GTC2015: Taranis Visual is about the most Israeli startup ever

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If we were to ask you which two industries come to mind when you think of Israel, which would pop into your head? You instinctively thought hi-tech and agriculture, didn’t you? Of course, you did. With that premise, Taranis Visual is about the most Israeli startup there is.

Taranis, who is competing in the Geektime Conference‘s Startup Arena pitch competition on Wednesday, is one of the many entrants to the modern crop-monitoring market. Their solution integrates data about a farm’s geography, soil conditions with weather warnings, and other in-the-ground needs. It also touts being able to measure the level of irrigation crops need, protect against various field-blighting outbreaks, and plan for crop fumigation based on effectiveness, forecasts and other factors.

CEO Ofir Schlam founded Taranis in 2014. Schlam comes from a veteran family of Kibbutz Ginosar along the Sea of Galilee where their mainstay was bananas and cotton. He grew up watching farmers make critical decisions about crop spraying based on instinct rather than actual analysis of the different factors that might make those efforts effective.

Understanding the need for more calculated decisions, he turned to the company’s future CTO Eli Bukchin, calling upon his experience in meteorological modeling from the Israeli Navy. They brought in COO Ayal Karmi and Senior Software Engineer Asaf Horvitz for their respective expertise in identifying anomalies and Big Data analysis.

Making sure you can reap what you sew

From what we could glean about the industry, Taranis is hardly the first (and likely won’t be the last) solution to hit the market, but being better than the competition sounds like a long-term game in this field. The “Yield Monitor Market” will be valued in excess of $2.5 billion by 2020 according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. A number of options utilize satellite data or drone flights to analyze the progress on the farm continuously. Some other startups in the business include Resson Aerospace, AgIntegrated, and AgStudio, among a slew of others. Israeli companies like Climate Corporation, FarmLogs and Farm Dog are also competitors to watch.

Taranis’ solution mainly focuses on climate conditions, the factor the company says is responsible for 90% of crop failure. Based on that and other variables, they can figure the best times to irrigate, spray, and fertilize, and how best to protect against infestation or crop diseases.

Karmi explains that the major point of differentiation is their tool’s forecast capabilities, current analytics rather than long-term insights, and optimization across the board.

“We can provide high resolution forecasting at every point in the world to warn farmers and recomment when to do preventative crop spraying. When working on our recommendations, they can increase productivity and profits significantly.”

The company was co-founded by CEO Ofir Schlam, CTO Eli Bukchin and COO Ayal Karmi, counting Senior Software Engineer Asaf Horvitz among their core staff.

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