Corporate Funding Round

Anu Receives Nearly $1M Phase II NSF Grant for Autonomous Cultivation System

AgTech company, Anu heliponix receives grant

Heliponix LLC, doing business as Anu, has received a $970,993 Phase II National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and $75,000 in matching funding from Elevate Ventures. Two undergraduate students founded Anu at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, working on a NASA-funded project to improve the photosynthetic efficiency of growing lettuce in a controlled-environment hydroponic chamber.

Anu has developed multispectral photomorphogenesis in combination with deep-learning and computer-vision algorithms using its unique rotary aeroponic cultivation chambers. These chambers are designed to produce higher yields and minimize energy consumption, resulting in more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

The company’s CEO has stated that the Phase II grant will commercialize an autonomous cultivation system that empowers consumers to grow their produce free of pesticides and preservatives and with a reduced environmental impact compared to industrial agriculture. Additionally, the Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is working with Anu to provide multispectral, tunable LED modules for the rotary chamber.

“Through decentralized, in-home production of produce, the wasteful inefficiencies and environmental destruction attributed to industrialized agriculture are eliminated while simultaneously delivering maximum freshness, flavor, and nutritional value directly to consumers conveniently,” said anu CEO Massey. “Produce is harvested when consumers are hungry rather than everything being harvested at the same time, which requires preservation of the produce. It simply stays alive and fresh until it’s eaten. The anu team comprises more than 20 members and continues to proliferate.”

Once a small enterprise is granted a Phase II SBIR/STTR grant of up to $1 million, it becomes qualified to obtain up to $500,000 in added matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales. With this support, Anu is poised to revolutionize the agriculture industry and bring sustainable, high-quality products to consumers.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, division director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.” 

Image provided by Heliponix LLC

%d bloggers like this: