Priva announces €10,000 “Horti Heroes” challenge winner!

Nordetect, a biochemical analytics startup that develops lab-on-a-chip systems, was named the winner of Priva’s “Horti Heroes” challenge for their portable nutrient sensor. Led by Priva’s Horticulture Innovation Lab (Phil), this competition was designed to discover and help showcase pioneering technologies in the horticulture space by awarding a cash prize, and providing the winner with the potential opportunity to form a strategic partnership with Priva.

Focused on sustainability, Nordetect concentrates on developing technologies which support the optimization of external inputs to both reduce waste and improve business outcomes in agriculture. To this end, the company created a portable device that measures nutrients in soil, water, or plant tissue within minutes. Armed with the information this product provides, a greenhouse grower can ensure appropriate amounts of these expensive fertilizers are being taken up by the plant to maximize quality and yield, substantially reducing the amount literally going down the drain. The fact that sustainability is also a core principle at Priva, and that timely access to the information Nordetect’s product provides will certainly benefit growers, definitely worked to their advantage in the decision to declare them the victor.

“Wait, did he say we won? I was awestruck!” recalled Nordetect CEO, Keenan Pinto, upon hearing the news. “Of course the prize money is great, but what is of even more value is the potential for a strategic partnership with Priva, who is the market leader in the high-value crop space — our target market. Lately Priva has been making waves in the medicinal crop industry. These are crops that have a nutrient requirement change between their vegetative and generative phases… and if you can get the fertilization correct, you can also achieve a significantly higher flower rate and yield. So we see this potential partnership as not only a win for us, but also for Priva and its clientele.”

While Priva’s Horticulture Innovation Lab was founded as an internal startup to explore and develop cutting-edge solutions in horticulture with a focus on AI and machine learning, part of its mandate is to engage industry trailblazers to form collaborative relationships through its “Friends of Phil” program and is in part the genesis of their participation in the Horti Heroes Challenge.

“There was some stiff competition, but Nordetect’s technology is a real game-changer” said Alastair Monk, Priva’s VP Digital Services – Horticulture who heads the Phil group. “Greenhouse growing is all about precision, and having accurate metrics at your fingertips when they are needed is crucial for success. Nordetect achieves in minutes what greenhouses today wait weeks for by relying on lab testing. In the end, the decision was obvious, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with Nordetect.”