Crop Enhancement Appoints Industry Veteran Jean Pougnier to CEO 

Pougnier brings more than 30 years of global experience as a senior agtech executive to lead the next phase of growth

SAN JOSE, Calif.— Jun 17, 2020: Crop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable plant-based crop-protection products that protect or enhance crop yields, announced the appointment of Jean Pougnier to CEO from his former role as chief business officer, succeeding Kevin Chen, Ph.D., who moves to a new role as an independent board director of the company, effective June 22.

Pougnier takes leadership of Crop Enhancement at an opportune time in the company’s growth trajectory as further field validation of its CropCoat® technology platform brings the product towards commercialization with key partners and distributors. A highly respected, seasoned executive from the agrochemical industry, Pougnier brings decades of management and business development experience over 30+ years at industry leaders DuPont, FMC, and AMVAC. Notably, he served as global business development director for DuPont’s multi-billion-dollar crop-protection portfolio, and led business development and marketing for AMVAC prior to his joining Crop Enhancement last December.

“It’s an exciting time for Crop Enhancement. Our field trials have proven that our initial product, CropCoat, is a very effective deterrent to pests for several important crops, so we’ve engaged with key partners to optimize it for more applications,” saidPougnier. “I look forward to working closely with our partners to launch Crop Enhancement’s unique technology and provide to growers outstanding pest control in a sustainable way. I would like to thank Kevin for his strong leadership and tireless efforts, which have positioned Crop Enhancement for continued growth.”

“With a full slate of field trials placed for the 2020 season on our CropCoat platform and numerous evaluation engagements underway with agrochemical strategic partners, Crop Enhancement has officially entered into its next phase of growth,” said Chen. “With these objectives secure, I am pleased that the board has approved my nomination of Jean to succeed me to lead the charge in this next chapter of our company’s trajectory. I’m extremely proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure as CEO and thankful to have worked with such talented employees, visionary investors, and dedicated partners. Crop Enhancement has never been stronger. As a director, I’ll continue to work with Jean and our board to realize the maximum potential of our business.”

“We were thrilled to bring Jean on board last December as chief business officer, and he has proven invaluable in our efforts to identify strategic partners and establish key go-to-market relationships around the globe,” said Andrew Chung, an early investor in Crop Enhancement and managing partner at 1955 Capital. “Jean’s extensive leadership, deep industry knowledge, and solid track record as a top executive at DuPont will propel Crop Enhancement into this next phase of growth, something he already demonstrated during his tenure.”

“We are delighted to have Jean as our next CEO, and I am certain he will have high impact,” said Marcus Meadows-Smith, chairman of the board of Crop Enhancement. “Thanks to Kevin’s effective leadership over the last 4.5 years, Crop Enhancement advanced from a seed-stage startup through Series A and B equity raises. Kevin recruited a world-class team and established Crop Enhancement as a valuable Silicon Valley company with an agronomically proven crop-protection product now in trials with multiple top-tier strategic partners. As Kevin begins his next challenge as a venture capital investor, we are grateful for his service as CEO and look forward to his continued contributions on the board.”

Crop Enhancement has developed proprietary sustainable biological products that, when sprayed using conventional farm equipment, beneficially protect plant surfaces—leaves, stems, and fruit—to significantly improve their resistance to pests and diseases and decrease the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications.

The company’s first product, CropCoat®, offers growers a new sustainable solution with effective modes of action that has demonstrated yield protection and enhancement relative to synthetic chemistries in several global crops. CropCoat can also be applied in conjunction with agricultural inputs such as nutrients and other active ingredients.

About Crop Enhancement

We work at the intersection of materials science and biology to bring new and effective solutions to agriculture that help growers protect their crops and the environment, while meeting the global need for sustainably produced foods. Our investors include Spruce Capital Partners, 1955 Capital, Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, Bandgap Ventures, Davinia Investment Ltd, and Alexandria Ventures. For more information, visit crop-enhancement.com and follow @CropEnhancement on Twitter.

