Press Release


PhenoVation wins Venture Challenge Spring 2011

€25,000 for innovative technology to enhance yield and quality
of greenhouse crops

, June 7, 2011
During the LifeSciences@work Event in Utrecht, start-up company PhenoVation was named the winner of the Venture Challenge Spring 2011. Using PhenoVation's innovative CropReporter, the yield and quality of crops can be enhanced by specifically tuning the climate settings in greenhouses to reflect real-time information on crop performance. PhenoVation is a spin-out from the Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture research institute at Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Modern greenhouses are fitted out with advanced sensor technology to maintain the climate settings defined by the grower, who mainly builds on own experience and observations of the crops. The latter implies that feedback on crop performance only becomes visible after days or even weeks. Finding the optimal climate settings is still largely a matter of trial and error. PhenoVation introduces a method that employs real-time information on crop performance, which allows the grower to adjust climate settings immediately. PhenoVation's CropReporter continuously measures the activity of photosynthesis in the crop. Photosynthesis is the energy generating process in plants and is a leading indicator of crop yield and quality. Having access to real-time information on photosynthesis provides growers with unprecedented opportunities for increasing the yield and quality of crops as well as for saving energy.

According to the jury of the Venture Challenge Spring 2011 – a set of workshops for new ventures in the life sciences – PhenoVation is based on a very elegant concept, while building on a strong technological and commercial basis. The jury was particularly impressed by PhenoVation's clear focus on the needs of the clients, which is underlined by the involvement of two lead customers in the development track.
"This shows that PhenoVation is aware of what is needed to turn their technological breakthrough into a commercially viable product", says Carine van den Brink, Chairman of the jury. "Furthermore, their technology offers interesting opportunities for a variety of applications in both greenhouse horticulture, as well as retail logistics."

"The competition during the Venture Challenge was intense, so it is a pleasant surprise that we won", says Henk Jalink, Future CEO of PhenoVation. The team, which also includes Rob van der Schoor, Vincent Jalink and Jan Meiling, plans to put the Venture Challenge prize money of €25,000 towards establishing proof-of-principle of their CropReporter technology.


For more information:
Chrétien Herben | Netherlands Genomics Initiative | T +31 70 344 0959 |
Henk Jalink | PhenoVation | T +31 317 480 844 |


About the Venture Challenge
The Venture Challenge offers advice and coaching on essential elements of setting up a life sciences business. In two 3-day workshops, participating teams are continuously challenged by the facilitators and each other to streamline their business plan and improve their 'pitch'. The team with the best business plan and pitch is awarded €25,000 to further develop their venture.

The Venture Challenge is one of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative’s activities aimed at stimulating and supporting Life Sciences researchers in translating their inventions into viable business ideas.