In January, Greenlabs CEO Sang-Hoon Shin told the World Economic Forum that the effects of climate change were reaching the fast-food sector: drought issues in Idaho, a major exporter of potatoes to South Korea, had killed crops. As a result, McDonald’s in South Korea, his home country, announced it would swap out french fries with chicken nuggets and cheese sticks.
The incident illustrates how the effects of climate change on crops are already hitting major food corporations such as McDonalds and KFC, which has also had trouble providing fast food staples in various parts of the world.
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Shin, whose agtech startup works with farmers and produce buyers in South Korea, announced on Thursday it raised $38.4 million in debt financing, TechCrunch reported. The company has a suite of software and hardware applications that work to ensure bountiful growing seasons for farmers. Funding came from existing investors BRV Capital Management and SkyLake Incuvest.
Agtech funding to startups that leverage data and predictive analytics saw significant growth during the pandemic, when supply chain and logistics issues created grocery shortages across the world. This sort of technology uses data to predict weather changes, to advise how much water or nutrients a crop will need, and to understand how much farmers’ yield will sell for.
The company’s tools work alongside the entire agriculture chain to help manage crops and yield, sell that produce, and other tasks. The company says it can even help farmers find new distribution methods.
Greenlabs’ Farm Morning app, used by 900,000 farmers in South Korea, uses AI to help growers manage their crops to create better outcomes. It also allows farmers to connect with each other and ask for advice or share results.
Greenlabs also manages Sinsun Market, a business-to-business marketplace where farmers can connect with fresh produce buyers.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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