Our patented CropCoat® technology helps coffee growers control the coffee berry borer, which threatens the livelihoods of coffee growers worldwide

Coffee is one of the most important tropical commodities, with global production estimated to be over 165 million 60-kg bags and annual revenue exceeding USD 200 billion. Around 25 million farming households depend on coffee for their living. Coffee is grown and processed in more than 70 countries. The top 5 coffee-producing countries account for more than 70% of global output. Brazil is the leading producer with an estimated annual output of 53 million 60-kg bags, followed by Vietnam (28 million bags), Colombia (14 million bags), Indonesia (12 million bags) and Ethiopia (7 million bags).

Coffee rust and the coffee berry borer are the biggest enemy of the coffee growers. At Crop Enhancement we have been working on a biological solution that will help coffee growers deal with these two enemies. Let’s start with the coffee berry borer.

The tiny beetle is endemic to central Africa and over the last 100 years has spread to most coffee-producing countries through contaminated seeds. The coffee berry borer (also known as the coffee borer beetle) has optimized itself well for a life in the coffee berry. As its name implies, it has strong mandibles that enable it to drill into the berry through either the central disc or the side walls.

Once inside the berry, it lays several dozen eggs, which become larvae that start eating the beans. There are about 10 females for every male, and new offspring mate inside the seed. Males remain in the berries for their 40-day lifespan. Females, which can live up to 150 days, are fertilized a few days before they generally disperse to colonize more berries. The same plant can host three to five generations of beetles.

Crop damage and pest control responses

Three types of coffee borer damage have been reported: 1) premature fall of young berries, 2) increased vulnerability of infested ripe berries to fungus or bacterial infection, and 3) reduction in both yield and quality of coffee. The economic fallout from this damage effects the livelihood of more than 20 million families across several continents. Coffee berry borer damage also affects the gastronomic qualities of the coffee, causing our cup of coffee to taste bitter. As a result, growers with significant borer infestations see the marketability of their crop severely impacted.

Coffee berry borers are very difficult to manage with insecticides because they are protected by the berries. Growers have been using a variety of toxic pesticides. The most widely used insecticide was endosulfan—now banned because of its significant toxicity. Nowadays, growers often use another chemical: the now infamous Chlorpyrifos. The Chlorpyrifos label recommends the use of a respirator and other significant personal protection equipment (PPE). Its label also states that Chlorpyrifos is toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, small mammals, and birds. The use of this product can significantly endanger the health of the growers and their family, and have a harmful impact on the local ecosystem if not used properly. However, in a tropical environment characterized by high heat and humidity, the workers are generally not adopting the extensive PPE recommendations.

Crop Enhancement’s CropCoat® technology is displacing toxic insecticides

Soon however, growers will be able to use Crop Enhancement’s products. Our CropCoat® product forms durable, biodegradable coatings on plant surfaces that camouflage plants from pests. Insects do not recognize coated surfaces as desirable locations for feeding or reproduction. And if they ultimately choose to feed on the plant, they often consume the coating, which displaces nutrition from their diets. The malnutrition and starvation that results causes the pest population to collapse, providing effective control without the use of conventional chemical pesticides.

To demonstrate CropCoat performance, we carefully selected more than 20 trial sites in Latin America and tested our product using industry-recognized testing standards such as randomized plots with at least four replications. In those trials, we compared CropCoat against the newest and best synthetic chemicals available.

Our results have shown that there are no statistical differences in controlling coffee berry borers between CropCoat and those industry-leading products. We will continue in the next couple of years to test CropCoat in coffee with our partners in Brazil, Columbia and Central America. In the meantime, we will soon start applying for registrations in a number of Latin America countries so that growers can add a sustainable solution to their toolbox to control this devastating pest—and will no longer need to use one of the industry’s most toxic pesticides.

Crop Enhancement Raises $8M Series B to Help Growers Protect Crops with Safe Coatings 

Additional funding enables agtech innovator to capitalize on near-term opportunities to bring much-needed sustainable solutions to market; investors include Spruce Capital Partners/MLS, 1955 Capital, Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, Davinia Investment Ltd., and Alexandria Ventures

SAN JOSE, Calif.— Apr. 14, 2020: Crop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable agrochemical products that protect or enhance crop yields, has raised an $8M Series B financing round led by Spruce Capital Partners/MLS. Joining Spruce are existing investors 1955 Capital (managed by Andrew Chung), Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, and new investors Davinia Investments Ltd. and Alexandria Ventures.

