Green for good: 9 agritech startups in Southeast Asia fighting deforestation

The world is facing major climate change problems, and one of the biggest factors is deforestation.

Southeast Asia in particular is home to thousands of diverse plant and animal species making up 20 per cent of the world’s tropical forests.

However, these forests today are being torn down aggressively for agriculture and urbanisation purposes.

According to Earth.org, if deforestation continues at this rate, it has the potential to wipe out over half of the Earth’s biodiversity in 2100.

But that’s not all, aggressive clearing of land has also shown to have a harsh effect on humans. For example, Malaria has long suspected to be a consequence of deforestation in Brazil.

As explained by National Geographic, ‘the virus is one of many infectious diseases generally confined to wildlife that has spilled over to people in areas undergoing rapid forest clearing’.

Some experts have even gone as far as to state the next pandemic could possibly emerge from the world’s forests.

While that is the current reality, there are also many companies now that are using tech to come up with sustainable solutions to tackle deforestation.

In honour of Earth Day on April 22, e27 has rounded up seven agritech startups that are aiming to directly or indirectly curb deforestation in Southeast Asia with their solutions.

The information in this article has been acquired from the e27 Startup Database and other platforms including Tracxn, Crunchbase, and Greenqueen.

Throughout our research, we discovered that deforestation remains an open opportunity for startups in SEA to seize. The number of startups in the region tackling deforestation is still relatively small, especially when compared to the magnitude of the problem.

We hope that this changes in the future as the world work together to fight climate change.

Here are the seven startups:

Bambooloo

Bambooloo is TNC’s (The Nurturing Co’s) flagship product that consists of a range of sustainable consumer products made from bamboo pulp. They include bamboo kitchen rolls, facial tissues, and natural fiber reusable masks, which are sourced from bamboo groves in China and made in ISO-certified factories.

“7,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper. This number is said to triple by 2050 according to the World Wildlife Fund. Not only does that lead to a huge level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but it also destroys the natural habitat for many magnificent animals. Bamboo, which is the fastest-growing material in the world, stores carbon in its root, not its bark-like trees do and thus cutting it down does not release the level of carbon dioxide that trees do. Bamboo is also grass not a tree and regenerative, unlike a tree after being cut. A roll of Bambooloo TP requires 90 per cent less water (9.8L) to produce and 70 per cent less carbon (132g),” said Bambooloo co-founder David Ward.

Country of Origin: Singapore

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Razer

CocoPallet

In Asia, 170 million trees are cut down annually to produce 1.7 billion one-time use wooden pallets, which are mainly used for furniture.

To solve this problem, CocoPallet came up with a solution to use discarded coconut as a material that can fully replicate wooden pallets. The company utilises the natural glue present in coconut husks called the lingin to bind the material to create a sturdy, lightweight, and fire-resistant product.

Country of Origin: The Philippines, The Netherlands

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Undisclosed

Farm-In-A-Box

Farm-In-A-Box is a startup that addresses challenges faced by novice growers by providing them starter planting kits, which can be progressively updated as they learn more.

It offers selected 3 best no-maintenance plants; the first is ready to eat in 5 days, the other gives good luck and the final one purifies the air.

“Imagine, every human growing just 1 plant on his table. The combined effort will create a massive impact altogether. I am sure that this won’t end on just one plant per person, it will multiply exponentially. Growing is such a therapy!,” Palak Kumar, co-founder of Farm-In-A-Box, said.
“We just need to get the trend started. We just need to educate a bit and help people start growing. Growing in cities will actually mark an end to the major challenges like the problem of food security and will create a sufficient supply of chemical-free homegrown edibles. We envision cities where every home grows a part of its own food, grows air-purifying plants, and hence every city area is free of pollution,” she further added.

Country of Origin: Malaysia, India

Total funding: Not announced

Investors: Self funded

iGrow

iGrow is a platform that allows ordinary people to earn money by funding local farmers. Similar to the popular mobile game Farmville, users need to decide how much to invest in on which plant, and wait for the crop to bear fruit on the iGrow website.

Its unique model promotes micro-farming, thus preventing the need for vast areas of land.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: US$175,000

Investors: Rekanext, Google Launchpad Accelerator

Impact Terra

Impact Terra is an agritech startup that provides governments and smallholder farmers with climate analytics tools. It also provides actionable insights to smallholder farmers that can improve their crops. The company operates through its Golden Paddy application which provides farmers with alerts, chat, product, and financing options.

Also Read: Need of the hour: How agritech platforms can protect farmers from climate change

Focused on reducing climate risk, the company aims to be productive and have a sustainable environmental impact.

Country of Origin: Myanmar

Total funding: US$3 million

Investors: Geodata for Agriculture and Water

Poptani Asia

Poptani Asia offers infrastructures for indoor farming online. Its products help in setting up soil-based gardens to soil-less gardens for small-scale indoor farms and big urban spaces.

