Calgary-headquartered venture capital fund Carrot Ventures has launched its second company, Cellar Insights, as part of its AgTech company formation model.
Cellar Insights is an AgTech startup that uses a combination of sensors and cloud-based algorithms to remotely monitor potato health during long-term storage. The company aims to reduce food loss and optimize the quality of crops post-harvest by offering predictive models and management insights to farmers.
Terry Sydoryk, a technology industry leader with over 30 years of experience, has assumed the role of Founder and CEO for Cellar Insights.
“Reducing food loss and optimizing the quality of crops post-harvest is an issue of worldwide importance. Potatoes are the world’s third most important food crop, produced in over 100 countries. It is an essential and nutritious food staple, which has led to soaring cultivation rates in India and China. In North America, production value exceeds $4 billion annually, with retail sales approaching $14 billion” says Martin Vetter, a venture partner with Carrot.
“Unfortunately, potatoes and other root crops – such as carrots and onions – experience significant losses during storage. Effective storage management practices are vital, and we believe Cellar Insights offers a compelling solution.”
The solution is particularly relevant to the potato farming industry, where millions of potatoes get stored for up to 11 months in massive climate-controlled facilities. During such long storage periods, farmers face an escalating risk of loss due to shrinkage, reductions in quality, disease, sprouting or spoilage.
Potato storage practices vary widely in levels of sophistication globally, and losses can be as high as 10 to 25 percent. Cellar Insights aims to offer farmers a reliable tool for remotely monitoring and managing the health and value of their stored root crops.
Recruiting the right person to lead the venture is core to the Carrot Ventures model. Sydoryk’s experience in the technology industry makes him an ideal fit to lead Cellar Insights. “Starting out with a vetted technology, a global market opportunity, and a committed lead investor is very compelling. The Carrot investment model and their involvement will accelerate our path to market considerably,” said Sydoryk.
Cellar Insights will commence its path to commercialization immediately, including recruiting farmers and potato processors to participate in field trials this year.
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