The agricultural industry has seen a tremendous transformation in recent years, and the CEE region is not left behind. However, traditional farming methods have been proven unsustainable, with some leading to environmental degradation, food insecurity, and economic challenges. The agricultural sector is turning to technology to solve these challenges, hence the rise of agritech startups.
Solutions such as precision farming, automation, sensors, drones, AI, and flexible financing for farmers among others help farmers to optimize their operations and make better decisions based on real-time data.
By using precision farming techniques, farmers can reduce waste, conserve resources, and increase yields. For example, sensors can detect soil moisture levels and nutrient deficiencies, allowing farmers to adjust their irrigation and fertilization practices accordingly – which in turn leads to more precise application, better yields, and reduced costs.
By implementing such innovative technologies and sustainable practices, agritech startups are striving to constantly modernize the way we farm and consume food. In this article, we present a list of 15+ agritech startups that are transforming the industry across CEE with different solutions and approaches.
Give us a shout at [email protected] if you feel that we’ve missed any exciting agritech startups and solutions from the region.
Agritech startups using data analytics
Solution: Agrivi is a Croatian agritech startup that aims to solve the global food problem through the digitalization of agriculture and switch the farmer’s decision-making reliant on traditional practices and historical knowledge to the new data-driven and fact-based decision-making.
Agrivi’s farm management software supports a set of digital agriculture solutions for farms, food companies, agribusiness banks, ministries of agriculture and other important stakeholders of the agri-food value chain to support them in adopting the change and empower their digital transformation projects. In November 2020 the Croatian company raised €4.8M Series A round, led by investors such as South Central Ventures, European Investment Fund and Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Solution: Serbian agritech startup Agremo is an intuitive agricultural platform and data analysis software that uses AI to perform analytics from aerial imagery to provide actionable data and valuable information about plants and fields.
Agremo solution allows farmers and other agriculture professionals to have a detailed insight into what exactly is happening on their fields at any given moment throughout the growing season, and to enable them to successfully plan, monitor and analyze agricultural activities, as well as improve crop performance, increase yields, and lower production costs. Founded in 2017, Agremo has raised a total funding of $1.3M over three rounds.
Solution: Cropt is a Novi Sad-based deep tech startup that develops AI solutions for agriculture of the future, founded as a spin-off from BioSense Institute. Its solutions for smart sowing strategies increase farmers’ profits for 30% while simultaneously reducing the risk and environmental footprint. The startup combines satellite, soil, weather and field data and apply state-of-the-art AI algorithms for yield prediction, risk assessment and optimisation of decision-making. Customized solutions include smart hybrid characterization and crossing by combining the records collected from field trials with climate, soil, and satellite data to deliver advanced machine learning models.
Name: Quantis Labs
Solution: Quantis Labs is a Hungarian startup that has developed SmartVineyard – a device and software to monitor micro climate. Its LHT sensors are integrated leaf moisture, humidity and temperature sensors which measure weather data after capturing data they send it to servers, for disease prediction and analysis.
Agritech startups using fintech
Name: Almacena Platform
Solution: Almacena Platform is a coffee sourcing hub that works both as an agritech and fintech solution. The Bulgarian startup allows enterprise coffee buyers to procure coffee directly from the coffee producers, negotiate terms, sign contracts, and execute the deals digitally.
Almacena’s solution also integrates finance, storage, logistics, insurance, and data collection from the producer to the warehouse or factory. In October 2022, the company raised a €3.5M seed round, with plans to invest the capital into expansion in the US market and explore other agricultural verticals, besides coffee such as cacao and tea.
Solution: Tarfin is a Turkish agritech platform for flexible farmers financing through a Point of Sale (POS) network. Its solution uses big data analytics to reduce the costs of fertilizers, feed and other farm inputs, in order to make agriculture profitable even for the country’s smaller and underserved farmers.
The company has so far managed to build a network of over 800 partner agri-dealer locations in more than 70 cities across Turkey, helping over 32 thousand farmers finance purchases of agricultural inputs worth $80M. At the end of 2021, Tarfin raised a $8M pre-Series B round to reinforce its local market position, work on product development, and enter the Romanian market.
Name: Farma Na Dlani
Country: Czech Republic
Solution: Farma Na Dlani is a Czech-based online marketplace to buy agriculture products. The platform is made for local food producers such as farmers, beekeepers, bakeries, breweries, butchers, fishermen, poultry farmers, flower producers, and ornamental plant producers among others, and enables to sell their products online directly to customers.
