Agrilyst, an online platform that provides data analytics to greenhouse growers, took top honors at TechCrunch Disrupt's start-up pitch competition on Wednesday.
The start-up beat out 25 others to take home $50,000 cash, and, just as importantly, a higher profile in the start-up community.
"You win this competition and immediately your inbox is flooded with investor emails, which I know 'cause it just happened," said founder and CEO Allison Kopf.
Agrilyst helps farmers better manage operations by pulling in and analyzing data through an online dashboard. It's a platform created by co-founder Jason Camp, a tech veteran who has built companies acquired by Google and Yahoo. It helps growers manage tasks such as harvesting, enabling them to adjust the timing of the growth cycle based on yield performance. Data is drawn from sensors on greenhouse hardware, uploaded from documents or manually entered.
"It may not be the flashiest and it may not be consumer-driven, but it's needed in the [agriculture] industry and the industry is big," said Kopf.
Kopf has four years' experience as a hydroponic grower and estimates the addressable market in the U.S. alone to grow to $9 billion. "Tech is now interested in agriculture, and that's damn exciting!" said Kopf.