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Scaling Sustainable Farming: NEC X Invests in Verdi Expeditions

Courtesy of Verdi Expeditions
Courtesy of Verdi Expeditions

NEC X, the Silicon Valley innovation accelerator backed by NEC’s advanced technology portfolio, has announced a new investment in Verdi Expeditions, a scalable platform for farm automation and personalized plant healthcare. This strategic investment will see NEC X collaborate with Verdi to enhance its technology and expand its geographic reach, while also augmenting NEC's CropScope initiative. This partnership aims to improve farm irrigation practices in Portugal in collaboration with Kagome Co, and will empower Verdi’s farm automation capabilities, supporting agricultural production on a larger scale.

This collaboration exemplifies the mission of NEC X's Elev X! programs, designed to foster strategic alliances that bridge technological gaps, drive innovation, and accelerate the adoption of transformative startups globally. Verdi's entry into the Elev X! Boost program will provide the startup with a blend of capital, strategic partnerships, and integration opportunities within NEC’s extensive tech ecosystem.

“With increasingly severe weather and resource scarcity globally, it’s clear that we need new, innovative agricultural infrastructure that is both efficient and sustainable,” said Shintaro Matsumoto, President and CEO of NEC X. “NEC X is committed to addressing this urgent issue through our strategic investment in Verdi, whose innovative solutions are set to transform farming practices. We’re confident Verdi will make a lasting impact as part of Elev X! Boost and the CropScope initiative.”

Arthur Chen, CEO and Co-founder of Verdi, also expressed enthusiasm for the partnership. “Our strategic partnership, collaboration, and integration with NEC X are invaluable as we enhance our AI capabilities and scale our platform to reach new markets. With NEC’s international reach and deep sector expertise, we are uniquely positioned to be a global leader,” said Chen. “NEC X’s support is more than an investment – it’s a partnership focused on startup success.”

Founded in 2020 by Canadian entrepreneurs Arthur Chen and Roman Kozak, Verdi is addressing the scaling challenges of farm automation with intelligent devices that transform existing farm infrastructure into AI-powered smart systems. These systems enable farmers to boost crop and workforce productivity while significantly reducing technology adoption costs. Verdi's innovations have already driven sustainable impact for its customers, including some of the world’s largest food brands, saving over 30 million liters of water in 2023 alone.

NEC’s investment aligns with its long-term commitment to promoting sustainable and profitable farming, including the development of its AI-enabled agricultural information and communication technology platform, CropScope. NEC has also established joint ventures like DXAS Agricultural Technology LDA with Kagome Co., Ltd., to further these goals.

This latest investment by NEC X joins a roster of other notable investors in Verdi, including SVG Ventures, which made the initial introduction to Verdi at THRIVE’s accelerator demo day in Calgary during Stampede 2023. SVG Ventures has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable agriculture by announcing a follow-on investment in Verdi through its Pioneer Fund. This funding aims to propel Verdi’s expansion and enhance its personalized plant healthcare platform across North America.

Since its initial investment, Verdi has shown remarkable progress by collaborating with leading food brands to tackle pressing agricultural challenges in sectors such as wine, fruit, and nuts. Verdi’s technology has increased marketable yields by 10% and significantly reduced water and fertilizer usage, achieving up to 60% water savings and 10% less fertilizer usage. John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Ventures, commended Verdi’s progress, stating, “Verdi is leading the charge in tackling the critical agricultural challenges brought about by climate change. Our decision to increase our investment reflects our confidence in Verdi’s technology and its ability to significantly enhance crop yields and efficiency for farmers globally.”

Shintaro Matsumoto of NEC X echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the strategic alignment of the investment with NEC’s vision of leveraging advanced technology to address global challenges. “We are excited to support Verdi’s mission of transforming agriculture through sustainable practices. This investment aligns perfectly with our vision of leveraging advanced technology to address global challenges. We look forward to seeing the impact Verdi will continue to make in the agtech space.”

Verdi’s scalable platform personalizes plant care with advanced data analytics and intelligent devices, integrating seamlessly with existing agricultural infrastructure for precise water and nutrient management. The follow-on investment by SVG Ventures and NEC X will support Verdi’s ongoing development and deployment of its platform, which is also used for diverse agricultural applications including soil health management, open-field climate control, and the development of drought-resilient crops.

Arthur Chen expressed gratitude for the continued support, stating, “We are grateful for the continued support from SVG Ventures and NEC X as we advance our mission to optimize agricultural productivity and sustainability. This additional investment will enable us to accelerate our technology deployment, expand our reach, and continue delivering significant benefits to our partners and the planet.”

The additional investment by SVG Ventures and NEC X underscores their commitment to pioneering solutions that enhance agricultural efficiency and sustainability, ensuring a healthier planet for future generations.


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