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Evonik invests in precision poultry start-up

Start-up advances digitization in chicken farms and strengthens Evonik’s precision livestock activities.

November 5, 2018

2 Min Read
Evonik invests in precision poultry start-up
Baris KARADENIZ/iStock/Thinkstock

Evonik announced that it has invested in the start-up OPTIfarm Ltd. through its venture capital unit and now holds a minority stake in the company, which is headquartered in Chesterfield, U.K.

Evonik said OPTIfarm is already generating revenue through delivering around-the-clock monitoring of poultry houses, ensuring better animal welfare, improving livestock performance and enabling fail-safe operations. OPTIfarm’s team uses whatever imagery, automation and sensors are already available, including for temperature, water and feed. This allows checks to take place remotely. Any issues can be discovered and corrected quickly, saving the farmer time and money, according to the announcement.

The transaction took place in the context of a spinout of OPTIfarm from the Applied Group. The parties agreed not to disclose the amount of the investment.

“We are impressed with the global commercial success that OPTIfarm has already achieved,” Bernhard Mohr, head of venture capital at Evonik, said. “Evonik possesses the ideal experience and expertise to support OPTIfarm through further growth.”

The OPTIfarm services and business model was developed by poultry producer and entrepreneur David Speller as part of his existing business. Speller said, “I am delighted that the investment from Evonik enables OPTIfarm to now operate as a focused, stand-alone company. With heritage as a poultry producer and a unique pay-as-you-go business model, OPTIfarm is now positioned to serve a larger number of poultry farmers.”

“OPTIfarm is an excellent strategic fit for Evonik’s developing precision livestock business,” added Emmanuel Auer, head of Evonik’s Animal Nutrition business line. “Supporting customers in improving performance and sustainability strengthens our Animal Nutrition growth engine.”

As part of its venture capital activities, Evonik plans to invest a total of €100 million in promising start-ups with innovative technologies and in leading specialized venture capital funds. The focus here is on Evonik’s Health & Care, Smart Materials, Animal Nutrition and Specialty Additives growth engines as well as on digitization. Evonik currently has investments in more than 20 start-ups and venture capital funds.

One of those recent investments was in Netherlands-based In Ovo, which is seeking solutions for gender determination in poultry.

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