Fredericton agtech startup Picketa Systems, which develops technology for plant tissue analysis, has raised a $1.4-million seed round.
The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, an independent non-profit, led the funding, with contributions from a number of investors that focus on the agricultural sector such as Tall Grass Ventures, Emmertech, and Koan Capital. Desjardins Group, as well as members from angel groups East Valley Ventures and Startup TNT, also participated.
Picketa said it plans to deploy 10 units of its technology across Canada and the United Kingdom.
Tissue testing allows farmers to gain insight into how their crops are absorbing and using nutrients. However, the traditional method can be time-consuming.
Typically, plant tissue testing is done manually by people. The workers would have to retrieve samples from at least 20 different locations in the field, collect the leaves of each plant, then ship them off to a laboratory.
Picketa Systems’ technology was designed to help agronomists and other agricultural professionals integrate real-time plant tissue analysis into their workflows, which could reduce costs and time spent. The startup said it built its solution collaboratively with farmers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Plant tissue still needs to be collected by hand with Picketa’s platform. However, its testing hardware allows users to process the data on site, eliminating the need for a third-party laboratory, which normally has longer turnaround times for agricultural analyses. The data collected and analysis results would be provided by Picketa’s web platform.
This application of precision agriculture, which refers to a tech-based farming strategy to monitor variability in crop fields, can reduce nitrous oxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions, according to Picketa.
As the demand for food continues to grow, producers are increasingly relying on agricultural testing technologies in hopes of maximizing their output. Rising at a 6 percent compound annual growth rate, the global market for these products is expected to surpass a valuation of $1.26 billion USD by 2032, according to a research report by Facts and Factors.
There are several Canadian tech startups that offer testing technologies for soil, including ChrysaLabs, Terramera, and Croptimistic. However, it appears that real-time analysis for plant tissues in Canada is still in its infancy, with Picketa looking to carve out this space for itself.
Picketa’s platform currently supports potato farming, with plans to extend the technology to other crops. Picketa CEO Xavier Hébert-Couturier said the company is already expanding trials to include crops like corn, onions, carrots, and blueberries.
With this funding, Picketa said it plans to deploy 10 units of its technology across Canada and the United Kingdom. Picketa previously closed a $300,000 CAD pre-seed investment round in 2022.
Featured image courtesy Picketa Systems.
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