Gardin raises $1.2M pre-seed to use ‘optical phenotyping’ tech to improve food production

Gardin, a ‘deep tech’ hardware and software startup developing optical phenotyping technology and analytics to optimise food production, has raised $ 1.2 million in pre-seed funding.

Leading the round is LDV Capital, with participation from Seedcamp, and MMC Ventures. A number of angel investors are also investing, including Pratima Aiyagari, Gilad Engel, and Abdulaziz Alrashed.

Founded in late 2019, Gardin’s mission, in the U.K. company’s own words, is to help everyone access high quality, nutritious food that is “good for you and for our planet”.

Specifically, the startup is developing tech for farms based on its own “optical phenotyping” hardware and accompanying analytics software. The idea is to enable food producers to measure and monitor the nutritional value of food, from “seed to plate in a real world environment,” rather than a lab.

“With deployment of Gardin’s OS, insight from our analytics will be delivered to help food producers optimise production, grow nutritious food, lower carbon footprint and reduce waste,” says founder and CEO Sumanta Talukdar. “At Gardin, we want to empower food producers to feed the world consciously, sustainably and nutritionally, as it should be”.

Talukdar says he started the company after learning that the traditional food industry currently “does not, or cannot, quantifiably measure food nutrition and quality”. This has seen Gardin partner with some of the leading crop and plant physiologists, phenotyping experts and plant scientists to identify the key biochemical mechanisms in various crops related to plant physiology.

“By designing hardware to specifically measure the signatures of these mechanisms, Gardin is able to quantify plant physiology and key compounds density with high fidelity (i.e. signal/noise ratio) at a cost similar to consumer electronics goods,” he explained. To achieve this, Gardin is employing a multispectral data fusion approach, using a suite of remote sensing and computer vision techniques to capture very specific data which is then “fused” to drive the analytics.

To that end, Gardin has been designed to assist both traditional and CEA (controlled environment agriculture), with the ambitious aim to become the new “food production gold standard”.

“Our full stack product is designed to run and optimise the entire growing environment running silently in the background like an OS i.e we are solving their problems, helping food producers grow higher quality food and reducing their operating costs and carbon footprint,” adds Talukdar.

“We have also designed our platform so we can integrate with their existing architectures. To us, asking a producer in what is already an asset heavy industry to change or add to their system to make us fit, was folly”.

In terms of traction, Talukdar says Gardin has already secured pilot trials that are ready to go live early this year with “key go-to-market clients. They include supermarket chains, food producers and vertical farms.

Startups – TechCrunch

10 online tech events you shouldn’t miss out on this February

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Get feedback on your pitch deck from tech leaders on Extra Crunch Live

Extra Crunch Live 2.0 launches next week! Among several improvements, we’re thrilled to ramp up the Pitch Deck Teardown.

In short, folks can submit their pitch decks to get feedback from investors and founders alike.

The importance of the pitch deck can’t be underestimated. It is often the first point of contact between a company and venture investors, but how investors consume a pitch deck (and what they really think) is also a bit of a black box.

Are they speed-flipping through the slides or taking their time? Do they prefer more information on the team or context on the industry? More numbers or more words? How many slides is the right number of slides?

There are too many questions to count, and often very few answers. But we’re popping the lid off of that black box with the Pitch Deck Teardown. We’ve done Pitch Deck Teardowns at events like Disrupt and Early Stage 2020, and this year we’re cranking it up a notch.

Anyone can submit their pitch deck and hear what our guests, tech leaders across the industry, think of them. (Important note: Extra Crunch members will be prioritized on the list of decks we choose to show during the episode.)

We recently shared what you can expect from Extra Crunch Live in 2021. Here’s a refresher:

  • Series A – Learn how others have fundraised! We’ll have a segment dedicated to hearing from founder/investor duos who walk us through the Series A pitch deck that led to investment.
  • Pitch Deck Teardowns – Folks will have the opportunity to submit their pitch deck and get feedback from our guests, which will include VCs and founders (You can submit their pitch decks right here!).
  • Live Pitch-offs – Audience members can raise their hand to practice their elevator pitch in front of the audience and get real-time feedback from VCs.
  • Networking!! – The Extra Crunch membership is a community. ECL will be an opportunity to meet your fellow audience members, even in a virtual environment. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your next co-founder or investor!
  • Consistency – ECL will always be at 12pm PT/3pm ET on Wednesdays. When it comes to your calendar, set it and forget it.