The funding will be used to support strategic partnership development with agrochemical companies and regional distributors, broaden field trial targets in high-value fruit and vegetable segments, and advance regulatory efforts in the United States, European Union, Brazil, and Central America.

“This latest financing reflects the successful de-risking of multiple aspects of our business: we’ve advanced our core technology, brought in top talent, addressed regulatory requirements, and cultivated several market-entry approaches,” said Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement. “Helping growers protect or enhance crop yield is even more important during the current crisis. We are grateful for the support of our investor syndicate and look forward to welcoming other like-minded organizations and investors to join our mission.”

Crop Enhancement has developed proprietary sustainable bio-compatible chemistries that, when sprayed using conventional farm equipment, beneficially protect plant surfaces—leaves, stems, and fruit—to significantly improve their resistance to pests and diseases and decrease the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications.

The company’s first product, CropCoat®, offers growers a new sustainable solution with effective modes of action that has demonstrated yield protection and enhancement relative to synthetic chemistries in several global crops. CropCoat can also be applied in conjunction with agricultural inputs such as nutrients and other active ingredients.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned about how their food was grown and made. In response, the agriculture and food industries are investing in new approaches to improve production,” said Greg Young, managing director at Spruce Capital Partners. “That’s why we’re so excited about Crop Enhancement, whose technology provides growers with crop protection solutions that employ softer and safer chemistries.”

“A growing middle class coupled with economic advancement across Southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa, has ratcheted up pressure on growers globally to improve crop production output and sustainability,” said Andrew Chung, managing partner at 1955 Capital. “We’re pleased to be supporting Crop Enhancement as they pursue their mission to help growers around the world face this macrotrend.”

The Series B raise,  along with recent appointments of industry experts Jean Pougnier and Dr. Damian Hajduk to its leadership team, enables Crop Enhancement to focus more resources on its go-to-market initiatives and broaden its IP portfolio.

Crop Enhancement has achieved several important milestones in its field trial programs of the CropCoat product. Recent field trial highlights include:

About Crop Enhancement

We work at the intersection of materials science and biology to bring new and effective solutions to agriculture that help growers protect their crops and the environment, while meeting the global need for sustainably produced foods. Our investors include Spruce Capital Partners, 1955 Capital, Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, Bandgap Ventures, Davinia Investment Ltd, and Alexandria Ventures. For more information, visit crop-enhancement.com and follow @CropEnhancement on Twitter.

Media contact:

Tim Cox, ZingPR, tim@zingpr.com, 650-369-7784

Crop Enhancement raises $8m Series B to support trials for its ‘safer chemistry’ pesticide coating

“When you think about putting a film around something in the food space, you most likely think about  packaging or perhaps one of the growing number of shelf life enhancement startups that coat produce in a special material to stop them going bad. Last year, for example, Sufresca raised a $500,000 seed round for its edible fruit and vegetable coating to reduce food waste and curb plastic packaging while Apeel Sciences scored a $70 million Series C in 2018 for a shelf-life extending coating made from agricultural byproducts.

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Crop Enhancement Expands Leadership Team with Chief Business and Technology Officers 

Jean Pougnier joins agtech innovator as chief business officer, Dr. Damian Hajduk
moves to chief technology officer; Crop Enhancement’s CropCoat® product performs in field trials on coffee and almond crops

SAN JOSE, Calif.— Dec. 11, 2019: Crop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable agrochemical products that protect or enhance crop yields, has appointed Jean Pougnier as chief business officer. Mr. Pougnier will lead the company’s efforts to identify strategic partners and establish relationships with go-to-market partners and influencers that will position the company for maximum commercial success. As part of the expansion of the leadership team, Damian A. Hajduk, Ph.D. is promoted to chief technology officer from his former role as VP of research and development.

“With our initial product, CropCoat, continuing to prove its effectiveness in field trials, it’s time to accelerate on two key fronts: strategic go-to-market partnerships and product development. These important executive appointments enable Crop Enhancement to accelerate our commercial initiatives while ensuring we broaden our technical capabilities to address additional market opportunities,” said Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement.

