At S2G, we believe that Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) has the potential to offer consumers and supply chain stakeholders resilient, sustainable, local, high-quality produce. Utilizing a variety of growing methods and formats, indoor and greenhouse producers can alleviate systemic nutrition and food access challenges while mitigating risks of outdoor production, such as climate uncertainty and labor shortages.
In our recent report Growing Beyond the Hype: Controlled Environment Agriculture, we share our prediction that the United States CEA market will grow 5x over the next 10 years, leading to ripple effects across the food system and more sustainable methods of production. We believe the maturation of CEA will lead to differentiated products, cost-competitive pricing, and a more resilient, traceable and trustworthy supply chain.
As growers look to capitalize on this high-potential market, there will be pressure to differentiate on cost, product selection, and facility productivity. Labor shortages and rising labor costs pose challenges for CEA operators and have led to greater adoption of technologies that increase productivity via automation, precision monitoring, and resource optimization. We are thrilled to announce our latest investment in iUNU, who offer a comprehensive greenhouse management platform that enables growers to do more with less.
iUNU is transforming the way indoor growers do business by harnessing the power of computer vision through its product offering, LUNA. The LUNA platform delivers a system of mobile and fixed cameras with high definition imaging and environmental sensors that measure and record everything down to the real-time growth rate of each plant. The software combines computer vision and machine learning technologies to continuously build detailed models of individual plants, unique among millions, throughout the day. LUNA detects even the most minute changes in the health of individual plants, giving growers the precise knowledge they need for proactive management. LUNA uses this insight to drive margin for growers through crop monitoring/forecasting, space utilization, and labor planning - while giving increased pricing leverage to the sales team.
The LUNA system surpassed one billion square feet of greenhouse analysis in 2019. As a result, achieving desired outcomes for its CEA customers has become both faster and more precise. The LUNA system has the most extensive knowledge from imaging on the market. While each grower using the LUNA platform owns their own imagery, the constant growth in volume of imaging data drives machine learning and increases the value that the system provides. LUNA learns from reading imagery, just as people do from reading a book, providing an immeasurable depth of experience and knowledge to LUNA’s customers.
We believe that controlled environment agriculture is enhancing the food system, and recognize that technology developments are crucial to driving economic feasibility and long-term viability of greenhouse and indoor growing. Emerging technology solutions that drive automation, precision growing and harvesting, and overall operational efficiency in greenhouses and vertical farms allow CEA producers to increase yield and achieve higher margins. S2G believes that iUNU offers significant value to growers via its comprehensive management platform and ability to improve produce quality, reduce waste, and increase labor efficiency. We are excited about upcoming iUNU developments and the expansion of value-add functionality for greenhouse growers.
S2G led iUNU’s Series A fundraise with Ceres Partners. iUNU will use the proceeds to scale its LUNA platform to meet increasing demand from global greenhouse producers and to further partnerships with the industry.
Welcome iUNU to the S2G Ventures Community! We look forward to our journey together as you continue to build technologies that make greenhouse growing more profitable and efficient.
At S2G, it's our mission to back trailblazing entrepreneurs who are working to build a healthier and more sustainable food system. Entrepreneurs are on the frontlines every day, working hard to innovate and bring new products to market that are making food healthier, more sustainable and more accessible. It’s our goal to support them in their journey and we look forward to continuing to support entrepreneurs that create better outcomes for human health and well-being. We invite you to learn about the innovative companies in our portfolio and hear their stories on our blog Seeding Change and podcast Where We Grow From Here.