Solution: Agroxy is an Ukrainian blockchain enabled ecosystem of regional ITC platforms that facilitates domestic and cross-border trade for agricultural commodities. The platform has plenty of functions, which make trading safe and convenient, such as an interactive map of agro producers and grain storage.
The platform also features an in-build calculator of approximate logistic cost via railway and trucks. Buyer and seller sides undergo checks via companies’ house registries and BankID personal verification, which reduces the risks of fraudulent activities. Agroxy is also using a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which helps create a trusted business environment and enables new services for domestic and cross-border supply chain management of agricultural commodities.
Agritech startups with plant protection solutions
Name: Atar AI
Solution: Atar AI is a Serbian agritech startup whose main product is an AI-powered system that reduces chemicals usage in fields up to 70% by enabling any existing spraying machine to perform precise weed detection and spot spraying.
In some cases spraying the unwanted plants instead of full field surface can reduce chemical usage up to 80%. Atar is aiming to limit the excessive use of chemicals in Serbian fields, which can have a detrimental effect and destroy crops while also polluting sources of water and intoxicating animals. The startup recently became a member of Novi Sad’s science and technology park, where it will focus and contribute towards the further development of the country’s agritech ecosystem.
Name: Makabi Agritech
Solution: Makabi Agritech is a Croatian startup that uses a combination of innovative technologies in the process of preparing agro-ecological plant protection and nutrition formulas, and transferring knowledge and technology to other companies engaged in the same field.
The company uses a 3-in-1 encapsulation technology for plant protection, nutrition, and controlled release of bioactive components as an innovation of green chemistry for sustainable agricultural production.
The solution reduces environmental pollution, mitigates climate change, and increases the biopotential of produced food. The startup was founded to build on the broad agronomy, microbiology and chemistry-related knowledge and represents a bridge between private companies and the public sector, such as universities, and research institutions.
Solution: AgronetPro is a manufacturer and supplier of smart agricultural equipment. The Polish company has developed sensor-enabled devices such as temperature and humidity measurement sensors, leaf wetness monitoring sensors, rain gauges, and flow meters.
Solution: AgroSense is a Hungarian startup that develops a crop cultivation and monitoring system, that combines soil measurement, plant status observation, insect and irrigation monitoring solutions. The solution uses sensors to collect data and provides vital information for nutrient management, and it also delivers insect trap data for monitoring swarming and larval hatching.
Agritech startups using automation
Solution: Plantalux is a Polish startup that develops lighting systems that helps enhance plant growth in greenhouse conditions. The company manufactures many kinds of LED COB diodes, which have different spectrums, adjusted for needs of specific plants, help to boost efficiency, reduce costs and increase the lifespan of the light source even to 100 thousand hours.
The lighting system can be remote-controlled by the mobile application any time the user finds it convenient. Plantalux has been active in the Western Balkans, by working on projects regarding indoor farming and horticulture in countries such as North Macedonia.
Solution: ONDO is Bulgarian agritech startup whose solution is a modular system for the monitoring and control of plants in real-time which allows farmers to reduce costs associated with water, energy, and fertilization. ONDO is installed in greenhouses, open farms, vineyards, and orchards and combines hardware with a software platform.
At the end of 2021 ONDO closed a €1M round from a group of Bulgarian VCs and business angels with the goal to develop its partner network of system integrators, its automation software, and expand internationally.
Country: Czech Republic
Solution: CleverFarm is the solution for the challenges facing sustainable farming, while bringing profizability to farming. The platform provides personalized recommendations for optimized input usage and increased yields, addressing issues such as overwatering, legal restrictions on fertilizers and pesticides, and labor shortages. Their semi-automated decision tool saves input costs while increasing sustainability impacts, making farming more profitable and sustainable.
Solution: AgriBot is a Polish startup that has developed a robot for the automation of various farming operations in orchards and plantations. The robot “AgriBot” is track mounted and can turn at any point with very little turning radius, while the company also claims that the machine does not require any direct supervision and can be programmed for various tasks.
Solution: Hydropolis is a developer of vertical hydroponic smart mobile cultivation carts. The Polish startup offers commercial growing solutions by providing an automated system for irrigation, lighting, and maintenance of cultivation parameters. The company’s solution is capable of producing leafy vegetables and is accompanied by software for remote monitoring and control.