Mr. Pougnier has held leadership positions in the crop protection industry for more than 25 years and brings a solid track record of business and marketing leadership that includes 35 years at DuPont. He was most recently VP of business development at AMVAC. Prior to that role, he was the global business development and strategic planning director for DuPont’s multi-billion-dollar crop protection business, and eventually facilitated integration of part of that business into FMC in 2017. His exceptional understanding of the marketplace helped propel the DuPont business to anticipate market trends and outperform the competition. He also led the negotiation for several highly innovative licensing agreements involving DuPont’s novel blockbuster active ingredients, with the outcome of creating significant incremental revenues and earnings for DuPont.

“To address increasing market demand for sustainably grown food, and heightened regulatory pressure on synthetic pesticides, growers and farmers need new technologies to complement their existing approaches,” said Jean Pougnier, chief business officer of Crop Enhancement. “I am looking forward to connecting with leaders in the agrochemical sector to discuss how Crop Enhancement can help expand growers’ portfolio of crop protection approaches.”

Rounding out Crop Enhancement’s leadership team, Dr. Hajduk has been appointed chief technology officer. He joined Crop Enhancement in April 2017 and has been responsible for steering the company’s product development, regulatory, field, and manufacturing efforts. In his new role as CTO, Dr. Hajduk will direct all technology-related aspects to maximize the potential of the company’s existing platform while identifying opportunities to expand the company’s IP portfolio and develop new applications for the platform.

Crop Enhancement hits trial program milestones

These appointments follow several key milestones achieved in the company’s trial programs with its CropCoat® product, which enables growers to protect high value fruit, vegetable, and tropical crops through physical modes of action (MOAs). Recent highlights include:

Crop Enhancement’s products target annual crop values in excess of $100 billion worldwide. To protect or enhance crop yields in these regions, Crop Enhancement has developed proprietary films and formulations that modify plant surfaces (leaves, stems, fruit, and seeds) to improve their resistance to pests and diseases and decrease the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications. Crop Enhancement’s formulations can also be applied with agricultural inputs like nutrients, fertilizers and other active ingredients, enabling farmers to precisely control their release, thereby reducing costs and improving yields.

About Crop Enhancement
We work at the intersection of materials science and biology to bring new and effective solutions to agriculture that help growers protect their crops and the environment, while meeting the global need for sustainably produced foods. Our investors include MLS Capital, 1955 Capital, Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, and Bandgap Ventures. For more information, follow @CropEnhancement on Twitter.

Media contact:

Tim Cox, ZingPR, tim@zingpr.com, 650-369-7784

Crop Enhancement provides a pathway to improving how we grow food and will have a lasting impact on today’s food production chain. But what are the regulatory hurdles that must be overcome in order to get to market?

 

Today, I sat down with Jerry Hjelle, Ph.D, D.A.B.T., an expert in food safety and global regulatory affairs who is excited about the prospects for Crop Enhancement’s technology in different applications. Jerry is a member of the Crop Enhancement Industry Advisors Board and actively advises the company on global regulatory strategy.

Jerry is president of Hjelle Advisors LLC, a regulatory science, regulatory affairs, and research and development consulting network offering services and strategies for startups and early-phase companies. Previously, he worked at Monsanto from 1986 to 2015 in various director or vice president positions in Monsanto’s nutrition/consumer products and agricultural products businesses, including as vice-president of Regulatory and vice-president of Science Policy. In these roles, Jerry was involved with many breakthrough products including aspartame, neotame, glyposhate, and several agricultural and veterinary drug biotechnology products. Jerry’s complete bio can be found here.

What in particular interests you about Crop Enhancement?

Sustainable agriculture is a key interest of mine, and Crop Enhancement is dedicated to the pursuit of finding safer and sustainable approaches to pest management. Crop Enhancement’s technology is elegant, demonstrably safe, and addresses an unmet need to control economic insect pests and pathogens. As an advisor, I like to get involved with a company early on to shape the product strategy and ensure compliance with regulations in various countries. Making the right decisions early in the product development phase is very important — the business decisions a company takes today can ensure avoidance of wrong turns. That said, de-risking product development is critical at every stage, not just pre-launch.

What are the major trends shaping the regulatory landscape worldwide?

There’s mounting pressure on developers, regulators, downstream food companies and farmers themselves to grow and market safer products. Unfortunately, the complexity of how agriculture works and how we determine whether a product is safe for a particular use leads to confusion, and some groups use this confusion to sow distrust in science globally. In the case of pesticides, there are emerging alternatives to older, more toxic chemicals — and Crop Enhancement’s approach is both novel and safe. 