We’ll announce all the speakers joining us in February tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Startups – TechCrunch

With $25,000 each, FirstCheck is helping African women in tech rise above misrepresentation – TechCabal

With $ 25,000 each, FirstCheck is helping African women in tech rise above misrepresentation  TechCabal
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Eloho Omame & Odunayo Eweniyi are on a Mission to Help Women Invest in Tech with FirstCheck Africa – BellaNaija

Eloho Omame & Odunayo Eweniyi are on a Mission to Help Women Invest in Tech with FirstCheck Africa  BellaNaija
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Octopus Ventures assembles new team, announces €112M fund to expand health tech offering

Chris Hulat Octopus Ventures

The London-based VC firm Octopus Ventures is renowned for launching notable funds over the years. Back in 2019, the company launched a €96.3M growth fund and now, it Intends to raise €112M to invest in early-stage health tech, with Octopus Group as a cornerstone investor. The firm is also bringing in new team members from TenX Health to leverage their experience and network in the digital healthcare space.

Raising €112M to invest in early-stage health tech companies

Octopus Ventures is one of the most active VCs in Europe, and the company looks to launch a new €112M institutional global fund to take advantage of the current opportunity presented by the health tech market. Joe Stringer, Dr Pooja Sikka and Shamik Parekh from TenX Health join Octopus Ventures to add experience and bring in their broad network of connections from the digital healthcare space. Stringer and Sikka were formerly founding members of EY Ventures, leading the health and social care portfolio.

The new team will be tasked with managing the proposed fund, which is currently targeting €112M to invest in early-stage health tech businesses. The funding is aimed to accelerate healthcare technology into global health systems and directly to consumers that require better healthcare access. The new fund will be geared towards series A funding, reserving capital to follow on throughout the growth rounds with Octopus Group being the cornerstone investor.

Alliott Cole, Co-CEO of Octopus Ventures, says, “Covid-19 has doubled the pace of growth in healthcare technology. Joe, Pooja and Shamik’s arrival and the launch of the fund puts us in an even stronger position to take advantage of the investment opportunities that are emerging from the pandemic as the digital healthcare revolution continues. We are delighted to cornerstone this new fund and look forward to providing investors with an opportunity to access this global growth market.”

New co-CFO joins the company

The news about the new fund creation comes soon after Emma Davies joined Octopus Ventures as Co-CEO earlier in January 2021. Davies brings over 20 years of institutional fund management expertise with her. In addition, Octopus announced scaling up its portfolio team by 45% with nine new hires back in October last year and it also launched a new specialist consumer team.

Startups – Silicon Canals

5 exciting tech companies that are actively hiring across Europe right now


Are you looking for a new job? Or are you simply curious as to what’s going on in the world of recruitment? Well, you have certainly come to the right place. We all know that 2020 was tough for companies, many of whom introduced a hiring freeze in the wake of COVID-19. However, it looks like things are turning around, and loads of brilliant businesses are actively hiring in 2021 (and we’re super excited). 

With that, here are five very cool companies that are hiring at the moment…


Founded in 2003, MD7 has deep roots in mobile networks and has grown to provide comprehensive expertise to operators throughout the world. They understand that mobile infrastructure is a valuable asset requiring disciplined management and investment in a rapidly advancing landscape. As the only dedicated global provider of mobile infrastructure consulting, they believe in extreme partnership and a personalised approach to every opportunity. Their team, working in service of operators, are driven by integrity, mutual respect, and commitment to deliver for partners.


Tandem was founded by Ricky Knox, Matt Cooper and Michael Kent in 2013, and has grown significantly since then. Tandem Bank is based in London, and it is focused on banking through mobile applications. They describe themselves as “the perfect money partner, helping you save the right way”. They have a number of exciting roles available at the moment, so go on, have a gawk. 


Monzo Bank Ltd is an online bank based in the United Kingdom. Monzo was one of the earliest of a number of new app-based challenger banks in the UK. Originally operating through a mobile app and a prepaid debit card, in April 2017 its UK banking licence restrictions were lifted, enabling it to offer a full current account. As of March 2020, Monzo had over 4 million customers. Their most recent financial results issued in July 2020, showed an annual net loss of £113.8M, an increase from the £47.1M lost in the previous year. 


Mosaic specialise in Web and App Development in Dublin and Ireland. They utilise the latest technologies and trends to develop cutting edge Mobile Apps and premium Web Platforms. Their team consists of designers, engineers, project managers and innovators who have a strong passion for cutting edge technology. Mosaic works closely with large global brands, to small startups. They aim to listen to their client’s requirements, understand their objectives and provide them with solutions that exceed their expectations. 


eShopWorld is a privately owned Irish company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with offices around the globe including New York, Amsterdam, Singapore and London. They are an eCommerce company that provides a technology platform to brands and retailers that wish to sell online into global markets. Their platform makes brands’ websites feel local to international shoppers and makes it easier for them to complete their purchase, moving seamlessly through the buyer journey, from checkout to returns.

Be sure to keep a close eye on Silicon Canals jobs for even more exciting opportunities.

Startups – Silicon Canals