Spotlight On: Reducing Contamination From Agrochemical Use

Catalyst AgTech is developing a technology to reduce environmental contamination from agrochemicals. Based on breakthrough research, Catalyst AgTech paves the way for improving agrochemical and pesticide use. In this interview, Shalom Nachshon, CEO of Catalyst AgTech, explains why this company is not only good for business, but good for the earth too.

How did the idea for your company develop?

Shalom Nachshon

Shalom Nachshon, CEO of Catalyst Agtech, presents at Agrivest 2013.

The original technology was developed by Prof. Brian Berkowitz and Dr. Ishai Dror of the Weizmann Institute of Science. I came across it while looking for interesting innovations that could be successfully commercialized. This specific technology stood out better than anything else I looked at, and I was determined to push it forward for commercialization. Through a mutual friend, I met with Nitza [Kardish], CEO of Trendlines Agtech, in 2012, and together we decided to pursue it further within the incubator.

Why do you personally care about your company’s product?

In addition to the company’s major noble goals — preventing environmental contamination while enabling safe use of pesticides to increase crop yields — it has huge potential to become a leading product in the agrochemical market.

Why should others care about the solution you are developing?

In the next decade, the world will be pressed to produce more food for more people, using the same (or even limited) resources. We will likely need to continue using pesticides to make it happen, but we cannot afford to continue to contaminate our soil and groundwater. This is a severe conflict that Catalyst AgTech answers and solves.

What advice do you have for a new entrepreneur with a great idea?

  • Above all, find the right people to make it happen. Never underestimate experienced management skills.
  • Being an entrepreneur can be an emotional roller coaster. Don’t let that push you off track. Don’t be euphoric when something wonderful happens. Don’t be depressed and want to give up when something fails badly. Be determined and persistent with your mission and lead your team accordingly.
  • Keep an open mind to changes and new ideas. Never close the door on good (or even better) ideas just because yours is or was a great one.

As you know, the Trendlines mission is “creating companies that improve the human condition”. How is your company doing this?

Our company answers a market need and at the same time provides a sustainable solution for the use of agrochemicals. We hope to do well and do good at the same time.

Watch Shalom’s presentation from our 4th Annual Investment Event in Israel on January 28, 2014.


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