India’s automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra, has invested $4.3 million in Switzerland based Agritech startup, Gamaya SA, for an 11.25% stake in the startup by purchasing 300 common shares and 30,469 Series B preferred shares. ICOS Capital, VI Partners and some existing investors also participated in the about US$7.5-million Series B funding round.
Gamaya is a spin-off from one of a world’s leading university, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2017 ranked EPFL as the world’s 11th best school for Engineering and Technology.
Founded in 2015, by Dragos Constantin, Igor Ivanov and Yosef Akhtman, Gamaya uses the world’s most advanced solution for diagnostics of farmland using a unique constellation of patented hyperspectral imaging technology, drone-based deployment, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.
Gamaya improves efficiency & sustainability of farming by offering compelling agronomy solutions, enabled by AI and hyperspectral imaging, in which light reflected by the crop are detected and measured in spectral bands to predict the crop’s health.
Mahindra has made investment in Gamaya throught its Farm Equipment Sector (FES), a part of the $20.7 billion Mahindra Group. Through this investment, Mahindra will make advanced farming solutions easily accessible to the global farming community, in line with the company’s Farming 3.0 strategy.
Rajesh Jejurikar, President, FES – Mahindra & Mahindra, said, “We at Mahindra are investing in future-ready technologies to provide complete solutions to the global farming community. Our strategic association with Gamaya will enable us to develop and deploy next-generation farming capabilities such as precision agriculture and digital farming technologies. With this partnership, we expect to set new benchmarks in farming and its related services.”
According to Gamaya website, “Almost every farming issue (weeds, diseases, nutrient deficiency, etc.) changes a physiology of the plant, and therefore affects its reflective properties. Healthy crop and crop that is affected by disease reflect the sun light differently. Using hyperspectral imaging it’s possible to detect very small changes in the physiology of the plant and correlate it with spectrum of reflected light.”
Gamaya has developed a unique hyperspectral camera that has 41 spectral bands allowing to make 41 measurements of spectrum versus 5-7 measurements done using multispectral cameras, which the startup claims to result in a significantly higher information content of the data acquired.
Gamaya has processing methodology that combines hyperspectral imaging data with other sources including satellite observations and terrestrial sensors.