One of the biggest challenges facing farmers today is knowing the amount of irrigation needed for each processed plot and each tree. Israeli startup Saturas, that offers a scientific sensor-based solution just announced (Wednesday) the completion of a $3 million funding round.
Implanting a sensor inside a tree
Saturas is developing a micro-sensor to measure water potential in the tree trunks, which can assist in optimal water use for irrigation, as well as yielding higher-quality crops for plantations and vineyards. The sensor prevents over-watering and water waste, as well as, lack of water that causes fruit and tree damage. The micro-sensor is embedded into the tree stem where it uses a communication system to supply exact data for specific irrigation needs. Besides the technology’ the company needed to overcome another challenge: The company used specific unique materials for the sensors because just like with human transplants, trees can occasionally reject foreign objects.
From the moment the sensor is embedded, it starts transmitting data straight to the grower’s tablet or phone, who then can adjust irrigation based on real-time needs, rather than based on estimates and predictions. Incidentally, because of the low variation between tree types, it is possible to install 1 sensor for every 2.47 planting acres.
Saturas was founded in 2013 by Anat Halgoa Solomon and Ph.D. Moshe Meron, with offices based in Misgav, Israel. Trendlines Agrifood Fund participated in the company’s most recent funding round, adding to the existing investors, Gefen Capital and Hubei Forbon Technology.
While speaking to Geektime, Founding Partner and CEO, Anat Halgoa Solomon said that the company is proud to complete its funding round, especially during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis: “We began our funding round before the crisis, and we understood that a global event like this will have immense repercussions, at least in the short term, regarding investments and fundraising. We decided to complete stage one of what had already ripened and continue to raise funds.” According to Anat, there were potential investors who wanted to wait a bit and test the waters again once the uncertainty faded away.
Halgoa Solomon also added that since their previous funding round in 2018, the company has completed technological development including demos with strategic partners in strategic markets, such as California and Spain, while also initiating sales. In addition, strong connections were developed with distributors, market opinion-leaders, and irrigation research labs.