By Riley Kaminer
North Miami-based AgTech startup Envonics has made a name for itself over the last few years by pioneering an AI-powered system that allows farmers to monitor crops from anywhere at any time.
Now, the startup has announced that it has been acquired by another local company, RussKap Water, which has developed technology to generate clean drinking water from the supply of water in the air.
“We decided to partner with RussKap because the synergies in our ideas are there – we have the same mission,” Lior Barhai, co-founder and CEO of Envonics, told Refresh Miami.
That mission is no less than changing the world. More specifically: cultivating enough food to feed the world’s growing population. This includes places where there are issues with food access, such as inner cities and tribal reservations.
“RussKap’s self-sustaining units help us to deliver exactly what the plants need without plugging into a water source,” Barhai continued. “Our trajectory is just going up as we continue to work together.”
“We’re the leader in providing atmospheric water solutions – getting water to very hard-to-reach places,” asserted Yehuda Kaploun, the co-founder and president of RussKap Water, noting that the company works extensively with the US government and military.
Now, “85 to 90% of the world’s water is used in some capacity for agriculture,” added Kaploun. He explained that as RussKap started to look into the innovative tech powering the next generation of farming, one name kept coming up: Envonics. “They were a natural fit.”
Barhai and the six-person Envonics team will continue working on the project as normal. “We wouldn’t want it any other way,” Kaploun proclaimed of Barhai’s continued presence. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The Envonics and RussKap teams have already started brainstorming interesting ways to merge their two technologies. For instance, Envonics’ tech can allow a farmer to figure out exactly what nutrients their crop needs. Then, the farmer can adjust the water supplied by RussKap’s device to deliver this exact mix of nutrients.
Ultimately, this would enable farmers to grow higher quality food in higher quantities and at a lower cost – all thanks to AI. It also makes it possible to grow crops closer to the place where they will eventually be consumed. That’s more important than ever, considering there are 6,500 food deserts in the US (areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food).
The two companies also are actively pursuing partnerships in South Florida and beyond, including with food growers and retailers as well as local universities such as the University of Florida.
In many ways, this acquisition is a perfect example of the power of South Florida’s growing tech ecosystem. Barhai grew up in South Florida, left for college, and returned a few years ago to expand Envonics alongside co-founder Kumar Nikkhil Raj Agrawal. “Miami tech is starting to deliver on the hype,” said Barhai, adding the caveat that we’ve not reached our maximum level of growth yet.
“I’m excited to see more big companies start from here,” said Barhai. “And it’s not too far-fetched for us to be a billion-dollar company one day,” added Kaploun.
Photo at top of post: Lior Barhai, co-Founder & CEO of Envonics, and Yehuda Kaploun, co-founder & President of RussKap Water after signing the acquisition agreement.
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