Agritech startups using biotechnology
Solution: NSoilab is a biotech startup that aims to produce eco-friendly microbial-based products intended for sustainable and organic agriculture, in order to produce high-quality and healthy food, while also improving soil quality.
The main focus of the Novi Sad-based startup is to develop microbial fertilizers with an advanced formulation based on biopolymers, as well as biopesticides. Founded in 2020, NSoilab’s main product is called FertyColl, which is a microbial fertilizer based on biopolymers that promote plant growth and nutrition in an ecologically sustainable way.
Solution: Nasekomo is a Bulgaria-based insect rearing company that is currently producing insect protein and oil for the animal feed industry, and insect fertilizer for the agriculture industry. Leveraging the principles of circular economy and zero-waste production,
Nasekomo is the first and at present the only insect rearing factory in Southeast Europe.
The company specializes in technologies and genetics for bioconversion through the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) insect, considered as one of the most powerful bioconversion agents. Its larvae grow 10 thousand times in 12 days, turning 60% of what they eat into body mass, packed with quality nutrients and rich in protein.
Solution: Hipromine is a biotech startup working on research and development related to the breeding technology of insects and development of products from the insects applicable in the variety of industries.
The Polish company was able to find substances applicable in pharma, agriculture, and cosmetic industries. Its variety of products have animal feeds that can be used as an alternative to soybean extract, oil products that can be used as an ingredient in feed and cosmetic industries, soil products that can be used as organic fertilizer, and tech products that can be used for the industrial farming of insects.
Agritech startups in apiculture
Solution: Pollenity is a Bulgarian startup that provides beehive monitoring solutions. Its main solution is called Beebot, a suite of sensors to collect data from beehives. The data collected from the sensors is analysed and sent to the user which can be accessed through its dashboard, BBoard. The startup has been listed on the BEAM stock exchange, where it has been raising additional funds.
The company has been developing its products for the last 5 years in close cooperation with bee experts and scientists, and has clients on five continents. Pollenity is also developing e-commerce platforms where it strives to create transparent and sustainable honey markets.
Name: Beenotes Plus
Solution: Beenotes Plus is a Greek startup that enables beekeepers to have an inspection recording mobile application based on voice recognition technology. The mobile app is paired with a web-based data processing application, which analyzes and interacts with all the inspection data recorded by the beekeeper, that have been automatically transferred to the database.
The Beenotes platform aims to become a handy tool for the beekeepers who need to be in control of their beehives and apiaries and are looking to drastically improve the genetic characteristics of their honeybees and increase the quantity and quality of their honey production. By using the application, users can collect the production data, disease existence, needs, and food availability of individual hives and manage to increase the performance of apiaries.
Solution: DigiGrow is a digitally integrated platform for remote monitoring and control of greenhouse ops, beekeeping, logistics, and other industrial uses. It consists of a circuit board connected to a mesh of sensors which stream data points like temperature, humidity and images and to the ops components like irrigation pumps, fans and air coolers, and so on.
The platform offers comprehensive support for the entire organic production flow, empowering farmers, certification authorities, and buyers alike. By using DigiGrow, farmers can produce food that adheres to the rigorous standards of organic production, leading to enhanced environmental sustainability and providing increased transparency and safety for the end consumer.
Solution: The Beekeeper’s Partner mission is to connect different beekeeper groups with intelligent, modern and valuable applications.
One of the applications helps Queen Bee Breeders manage their breeding process and predict how many queen bees they may expect in the following weeks, allowing them to respond swiftly to customer queries.
In future, we want to focus on helping queen bee breeders on their journey to find a bee race more resistant to the Varroa parasite by supporting the breeding process with AI and direct feedback from the beekeepers.
The second application is directed to beekeeping unions, helping them to manage their members, fees and grants from the European Union.
Country: Czech Republic
Solution: Sparkleton is a Czech startup that is developing a beehive monitoring system made up of sensors which are inserted between various beehive parts. The sensors can stream data through RF link to a mobile device or a GPRS router, and each sensor has a capacity to store data history for up to 30 days. The company is also developing mobile and online applications, including their integration with logistics systems and marketing tools.
Agritech startups with sustainability solutions
Solution: SuSea is a Greek startup that produces sustainable seafood by increasing the shelf life, and creating nutritious and healthy seafood products that can reduce food waste.
The process removes the water that is needed for spoilage bacteria to grow and hence extend shelf life without using preservatives, heat treatment, or other shenanigans. SuSea performs shelf-life modeling and prediction using machine learning and proprietary data.