At the same time, consumers today have high expectations of corporate responsibility, and they are interested in having farmers of all sizes —not just the very big operations— implement sustainable operations. These factors are influencing the behavior of both companies and regulators, and those companies that focus on scientific breakthroughs to enable a lower ecological footprint will be valuable. 

Another trend we’re seeing is the emergence of trade wars. Should these escalate significantly, they may prolong time to market in affected countries. Although product launches occur one country at a time, the regulatory strategies to enable commercial success in one country can be determined by the approvals needed in importing countries.

Increasingly, food safety and local/international agricultural economies are intertwined. Ag is a large part of the economy for many countries—especially in the less developed countries—and so ag exports are increasingly important to governments and their regulatory bodies. For example, growers in one country may use pesticides that are legal domestically. However, in the country to which that food is to be exported, that same pesticide may be banned or may be acceptable at such low levels that disruptions in trade are a possible outcome. 

What’s driving the need for safe and ecologically friendly crop protection strategies?

Regulatory pressure is a key driver here, and it’s especially noticeable in two areas:

  1. Longer-term, there is a need for systematic removal of older pesticides that represent human applicator toxicity concerns, residue issues, or products that are more prone to be formulated or applied incorrectly (leading to human or animal poisoning or environmental damage). Over the years, companies have developed new chemistries to address these concerns and lower the so-called “pounds on the ground” application rates in order to lessen target effects. 
  2. Removal of specific pesticides from some markets after new data indicate adverse effects. For example, unexpected effects of chemicals on beneficial insects like honey bees has led to the EU’s decision to ban neonicotinoid-based pesticides.

What do you see as the implications for other pesticides and longer-term trends?

A key aspect of understanding the safety of pesticides, or any product for that matter, is a clear description of the dose required to produce toxicity and a well-defined intended use to allow an estimate of exposures. If the pesticide has low toxicity compared with the estimated exposure, then the product has a high safety margin. Some of the older, more toxic pesticides yield safety margins that are now too low when calibrated against the modern standards of leading regulatory agencies in the US, EU, Japan, and other countries.

Because of toxicology- and development-related costs, and regulatory review timeframes for a truly new active ingredient, only a handful of global companies have the capacity, from a resources perspective, to be successful. But regulatory agencies globally have developed guidelines that recognize that some products are inherently safer, based on mechanism of action and other attributes. Therefore, it is essential to build in the environmental and human health friendliness aspects into the entire R&D effort. 

The base technology that Crop Enhancement is developing accomplishes just that. It leverages an understanding of insect pest feeding behavior and critical application periods, and uses non-toxic ingredients that will be an important addition to the grower toolbox.

From a regulatory standpoint, what is the appeal of using a product such as CropCoat?

I think there’s a growing understanding that insect pest management doesn’t always have to involve neurotoxins or other mechanisms, but rather can leverage understanding of insect behavior using a more systems-based approach for crop protection. Also, the testing and securing approvals for new active ingredients or formulations is getting more complicated each year. 

Crop Enhancement’s products are formulated from components that are well understood, are of low toxicity, and are arguably much safer for the environment. Many regulatory agencies have specific testing and approval pathways for products or formulations that meet these characteristics. Although each country is somewhat different, most have easier paths to approval and market, and this is a key benefit of Crop Enhancement’s approach.

Q&A with Mike Wilbur, Kevin Chen on Cavallo Ventures’ Latest Bet

“With its investment, Cavallo Ventures aims to accelerate the development of Crop Enhancement’s breakthrough crop protection technology in the United States — particularly for the production of high-value fruit and vegetable crops.

CropLife chatted with both Mike Wilbur, President and CEO of Cavallo Ventures, and Kevin Chen, CEO of Crop Enhancement, on the background of the new investment, and what we can expect to see next with the company’s technology and marketing.”

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Cavallo Ventures Makes Strategic Investment in Crop Enhancement to Advance Sustainable Agriculture

 

The venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis–a recognized leader in the marketing and distribution of crop protection, precision agriculture technology, seed and nutritional products–aims to accelerate the application of sustainable crop protection technologies for high-value fruit and vegetable crops

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Jan 22, 2019: Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis, has invested in Crop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable agrochemical products for enhancing crop yields. With its investment, Cavallo Ventures aims to accelerate the development of Crop Enhancement’s breakthrough crop protection technology in the United States — particularly for the production of high-value fruit and vegetable crops.

