The company helps vertical farms and other high-tech indoor growers to use data to increase yields

Agtech start-up Nordetect has raised a €1.2 million ($1.5 million) in a seed funding round led by Luminate NY, with participation from Rockstart (Nordetect’s accelerator), SOSV, PreSeed Ventures, and Vækstfonden (The Danish Growth Fund).

Nordetect was founded by bioengineers in 2016 to help farmers, agronomists and indoor growers to optimise the use of sustainable green chemistry. The company has developed a portable device and lab-on-a-chip test kit for optimising the use of nutrients and fertiliser.

Based in Copenhagen, the company was part of the Rockstart AgriFood 2019 batch and this funding is Rockstart’s third investment in the company.

Rockstart, the Dutch accelerator-VC has opened applications for its AgriFood 2021.

Nordetect said it plans to use the funding to commercialise its proprietary technology platform as it launches an early access programme to indoor and vertical farms in Europe and the east coast of the US.

The right nutrient levels are needed for optimum yields from crops, and indoor growers want to maintain water quality and ensure they have the right levels of nutrients (liquid fertiliser) and light. Vertical, indoor and outdoor farms use this data to increase their yields.

However, collecting and testing soil and water samples takes from three days to days weeks to complete, and Nordetect claims its device and test kits can test multiple nutrients simultaneously in minutes.

Rockstart AgriFood managing partner Mark Durno said: “Having personally managed both soil and hydroponic production, I know how important it is for farmers and growers to get access to accurate nutrient assessment for optimal plant growth and yield.

“We invested in Nordetect because they have further enabled existing wet lab chemical analysis by combining new technologies, empowering the customer to own this faster and more affordable technique as and when they need it.”

Keenan Pinto, co-founder and chief executive of Nordetect, added: “We’re keen to get started on scaling up the manufacturing of our lab-on-a-chip consumables and deliver to our early customers.

“The new funding allows us to make the necessary investments in process automation to bolster our supply of the product as we enter our go-to-market segment. We’re excited to have Luminate and all our previous investors on board providing their specialised expertise.”

Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director, Luminate NY, commented: “Nordetect’s technology has the promise to deliver on multiple megatrends within the agtech industry, including the use of sensors, software, and accurate analysis/intelligence to enable smarter farming, improve water management, and foster sustainability,”

Marianne Hyltoft, deeptech fund director at PreSeed Ventures, said: “Nordetect is a fantastic frontrunner for the stable of great green tech start-ups that are coming out of Denmark.

Since we first invested in Keenan and Palak they have continuously shown that their product can positively impact the global issues of our connected food ecosystems by creating better yields with less waste. That’s why we have made this follow-on investment supporting the upcoming US expansion, where current market trends offer a huge commercial potential for providing ‘data on demand’ for growers. With this in mind, we believe Nordetect has the opportunity to build a better future while also making a good financial return.”

Date published: 15 March 2021

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