constellr wins Newcomer Award of the Digital Hub Initiative
The agricultural land available today could feed up to 10 billion people. Assuming efficient use of available resources. Using satellites in space, constellr aims to revolutionize the use of water in agriculture. The NewSpace startup won the Digital Hub Initiative's Newcomer Award.
A total of around 1,000 people followed the Digital Hub Initiative's Pitch Night 2023 in Frankfurt am Main. About 400 of them were present at the Palais and another 600 watched the live stream. They were part of the jury that had to be convinced by the pitches. Five startups competed in each of the two categories "Digital Hub Award" and "Newcomer Award". Christian Mittermaier from the FinTech Hub Frankfurt started the race for constellr. In just three minutes, the co-founder, CEO and managing director of the Freiburg-based startup explained why the company more than deserved to win the Newcomer Award.
Agriculture is both a polluter and an affected party
As he pointed out, our ecosystem is becoming unbalanced. Climate change is to blame, and agriculture is the biggest loser. But he is also on the side of the polluters. After all, as Mittermaier explained, land use contributes to 20 percent of global CO2 emissions. In addition, 70 percent of the world's available drinking water is used for agriculture, but 60 percent of it is wasted. So the potential for improvement is there. This was underlined in a study by the European Parliament. According to the study, smart agriculture could save 55 percent of the CO2 emissions needed by 2030.
constellr detects plant stress at an early stage
But Mittermaier said in his presentation that this requires more targeted information about the health of plants. In every field and on every plot. Measuring temperature, water content and carbon plays a crucial role. After all, it is not easy to determine whether a plant is healthy or not based on its appearance alone. However, with the technology developed by constellr, plant stress can be detected and counteracted at an early stage. A demonstrator (LisR) has been on the ISS since 2022 and shows that the technology works. The operational fleet is to be launched as early as 2024. By then, a total of 4.5 billion hectares of agricultural land should be able to be analyzed. Customers will then only have to pay EUR 4.80 per hectare per year in a subscription model. According to Mittermaier, early access customers have already signed contracts worth five million euros.
This was the Digital Hub Initiative
After the first five pitches, science journalist and author Ranga Yogeshwar took a look at the world of tomorrow. Under the title "The Culture of the New" he summarized in his usual entertaining way what we as humanity can look forward to, but also mentioned dangers. After all ten companies had pitched, the audience voted online. The Digital Hub Initiative's Newcomer Award was presented by Dr. Robert Habeck, German Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Protection, and Tarek Al-Wazir, Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing of the State of Hesse.
The jury included Bettine Schmitz (Auxxo), Dr. Isabelle Canu (Green European Tech Fund), Annahita Esmailzadeh (Microsoft) and Dagmar Bottenbruch (Silicon Valley Bank Germany).