Motorleaf – an artificial intelligence startup focused on bringing actionable, data-driven insights to greenhouse and indoor operators – announced today it has raised $2.85 million USD to further develop its real-time, agronomic solutions for the fast-growing controlled environment agriculture sector.
The investment, closed in two rounds with the final $2 million USD committed this May, is led by top ag and food-tech accelerator fund Radicle Growth and includes support from Desjardins Capital, Real Ventures, Fluxunit (Osram Ventures), BDC Capital and 500 Startups Canada.
“Motorleaf is changing the way we grow in greenhouses and indoors with their application of enabling AI anywhere at any time,” says Radicle Growth CEO Kirk Haney. “Their technology has been proven in vegetable production environments and we are investing this capital to help the company scale.”
Motorleaf’s hardware and software hones-in on the human and environmental aspects of greenhouse production, helping to predict accurate harvest amounts in a tight-margin industry. By providing a digital agronomist, Motorleaf’s yield prediction tools help greenhouse operators meet contract obligations, better plan weekly operations and foresee production capacities in real time.
In initial trials with California greenhouse SunSelect, Motorleaf’s technology led to a 50-percent reduction in yield prediction error in tomatoes. These results were enough for SunSelect to adopt Motorleaf’s algorithms after a short trial. However, yield prediction is just the first step in Motorleaf’s solutions for producers.
“Better yield prediction is only the beginning for Motorleaf’s value to this sector,” says Motorleaf CEO Alastair Monk. “We’re ultimately producing dynamic grower protocols, which help manage everything from light and nutrients to predicting crop diseases before they happen, and optimized growing conditions that increase ROI – all based on real-time data.”
The next phase for Montreal-based Motorleaf will take a broad look at greenhouse conditions and apply the technology to multiple crops. The data insights will not be a one-time, static prediction, but allow growers to adjust growing conditions in real time and compensate for the unexpected.
“Motorleaf’s ability to apply automation by adding convenient hardware to preexisting greenhouse control systems makes them not only practical, but ready for today’s greenhouse industry,” says Haney.
“The next round of solutions coming out of testing only highlight more of the potential insights this technology brings to the table.” Motorleaf’s AI program stands to bring applicable, cost-cutting solutions to greenhouses surrounding labor, energy, over/under production and nutrient management. There are 52.3 billion square feet of greenhouses and indoor farms that can benefit from Motorleaf’s technology today.
Haney and Lars Roessler from Fluxunit will join Motorleaf’s Board of Directors, helping the company make connections with key industry players, expanding its global reach and furthering application of the machine learning algorithms in diverse indoor agriculture facilities.