TechnologyAgtech Koidra Receives $3.77M Grant from USDA to Develop Artificial Intelligence Technology...

Agtech Koidra Receives $3.77M Grant from USDA to Develop Artificial Intelligence Technology in Partnership with Universities – GeekWire

Sojong Smith, chief business officer of Koidra (left) and Kenneth Tran, founder, CEO and chief technology officer, outside their offices in Seattle and York. (GeekWire Photos/Lisa Stifler)

news: Seattle-based indoor farming startup Koedra I have received a Grant of $3.77 million In partnership with Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and the University of Arizona. The grant was awarded for a period of four years by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Technology: Founder Kenneth Tran He was a principal applied scientist for Microsoft Research for more than seven years before launching Koidra in 2020. He applies model-based reinforcement learning, a sub-field of machine learning, to the challenge of improving indoor farming. Reinforcement learning focuses on real-time decision-making and improvement.

Using this technology, Koidra has twice win – win The International Self-Warming Challenge, a competition held at the prestigious Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.

In the four-month competition, the Koidra team used its software to remotely adjust greenhouse parameters such as lighting, ventilation, heating, irrigation, fogging and blackout screens to grow superior lettuce heads.

Financing: Koidra previously raised a file $4.5 million seed round Earlier this year. The new grant will allow the company to work with university experts to further develop and validate data and models that inform decision-making to improve production growth.

Agtech is an increasingly hot space for venture capital. Agricultural technology companies last year raised $10.9 billion worldwide through more than 900 deals, according to research from PitchBook.

the reason: In its presentation to the USDA, the team noted that the United States has a limited pool of farmers with local expertise and technology in Controlled Ecological Agriculture, or CEA.

“The development of CEA technology through domestic R&D capacity in the United States is largely lagging behind,” the researchers wrote. Historically, new technologies were imported from Holland, the world leader in CEA. This heavy reliance on outside technologies in a rapidly expanding industry creates unbalanced access and affordability.”

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