Proveye wins start-up competition at the Innovation Arena Awards

20 Sep 2023

From left: Dr Jerome O’Connell and Prof Nick Holden. Image: Nick Bradshaw

An agritech based in NovaUCD, Proveye was founded by Dr Jerome O’Connell and Prof Nick Holden to develop tech that removes noise from image data.

Proveye, the Irish agritech start-up that develops image-based analytics tech, has been named Start-up Innovator of the Year by Enterprise Ireland.

Announced at the Innovation Arena competition as part of the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois yesterday (19 September), the award recognises early-stage innovation in the agritech space that is solving global problems.

A former Start-up of the Week, Proveye is based in NovaUCD and was founded by Dr Jerome O’Connell and Prof Nick Holden. The duo developed tech that removes noise from image data, making it easier to understand and derive insights.

This has applications in multiple areas such as the measurement of crop yield, disease detection, productivity and environmental impact.

The Start-up Innovator of the Year award, which is given to the best overall start-up at the Enterprise Ireland competition, also includes a €10,000 prize.

“The Innovation Arena competition is a landmark exhibition platform and competition, as it brings together ambitious agri-innovators every year,” said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, TD, who was at the event.

“Ireland is synonymous with agriculture, and it is our own entrepreneurs who are helping to shape the future of the sector globally. With the ongoing challenges and the need to develop and implement sustainable practices, the work of these Irish innovators has never been more vital.”

GrassMax, grassland management tool for temperate climates, was named the overall winner at the event.

Based in Dublin, the company combines advanced modelling techniques with remote sensing data to provide a suite of nutrient and grass management decision-support tools, including satellite-based grassland growth yield measurement.

Earlier this year, Proveye closed a €1m seed funding round led by Inspire Investments, the private investment arm of Waystone’s management team, and Enterprise Ireland.

“This investment comes at a time of rapid growth for the company as we demonstrate the value of a new generation of image-based analytics in agriculture,” said O’Connell, who is also the CEO, at the time.

“Our talented team is working with some of the leading names in the agriculture industry to solve challenges previously out of reach to substantially increase certainty and accuracy in management decisions at the field, farm and even regional scale.”

Last September, the Enterprise Ireland high-potential start-up was awarded €225,000 in funding from the European Space Agency to develop a grassland management platform.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic