Seatle-based AgriTech startup iUNU acquires CrossWalk to help indoor growers with precision agriculture solutions
The greenhouse fruit and vegetable market in North America continues to grow at the rate of more than 20 percent annually. As greenhouses expand their square footage to meet demand, however, labor shortages and rising labor costs pose challenges for growers. Technologies to facilitate grower productivity have become essential.
iUNU (pronounced “you knew”) is a Seattle, Washington-based industrial computer vision startup that provides precision agriculture solutions to indoor growers. iUNU’s LUNA, a robotic, vision-based, greenhouse management system provides the insights to solve these problems. We wrote about them back in 2020 after the agritech startup raised $7 million in Series A funding to transform the way indoor growers do business. The company has experienced exponential growth since then.
Today, iUNU announced it has acquired integrated pest management (IPM) startup CropWalk for an undisclosed sum. iUNU says the acquisition will help the two companies become more effective in their work towards reducing the cost of nutrient-rich food reaching urban centers while helping growers thrive.
Founded in 2013 and currently with over 40 employees across the world, iUNU leverages computer vision and machine learning to allow farms to better manage crop issues and optimize growth cycles. The LUNA system focuses on identifying growing maladies before the crop is affected and promotes better accountability of growing practices through the workflow management application.
CropWalk is an integrated pest management (IPM) tech startup that was founded in 2019 and has an expanding team with employees located in key regions across North America, including their Founder and Director of Partnerships, Charlie McKenzie, in the US Southeast, and the CropWalk Director of Operations, Robert Shearer, and Director of Science, Education, and Strategic Development, Ayana Stock, along the US West Coast.
Commenting on the acquisition, Adam Greenberg, CEO of iUNU, said: “Rising consumer demand is accelerating the growth of the greenhouse industry, but the massive shortage of both growers and manual labor requires a scalable machine vision solution to further produce supply. Having a renowned agronomy team to assist in deploying state-of-the-art technology like LUNA will have a profound impact on our constantly improving capacity to help growers increase quality, yields, and profits. 65% of growers are above the age of 55, and the shortage of qualified people is hitting the fast-growing industry hard. Something has to give, thus the future is the centralized management of distributed facilities.”
Charlie McKenzie, CEO of CropWalk, said: “We’ve always used remote monitoring technology to identify and mitigate conditions that foster plant pathogens. The mantra we live by at CropWalk is ‘Start Clean, Stay Clean.’ Working with the iUNU team and using LUNA, we can digitally walk a crop from anywhere at any time allowing our team to effectively prevent problems before they result in economic injury. Our clients want us around more often, with LUNA, we can be there all the time. It’s a win for growers, a win for CropWalk, and a win for iUNU.”