“We’re helping farmers optimize their food production through more efficient yield management,” says Hamza Qadoumi, CEO and founder of Ecobloom. “Also, cost reduction comes in through a significant reduction in labor and yield increases up to 2 times more per year through accurate predictions. The system allows us to reduce food waste up to 20% through yield prediction and our deviation analysis.”
Ecobloom, a startup based in Stockholm, provides two different solutions to the vertical farming space. The first solution is a B2B product, namely an AI solution ensuring automated growing of the plant and monitors plant food production at the same time. With already a successful consumer product on the market, their focus is to offer smart technology solutions for the indoor farming market.
The pilot farm
Smart sensor - EcoSense
The company provides a software-connected plug-and-play solution named EcoSense. EcoSense is a small box that can basically be placed anywhere on the farm, such as above shelves to monitor plant growth. EcoSense comes in two formats: a camera for growth and plant analysis, sensors for water analysis and sensors for air analysis. Next to that the sensors predict yield, so lots of data can be gathered to keep improving this. Hamza notes, “We’re now looking at venturing with flowers and fruit greenhouse growers in Spain, Holland, The UK and the Middle East region.
The core solution of the device is hardware, sensors and cameras. Through these elements, the environmental sensors and plant environment is captured by data collectors and cameras throughout the plant’s life cycle. According to Hamza, farmers need about 1 device per 100m2. The wifi-connected cameras and sensors are modular solutions, using machine learning to constantly monitor and analyze plant development, health and stress. Through camera recognition, a certain yield outcome and deviations can be predicted.
In his earlier years, Hamza has always been fascinated by agriculture. Therefore he combined his engineering skills with his interests, which resulted in the founding of Ecobloom. We started talking about vertical farming and saw the need for monitoring and analyzing plants. Unfortunately, that mostly goes in hand with high costs. Therefore we wanted to provide a more affordable solution to help farmers optimize their food production.
AI platform - EcoCloud
Then there’s also an AI platform software, where data is harvested in order to analyze and process in combination with algorithms to predict the outcome of the crops. Anything that doesn’t follow the right curve will be spotted and the farmer is automatically warned. “We expanded into this AI data cultivation management system for indoor farms such as greenhouses, container farms, vertical farms and basically every CEA growing space,” explains Hamza.
EcoCloud is a cloud base analysis through climate and visual data captured from the farm, while providing actionable easy-to-read insights to growers via mobile and web dashboards. The system gathers and stores data, processes and analyzes plant data, using autonomous decision making and a data library.
Ecobloom raised over 600.000 Swedish Kronen in pre-seeds to scale its solution in Sweden successfully. Hamza adds, “In order to scale, we’re bringing it to market faster. The need is growing and we want to be the first one in Europe to provide such a platform with AI solutions.’ The company is planning its next funding round later this year.
Expanding into new features
Ecobloom has its own R&D facility with a 100m2 cultivation area where leafy greens are cultivated. In this environment, AI and technology are tested. The company will soon start piloting with large European indoor farms. “We’re currently in the preparation phase to install a solution in a much bigger context than our testing facility,” adds Hamza.