OSRAM Acquires Stake in Montreal-based Horticulture Start-up Company Motorleaf
Motorleaf: An artificial intelligence company focused on bringing actionable, data-driven insights to greenhouse and indoor farm operators
05.15.2018 | Special Topic
- OSRAM’s venture capital arm Fluxunit invests in Canadian company for high-end greenhouse technology
- Motorleaf’s data analytics pave the way to smart farming
Munich, Germany and Montreal, Canada – OSRAM’s venture capital arm, Fluxunit, has acquired a stake in Canadian startup Motorleaf, an artificial intelligence company focused on bringing actionable, data-driven insights to greenhouse and indoor farm operators. Motorleaf’s hardware and software support and strengthen the human and environmental aspects of greenhouse production, helping to predict accurate harvest amounts in a tight-margin industry. By providing a digital agronomist, Motorleaf’s yield prediction tools help greenhouse operators meet contract obligations, better plan weekly operations and forecast production capacities in real time. “We see strong potential in leveraging advanced data analytics to further optimize predictability and performance of production in commercial greenhouse and indoor farm production,” said Ulrich Eisele, Managing Director of OSRAM’s Fluxunit.
For horticultural applications, OSRAM already supplies specially developed lighting solutions designed for cultivating plants in greenhouses or indoor farms that stimulate and manage plant growth. Adjusting light in the context of overall environmental growing conditions to the specific needs and characteristics of a plant has a strong impact on actual yield and quality of the plants produced. Motorleaf’s solution adds smart harvest forecasts based on artificial intelligence.
In initial trials with California greenhouse SunSelect, Motorleaf’s technology led to a 50 percent reduction in yield prediction error in tomatoes. These results were enough for SunSelect to adopt Motorleaf’s algorithms after a short trial. However, yield prediction is just the first step in Motorleaf’s solutions for producers. “Better yield prediction is only the beginning for Motorleaf’s value to this sector,” says Motorleaf CEO Alastair Monk. “We’re ultimately producing dynamic grower protocols, which help manage everything from light and nutrients to predicting crop diseases before they happen, and optimized growing conditions that increase ROI – all based on real-time data.”
In this seed financing round, Fluxunit, along with financial investors Radicle Growth, Desjardins Capital, Real Ventures, BDC Capital and 500 Startups Canada invested $2.85 million USD in Motorleaf.
OSRAM recently expanded its horticulture portfolio with the acquisition of US-based specialty luminaire supplier Fluence Bioengineering. Via Fluxunit, OSRAM also acquired a stake in the horticulture start-up Agrilution in 2017. Intelligent lighting plays an increasingly important role in the food supply of rapidly growing mega-cities, and horticultural lighting solutions open up an attractive growth market for OSRAM.
Fluxunit is the corporate venture unit of OSRAM. We invest in early-stage startups that aim to change the world we live in using novel existing technologies and business models. We seek to accelerate your growth by leveraging OSRAM’s heritage in the high-tech lighting industry. Yet, our investment scope goes well beyond pure illumination applications. More information on Fluxunit is available at www.fluxunit.eu.
OSRAM, based in Munich, is a leading global high-tech company with a history dating back more than 110 years. Primarily focused on semiconductor-based technologies, our products are used in highly diverse applications ranging from virtual reality to autonomous driving and from smart phones to smart and connected lighting solutions in buildings and cities. OSRAM uses the endless possibilities of light to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. OSRAM’s innovations enable people all over the world not only to see better, but also to communicate, travel, work and live better. OSRAM has approximately 26,400 employees worldwide as of end of fiscal 2017 (September 30) and generated revenue of more than €4.1 billion. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt and Munich (ISIN: DE000LED4000; WKN: LED400; trading symbol: OSR). Additional information can be found at www.osram.com.