Heat waves, severe droughts and unexpected fluctuations in temperature are increasingly frequent situations affecting the production of a large number of crops, both in terms of quantity and quality. Aware of the problem advisor Agnes Sagario The agricultural engineer I size Five years ago, they did a greenhouse vertical planting project for aromatic lettuce – transported alive to the point of consumption – using hydroponics technologywhich consists of replacing the earth with mineral solutions.
The initial idea developed when they met Javier Ramiro s Antonio Rojas, founders of a company that grows “baby plants” (plants in their early stages of growth) in a 100% controlled environment. In 2019, both initiatives were merged, already under the current name ICONOKEHe left the greenhouse to move to an industrial warehouse that they had prepared for their activity. This was only the first step. Startup team research in Crops that were at high climatic risk And they came to the conclusion that the jumps were in a critical condition, so they focused all their efforts on it.
«It was one of the plants that had a more complex harvest, with Reduction in productivity per hectare of up to 30% and up to 60% in quality. Hijos de Rivera Corporation, the manufacturer of Estrella Galicia, was interested in the project, proposed a collaboration and after six months we stopped growing leafy greens, aromatic vegetables and “baby greens” to focus entirely on hops,” says Ines Sagario, CEO and co-founder of the startup, that just closed a file A €4.2 million investment round led by Cosecha de Galicia, the agricultural innovation engine of Corporación Hijos de Rivera. As the CEO highlights, four of the five “business angels” who bet on the team in their previous round in 2020 have invested again this time, which the German fund has also joined. Linux Impact Ventures s Azadi Spainfamily office of businessman Jose Maria Castellano.
The great advantage that the company brings to breweries is that by operating in a controlled environment, Eliminate dependence on weather conditions – Shops need plenty of water, long hours of light in summer and moderate temperatures – so they are able to guarantee year-round production with quality standards.
“We manipulated wind, light balance, temperature, humidity, air recirculation, and the level of carbon dioxide in the room. The combination of these factors requires a rigorous research process that allows us to do so Produces quantities equivalent to those achieved in the field in a good year for each manufacturer and at a higher quality’ explains the tent of meeting. In their operations, they do without pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, use renewable energies and have a water footprint 20 times smaller thanks to a recycled irrigation system.
The company has two warehouses in the Community of Madrid, located in Alcobendas and San Sebastián de los Reyes, where hops are used by the Galician group for the brewing industry. IPA issued under respect! by La Tita RiveraAvailable in the brand’s stores in Coruña, Madrid and Vigo. The next challenge is to build a 1,000 square meter pilot plant in Galicia before rising to commercial scale with some 10000 m2 facilities at the beginning of 2024 in the same areaHand in hand with its strategic partner. Later, they will internationalize. They also work with artificial intelligence to anticipate and correct crop problems before it is too late, taking advantage of the high sensitivity of their facilities.
Ikunoki’s potential beer market goes beyond. “The properties of hops essential oils make it possible to use them in them Functional foods, cosmetics and medical applications. So far, it has been anecdotally used due to supply limitations, but we hope to unlock it thanks to our technology and knowledge,” says the CEO of the company, which employs 11 people with diverse profiles such as agronomists, chemists or biotechnologists.