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Chinese capital to help bring Israeli ‘digital farming’ overseas

The agriculture IoT start-up has raised fresh funds from Tencent and Syngenta Ventures, an existing investor.

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The agriculture IoT start-up has raised fresh funds from Tencent and Syngenta Ventures, an existing investor.

Tel Aviv-based Phytech has raised $11 million in a series B investment led by Chinese investment holding Tencent, with the participation of Syngenta Ventures and others, to boost its business in the US, Australia and Israel as well as expand into new markets.

The start-up has developed a proprietary Internet of Things and artificial intelligence platform that enables farmers to closely monitor the needs of their crops. Sensors are placed on selected plants that continuously monitor micro-variations of stem diameter – scientifically proven stress indicators – according to Phytech. The data is then transmitted in real time to the Phytech cloud for further analysis.

“This data provides farmers real-time recommendations through simple-to-use farm management applications and helps them increase crop yields while decreasing resource inputs,” the company said in a statement. “Phytech’s machine-learning capabilities identify water stress by means of direct plant monitoring and is the most accurate way to make irrigation decisions – the heart of the cultivation process.”

The company’s technology is used in a variety of specialty and row crops and has resulted in tripling the growth rates, the company said.

“The investment will support the ongoing growth and commercial deployment in current and new geographies,” Phytech said, without providing further details. The company was not immediately available for comment.

In addition to Tencent and Syngenta Ventures, Phytech is also backed by Mitsui Europe.