RWTH Aachen University and the Aachen Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK Aachen) have joined forces to take the Aachen-based start-up to the next level.
AACHEN, Germany, Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Entering a strategic partnership with GSI GmbH, a joint seed fund of the university and the IHK, CROP.ZONE now receives funding to enter the agriculture market in Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany through the innovative groundbreaker program.
CROP.ZONE specializes in the field of weed management and pre-harvest preparation of crops, providing farmers with innovative solutions to control weeds in a competitive, effective, and sustainable way. By pre-treating plants with an organically regulated conductive liquid (Volt.Fuel) and sequentially applying electrical charge with the help of an electrophysical weeder, the company helps control weeds with a very high degree of efficiency and lower energy consumption than conventional weeding technologies.
RWTH Innovation Sprint as a starting block
The new investment by GSI is just the latest chapter in the young start-up’s history. CROP.ZONE’s rapid success story began in late 2019 with the participation of the Department of Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Institute of Biology III (Plant Physiology) in the research project “Vegetation Control on Railroad Tracks” at RWTH Aachen University, before culminating in the official foundation of the start-up in January 2020 and the subsequent testing of the technology throughout the remainder of the year. How can one go from a research project to a start-up foundation in so little time? Turning research results into innovative technologies in less than 3 months requires extensive expertise, visionary thinking, and entrepreneurial ambition of the team members, but also the commercial viability of the envisioned product. Validating the commercial potential in turn requires the financial means to do so. This is where the RWTH Innovation Sprint came into play.
Tech transfer through the RWTH Innovation Sprint
As a pilot project of the RWTH Innovation Sprint, CROP.ZONE received financial support during the critical validation phase to develop and build a working prototype of their electrophysical weeder in combination with Volt.Fuel, the conductive fluid. The RWTH Innovation Sprint is a unique financing measure offered by RWTH Aachen University and managed by RWTH Innovation within the “Excellence Start-up Center.NRW” initiative.
Three months after their participation in the pilot phase of the RWTH Innovation Sprint, CROP.ZONE had a finished prototype that has since been tested in collaboration with farmers around Aachen. The commercial product that resulted from this testing will soon be put to use in a groundbreaker early adopters program in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands for the entire 2021 season.
“We are delighted to have found a strategic partner with roots in RWTH Aachen, helping us to adopt the latest technologies and bring them to market. The investment of GSI will be used to extend our patent portfolio and will be invested into further R&D,” concludes Dirk Vandenhirtz, CEO of CROP.ZONE.
Germany: +49 2408 59 80 333
Netherlands: +31 850659277
France: +33 0970 445 443
United States: +1 (919) 251 -6320
Switzerland: +41 (44) 585 34 88
Hong Kong SAR: +852 8193 0287
United Kingdom: +44 020 8133 7059
the crop.zone team is working hard to deliver farmers the best customer experience
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