EdenShield, an Israeli agritech start-up that has pioneered the development of natural pesticides, has raised over $1 million to expand its operations and establish a distribution network, the company reported Tuesday.
The investment round was led by Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd.
With the new funding, EdenShield will begin wide-scale marketing of its first two products, NET, which is applied to greenhouse screens, and DIRECT, is meant to be applied directly to greenhouse flowers and medical cannabis. The money will also be used to develop EdenShield formulations for specific crops.
“Our products have the capacity to make a major impact on our food chain, making production more efficient and consumption healthier,” said D. Todd Dollinger of the Trendlines Agtech accelerator, where EdenShield developed its products.
Yaniv Kitron, CEO and inventor of the EdenShield system, has worked in chemical engineering and herb extraction for nearly two decades, and several years ago he noticed something: Pests tended to avoid certain bushes and plants, even if they were untreated by pesticide. Upon further research, he realized that what was keeping the bugs away wasn’t chemicals, but the natural aversion of the pests themselves to secretions emitted by the plant.
The pests that are deflected by the secretions in the desert plants Kitron researched – including thrips, whiteflies, red spider mites and tuta absoluta (leaf miners) – are the same ones that make life hell for farmers, who are forced to spray ever-larger amounts of pesticides to keep the bugs out of their tomatoes, lettuce, greenhouse flowers and other crops.
“The herbs that we use are endemic to the Israeli desert, and our team has discovered that the specific types of pests we are battling don’t like their odor,” Kitron explained. “By turning the herb into an essence that can be sprayed or otherwise applied to nets, the pests don’t even come near, preferring to find plants that don’t feature a scent they cannot tolerate.”
“It’s even better than pesticide, Kitron added, “because the bugs will not build up a resistance to the odor, as they would to bug spray.”
According to Kitron, different combinations of herbs can thwart different types of pests.
“The farmer can tailor-make his mix of defenses, using our product, netting and pesticides when necessary,” he said.
Kitron established EdenShield in early 2012, working with Trendines Agtech (formerly the Mofet Venture Accelerator), which includes 15 companies that specialize in different areas of agricultural technology.
“EdenShield’s wholly organic pesticide products has the potential of being a major game changer in the agricultural world, and we are proud to be working with them,” said Trendlines Agtech’s Dollinger.