RaptorMaps—a startup that’s developed drones to provide analytics on crops and make agriculture more sustainable—has won the 2015 MIT $100K business competition.
Taking home the $100,000 grand prize, the company said in an email, “will get us to the field sooner, where our service is needed the most.”
The company described itself this way in the email:
The amount of cropland in the world is fixed, but the population is growing. With Raptor Maps analytics, we pinpoint crop damage sooner, before pests and diseases can spread. This minimizes total pesticide usage, which increases crop yields and reduces environmental impact.
Ultimately, the company says it aims to help create “a sustainable food system that can feed a growing world.”
RaptorMaps said its next steps will be to begin weekly scans for agribusiness customers, build up its analytics platform to be scalable and hire an agronomist to develop crop-specific algorithms.
RaptorMaps was chosen from among eight finalist teams for this year’s $100K competition. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the competition, whose alumni have included Akamai Technologies and Harmonix.
RaptorMaps builds and operates unmanned aircraft to provide crop analytics to agribusiness clients. One third of crops planted in the world are destroyed by diseases, insects, and weeds. RaptorMaps spots these troubled plants and enables focused pesticide application, increasing crop yields while reducing environmental impact.
Photo: RaptorMaps’ founders, from left, are Edward Obropta, Nikhil Vadhavkar and Forrest Meyen. (Courtesy of MIT)