By providing companies with indoor farming materials, the agritech company indirectly contributes towards lower exploitation of land.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Qeerad

RiTX

An Android-based application, RiTX Bertani focuses on the records of farming activities to help farmers apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), a proper cultivation practice with traceability principle that helps guarantee the safety of the produces, starting from the preparation all the way to the post-harvest products management. The records allow farmers to get recommendations on a more precise farming activity.

By using precision agriculture methods the startup increases yield in a smaller space, thereby reducing the need for more trees to be cut.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Undisclosed

Sustenir Group

Sustenir Group is an indoor farm that uses methods such as controlled environment agriculture, vertical farming, and hydroponics to grow plants. While the majority of farmers use pesticides, Sustenir Group doesn’t use any making its products healthier.

By growing its plants indoors the company not only reduces carbon footprint but also diffuses spatial distribution, therefore drastically decreasing deforestation.

Country of Origin: Singapore

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Temasek Holdings

Tunas Farm

Another indoor vertical farming company that produces and supplies organic microgreens. Its product offering includes kailan, kankung, red spinach, green romaine, Lolla Rossa, and more. What makes the company unique is that it offers people IoT farming tools kits with integrated automation and online monitoring to grow greens in their homes.

Also Read: The alarming environmental impact of Bitcoin mining

The company not just avoids the use of extensive land to farm but also encourages people to start growing their own greens.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: US$1 million

Investors: Gayo Capital

Other notable agtech companies tackling deforestation

Ecosia

The only search engine in the world that uses ad revenue to plant trees. So far the company claims to have planted over 80 million trees in Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, and other countries. Ecosia is also now an official search engine option alongside Google Search, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo!

Country of Origin: Germany

Total funding: US$15,000

Investors: Tim Schumacher

Dendra Systems

A tech company that uses AI and custom-built drones to plant trees for large-scale ecosystem restoration. Dendra Systems works on behalf of global natural resources companies to restore land all over the world. According to the company, an upgrade to its technology will accelerate the rate at which it can regain natural woodland terrain for land that has lost all the flora and fauna.

Country of Origin: UK

Total funding: US$21.2M

Investors: SYSTEMIQ, Lionheart Ventures, Airbus Ventures, VentureSouq, At One Ventures, Future Positive Capital

Image Credit: Matt Howard

The post Green for good: 9 agritech startups in Southeast Asia fighting deforestation appeared first on e27.

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The world is facing major climate change problems, and one of the biggest factors is deforestation.

Southeast Asia in particular is home to thousands of diverse plant and animal species making up 20 per cent of the world’s tropical forests.

However, these forests today are being torn down aggressively for agriculture and urbanisation purposes.

According to Earth.org, if deforestation continues at this rate, it has the potential to wipe out over half of the Earth’s biodiversity in 2100.

But that’s not all, aggressive clearing of land has also shown to have a harsh effect on humans. For example, Malaria has long suspected to be a consequence of deforestation in Brazil.

As explained by National Geographic, ‘the virus is one of many infectious diseases generally confined to wildlife that has spilled over to people in areas undergoing rapid forest clearing’.

Some experts have even gone as far as to state the next pandemic could possibly emerge from the world’s forests.

While that is the current reality, there are also many companies now that are using tech to come up with sustainable solutions to tackle deforestation.

In honour of Earth Day on April 22, e27 has rounded up seven agritech startups that are aiming to directly or indirectly curb deforestation in Southeast Asia with their solutions.

The information in this article has been acquired from the e27 Startup Database and other platforms including Tracxn, Crunchbase, and Greenqueen.

Throughout our research, we discovered that deforestation remains an open opportunity for startups in SEA to seize. The number of startups in the region tackling deforestation is still relatively small, especially when compared to the magnitude of the problem.

We hope that this changes in the future as the world work together to fight climate change.

Here are the seven startups:

Bambooloo

Bambooloo is TNC’s (The Nurturing Co’s) flagship product that consists of a range of sustainable consumer products made from bamboo pulp. They include bamboo kitchen rolls, facial tissues, and natural fiber reusable masks, which are sourced from bamboo groves in China and made in ISO-certified factories.

“7,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper. This number is said to triple by 2050 according to the World Wildlife Fund. Not only does that lead to a huge level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but it also destroys the natural habitat for many magnificent animals. Bamboo, which is the fastest-growing material in the world, stores carbon in its root, not its bark-like trees do and thus cutting it down does not release the level of carbon dioxide that trees do. Bamboo is also grass not a tree and regenerative, unlike a tree after being cut. A roll of Bambooloo TP requires 90 per cent less water (9.8L) to produce and 70 per cent less carbon (132g),” said Bambooloo co-founder David Ward.

Country of Origin: Singapore

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Razer

CocoPallet

In Asia, 170 million trees are cut down annually to produce 1.7 billion one-time use wooden pallets, which are mainly used for furniture.

