-effective, organic treatments against molds are available on the market.
AgroShelf+ prevents development of fungal pathogens and reduces food waste.
Founded in 2018, the AgTech startup AgroSustain develops a pipeline of plantinspired antifungal solutions based on an internationally patented PhD-thesis conducted by Dr. Olga Dubey, CEO of AgroSustain, to identify and bring to market organic treatments against broad range of fungal pathogens present in food storage facilities.
Working closely with Agroscope, the Swiss Center of excellence for agricultural research in Nyon, the team of AgroSustain has identified more than 60 antifungal plant compounds that build the foundation of AgroSustain’s first product. AgroShelf+ has an antifungal effect over more than 1’600 species of agronomically important crops and can be used in food storage facilities to prevent development of molds and reduce food waste.
Shelf life of vegetables and fruits extended up to 7 days The application of AgroShelf+ can be done by spray in food storage facilities. Thus no extra installation cost is required for this product. Based on the first tests, AgroShelf+ extends shelf life of vegetables and fruits, including berries, infected with fungal pathogens by a minimum of 4 to 7 days in a sustainable manner.
AgroSustain already won numerous awards and grants in Switzerland and Europe, including Venture Kick Stage III, BRIDGE Proof Of Concept, European Union Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 1 and Climate-KIC programs among others.
AgroSustain CEO Dr Olga Dubey explains: “The growing population and environmental issues require to have new sustainable technologies available along the value chain from farm to fork. Our solutions help food distributors and retailers to significantly extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by preventing the development of molds. Plantinspired products, reduction of food waste and mitigation of CO2 emissions are three key benefits to drive a sustainable industry and promote healthy food.”
Now that the seed investment round is completed, the product will be tested in an extensive set of pilot projects under controlled conditions with leading Swiss Retailers and Distributors following product certification. Pilots will be kicked off in 2019 before expected registration and national roll-out in 2020.