Saturas raises $4 million

Editor’s note: News of the Saturas raise appeared in AgFunder News, CTech (Calcalist), GeekTime, Globes

Saturas announced it completed an investment round of $4 million. The investors are Hubei Forbon Technology Co. Ltd., a leader in the field of fertilizer additives for agriculture in China and worldwide, Ramat Magshimim, a collective farm in Israel, and Miguel Torres Winery SA, one of the largest wineries in Spain and owner of vineyards in California and Chile. Existing investors in Saturas also participated (Gefen Capital, Trendlines, the Israel Farmers’ Union, and Shlomo Nechama).

Saturas is developing an Advanced Decision Support System (ADSS) for automatic irrigation based on its miniature stem-water potential (SWP) sensor. Embedded in the trunks of trees, vines, and plants, Saturas’ sensors receive direct input from the tree or vine to provide real-time, accurate, and continuous information for optimized irrigation. Stem water potential (SWP) is a scientifically recognized, highly accurate parameter for determining water status in crops,* but today SWP can only be measured manually in a labor-intensive procedure. Despite several approaches to sensor-based irrigation – including measuring soil and leaf moisture – the market lacks a solution that combines precision, ease of use, and affordability.

A Saturas SWP sensor embedded in a trunk at trial site.

A Saturas SWP sensor embedded in a trunk at trial site.

Saturas has successfully completed field trials in citrus, apple, and almond orchards in Spain and Israel in cooperation with NaanDanJain Iberica S.L.U. and Netafim Ltd. Ramat Magshimim’s investment followed successful field trials completed in the farm’s apple orchard with Saturas’ technology. Saturas is currently completing the development of a modified sensor suitable for vineyards, which has been successfully tested in a vineyard in Israel’s Upper Galilee.

Anat Halgoa Solomon, co-founder and CEO of Saturas, comments, “We are thrilled to have new strategic investors on board. The funding is intended to complete technological development and to prepare for industrial production and market penetration, focusing on target markets where technology has a clear comparative advantage such as California, U.S. and Spain.”

Steve Rhodes, Chairman and CEO of Trendlines, added, “Saturas has made incredible progress since they began development in 2013. Their technology can truly provide farmers with the precision irrigation management system needed in the sector. At Trendlines, sustainable agriculture is one way to achieve our mission to improve the
human condition.”

Renzong Wang, Chairman of Hubei Forbon Technology Co. Ltd., remarks, “In the current market, Saturas’ solution represents a high-level achievement in precision irrigation, which will have far-reaching implications in both research and practice. To the Chinese plantation industry, the impact Saturas brings will not only be economical but social as well — while boosting yields for a large number of Chinese farmers, it will also make outstanding contributions to China’s water-saving in agriculture.”

Mireia Torres, director of Research-Development-Innovation (RDI), Miguel Torres Winery SA, adds, “The need for reliable, accurate tools to measure water status during the season is critical for optimizing quality – with reasonable yields. Saturas’ technology is very interesting and promising for us, and we see great potential for its use within our vineyards as well as throughout our industry.”

Yehuda Weinberg, CEO of Ramat Magshimim, commented, “Saturas’ technology represents a revolutionary solution that could change farmers’ irrigation strategy, thanks to the valuable data it provides that we don’t have access to today.”

**Stem water potential is a sensitive indicator of grapevine water status, Annals of Botany, 2001.