Prospera raises funds to expand agro-tech globally

Prospera raises funds to expand agro-tech globally

Israeli startup uses artificial intelligence to help farmers optimize crop yields, revolutionize the way food is grown

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Prospera's technology helps keep tabs on crops (Courtesy)
Prospera's technology helps keep tabs on crops (Courtesy)

Tel Aviv-based Prospera, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers better monitor their crops, has raised a Series A investment of $7 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners.

The funding will be used to further expand the supply of Prospera’s AI-based products to farmers and agricultural businesses worldwide, the company said.

Prospera uses deep learning techniques, computer vision and data science to bring technology to the rescue of farmers, who often have to rely on intuition when tending their crops.

With in-field cameras and climatic sensors, Prospera said it is the only company that allows farmers to accurately remote-manage their fields by getting real-time analysis on what is happening to their crops — from a leaf-by-leaf basis to a multi-field, multi-crop basis. This access allows them to tackle critical issues of underperforming fields caused by pests, disease, irrigation, nutrient deficiencies and sub-optimal agro-technical activities.

The solutions are cost-effective and scalable, enabling farmers to grow crops in a more efficient and sustainable way. They also ensure water, pesticides and fertilizers are used only as required and allow for the maximum potential crop yield to be delivered to market, Prospera said.

Prospera's sensor in a field (Courtesy)
Prospera’s sensor in a field (Courtesy)

“The agriculture industry is a great candidate for applying pragmatic artificial intelligence,” Daniel Koppel, CEO and co-founder of Propsera, said in a statement. “Prospera is aiming to lead the way to making agriculture intelligent and efficient with technology by solving the key pain points of growers globally.”

Recent breakthroughs in neural networks combined with the commoditization of cloud computing and sensors have made it possible for Prospera to develop field-analytics solutions that predict and improve performance “in a new and revolutionary way,” he said.

The global agriculture economy is worth trillions of dollars, and it is far from performing efficiently and at its peak, Prospera said. With a global population that is growing, coupled with increased environmental concerns, farmers must find ways to grow more sustainably and to optimize crop yield.

According to the World Bank, the world will need to produce at least 50 percent more food to feed the expected 9 billion people it will host by 2050, and climate change could reduce crop yields by more than 25%.

Already operational in medium-to-large greenhouse farms across Europe, North America and Israel, Prospera’s technology is being used by farms that supply some of the largest grocery retailers in Europe and the US, the company said.

“Propsera is generating unique and proprietary data on crops at a level of granularity which never before existed in the agriculture world,” said Adam Fisher of Bessemer Venture Partners. “Combining this unique data with some of the best experts in computer vision and machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow food.”

Prospera was founded in 2014 by computer scientists who realized they could provide pragmatic and innovative solutions to farmers through the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence tools.

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