Crop Enhancement’s CropCoat® technology targets major fruit and vegetable crops across North America, Southeast Asia, Greater China, Latin America, Europe, and West Africa. To boost crop yield, Crop Enhancement develops proprietary films and formulations that modify plant surfaces (leaves, stems, fruit and seeds) to improve plants’ resistance to pests and diseases while reducing the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications.

Crop Enhancement’s formulations can be applied with agricultural inputs such as nutrients, fertilizers and other active ingredients, enabling growers to reduce costs and increase crop yields. Beyond yield and profit increase, CropCoat improves grower wellbeing by supporting worker wellness and safety, as well as enabling growers to implement sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) techniques.

Wilbur-Ellis serves the needs of thousands of growers who are responding to the demands of food companies and consumers for sustainably produced foods by implementing IPM approaches that employ chemical as well as biological crop protection approaches for the production of high-value specialty crops. This investment reflects the efforts of Wilbur-Ellis and Crop Enhancement to address significant trends that are reshaping how the world produces food:

  1. A globally recognized need to carefully manage the use of crop protection inputs through stringent regulations that ban several classes of products known to harm the environment;
  2. Tighter restrictions on maximum residue levels (MRLs) on food products — in particular for imported products; and
  3. The powerful market force of hundreds of millions of consumers who demand sustainably produced foods.

“Growers around the world tell us that they want solutions that are good for their farms as well as the environment,” said Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement. “In trials we’ve completed, our first product, CropCoat, is proving to be an effective and sustainable crop protection technology. As we expand our efforts to fruits and vegetables here in the U.S., we’re delighted to welcome Cavallo Ventures into the fold.”

“We’re glad to be able to back the Crop Enhancement team as they develop innovative solutions to long-standing challenges in production agriculture,” said Mike Wilbur, president and CEO of Cavallo Ventures. “Their unique approach addresses trends in the food and ag industry calling for products that are more sustainable and friendlier for growers, their farms and the global ecosystem.”

About Crop Enhancement
Crop Enhancement is a venture-backed agriculture technology corporation based in San Jose, California. Founded by renowned materials scientist and serial entrepreneur Dr. David Soane, Crop Enhancement is developing sustainable agrochemical formulations that employ advanced and environmentally friendly products to improve crop yields, reduce the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications, and enable precise and effective delivery of active ingredients and fertilizers. Visit us at www.crop-enhancement.com.

About the Wilbur-Ellis Companies
Founded in 1921, the Wilbur-Ellis companies are leading international marketers and distributors of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. By developing strong relationships, making strategic market investments and capitalizing on new opportunities, the Wilbur-Ellis companies have continued to grow the business with sales now over $3 billion. www.wilburellis.com

Media contact:

Tim Cox, ZingPR, tim@zingpr.com, 650-369-7784

Cavallo Ventures Makes Seven Figure Investment In Pesticide Disruption

Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of global agribusiness company Wilbur-Ellis, has just announced a seven figure investment in agricultural technology startup Crop Enhancement, Inc. The California-based company makes CropCoat, a unique protective coating being touted as an alternative to more toxic pesticides on the market.

“In trials we’ve completed, our first product, CropCoat, is proving to be an effective and sustainable crop protection technology, says Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement. According to Chen, CropCoat works by creating a physical barrier to protect the plant from “biotic stress [like] insects and disease.” In the future, the company hopes CropCoat could also address stressors like drought and extreme heat.

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New Mode of Action to Stop Insects

Agriculture has seen its fair share of new startup companies in the last five years. With billions being invested in new ideas, a lot of brainpower is being put toward a range of new ideas. Recently, Farm Progress talked with Kevin Chen, CEO, Crop Enhancement, a venture-capital-funded company based in San Jose, Calif., with a different way to control crop pests: a spray-on barrier that keeps pests out of crops.

“Growers can protect crops by applying a biodegradable and transparent material that keeps pests from eating a crop,” Chen explains. “Our CropCoat product is a foliar-applied spray formulation.” The product is a proprietary mix containing natural ingredients.

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