To solve this problem, CocoPallet came up with a solution to use discarded coconut as a material that can fully replicate wooden pallets. The company utilises the natural glue present in coconut husks called the lingin to bind the material to create a sturdy, lightweight, and fire-resistant product.

Country of Origin: The Philippines, The Netherlands

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Undisclosed

Farm-In-A-Box

Farm-In-A-Box is a startup that addresses challenges faced by novice growers by providing them starter planting kits, which can be progressively updated as they learn more.

It offers selected 3 best no-maintenance plants; the first is ready to eat in 5 days, the other gives good luck and the final one purifies the air.

“Imagine, every human growing just 1 plant on his table. The combined effort will create a massive impact altogether. I am sure that this won’t end on just one plant per person, it will multiply exponentially. Growing is such a therapy!,” Palak Kumar, co-founder of Farm-In-A-Box, said.
“We just need to get the trend started. We just need to educate a bit and help people start growing. Growing in cities will actually mark an end to the major challenges like the problem of food security and will create a sufficient supply of chemical-free homegrown edibles. We envision cities where every home grows a part of its own food, grows air-purifying plants, and hence every city area is free of pollution,” she further added.

Country of Origin: Malaysia, India

Total funding: Not announced

Investors: Self funded

iGrow

iGrow is a platform that allows ordinary people to earn money by funding local farmers. Similar to the popular mobile game Farmville, users need to decide how much to invest in on which plant, and wait for the crop to bear fruit on the iGrow website.

Its unique model promotes micro-farming, thus preventing the need for vast areas of land.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: US$175,000

Investors: Rekanext, Google Launchpad Accelerator

Impact Terra

Impact Terra is an agritech startup that provides governments and smallholder farmers with climate analytics tools. It also provides actionable insights to smallholder farmers that can improve their crops. The company operates through its Golden Paddy application which provides farmers with alerts, chat, product, and financing options.

Also Read: Need of the hour: How agritech platforms can protect farmers from climate change

Focused on reducing climate risk, the company aims to be productive and have a sustainable environmental impact.

Country of Origin: Myanmar

Total funding: US$3 million

Investors: Geodata for Agriculture and Water

Poptani Asia

Poptani Asia offers infrastructures for indoor farming online. Its products help in setting up soil-based gardens to soil-less gardens for small-scale indoor farms and big urban spaces.

By providing companies with indoor farming materials, the agritech company indirectly contributes towards lower exploitation of land.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Qeerad

RiTX

An Android-based application, RiTX Bertani focuses on the records of farming activities to help farmers apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), a proper cultivation practice with traceability principle that helps guarantee the safety of the produces, starting from the preparation all the way to the post-harvest products management. The records allow farmers to get recommendations on a more precise farming activity.

By using precision agriculture methods the startup increases yield in a smaller space, thereby reducing the need for more trees to be cut.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Undisclosed

Sustenir Group

Sustenir Group is an indoor farm that uses methods such as controlled environment agriculture, vertical farming, and hydroponics to grow plants. While the majority of farmers use pesticides, Sustenir Group doesn’t use any making its products healthier.

By growing its plants indoors the company not only reduces carbon footprint but also diffuses spatial distribution, therefore drastically decreasing deforestation.

Country of Origin: Singapore

Total funding: Undisclosed

Investors: Temasek Holdings

Tunas Farm

Another indoor vertical farming company that produces and supplies organic microgreens. Its product offering includes kailan, kankung, red spinach, green romaine, Lolla Rossa, and more. What makes the company unique is that it offers people IoT farming tools kits with integrated automation and online monitoring to grow greens in their homes.

Also Read: The alarming environmental impact of Bitcoin mining

The company not just avoids the use of extensive land to farm but also encourages people to start growing their own greens.

Country of Origin: Indonesia

Total funding: US$1 million

Investors: Gayo Capital

Other notable agtech companies tackling deforestation

Ecosia

The only search engine in the world that uses ad revenue to plant trees. So far the company claims to have planted over 80 million trees in Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, and other countries. Ecosia is also now an official search engine option alongside Google Search, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo!

Country of Origin: Germany

Total funding: US$15,000

Investors: Tim Schumacher

Dendra Systems

A tech company that uses AI and custom-built drones to plant trees for large-scale ecosystem restoration. Dendra Systems works on behalf of global natural resources companies to restore land all over the world. According to the company, an upgrade to its technology will accelerate the rate at which it can regain natural woodland terrain for land that has lost all the flora and fauna.

Country of Origin: UK

Total funding: US$21.2M

Investors: SYSTEMIQ, Lionheart Ventures, Airbus Ventures, VentureSouq, At One Ventures, Future Positive Capital

Image Credit: Matt Howard

The post Green for good: 9 agritech startups in Southeast Asia fighting deforestation appeared first on e27.

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