Metagrow engineers advanced distribution systems of water and nutrition for plants
Metagrow Oy was founded by Jarmo Lehtonen and Jan Hainari-Maula in 2022 with a focus on sustainable urban farming technology, methods and development like intelligent growth solutions and climate management for vertical farming, greenhouses and tunnels. The system they build does not require much space nor water which is why it is perfect for cities and local food production.
Founder and CEO of the company, Jarmo Lehtonen was invited as a project lead to EU Circular Sprint ‘21/ Aalto Uni hackathon project in autumn 2021 where a team of six Aalto doctoral researches were asked to create concept study and demonstration from existing patented (pending) technology. The theme was vertical farming. Jarmo is an inventor and expert with this technology and method. He took this opportunity to test and utilize this existing technology and method. The project was successfully completed and right that moment he knew that the next thing to do was to create a new company for this new and different application. At the same time he noticed the Urban Tech incubator program which he also applied to. Heikki Kauhanen was one of the Aalto research team members and today he is a member of the Metagrow team.
Metagrow’s intelligent technology for organic matter
Metagrow utilizes patented (pending) technology and innovative method which allows them to create a smart indoor plant industry with volume production around the urban environment. Metagrow growth method is also a patent protection process and which is based partly on licensed compressed air and intelligent liquids distribution system with sensors and data collection. With this intelligently controlled e.g. vertical farming solution, their goal is to become one of the leading farming technology companies in a more sustainable and greener world.
One of the key benefits with Metagrow technology and solution is low consumption (air & liquids), emissions (energy) and minimum amount of waste (cray water, ingredients etc.). Metagrow sustainable solution decreases total consumption like air, water, any liquids, and also electricity. The system can be built & based on solar & wind energy (day) and batteries (night). It will save natural soil grounds and keep them free from worn out, chemicals etc. As an urban farming method, Metagrow is decreasing the need for transportation and improving logistics, their productions can be located around urban environments. At Metagrow, they are able to support the world’s ‘green’ food production. Metagrow will be a key part of ‘Intel inside’ way supporting clients with a holistic big picture setup with other leading sustainable partner technologies and methods.
Urban Tech Helsinki inspires Metagrow’s urban farming operations
Metagrow is right now in ’proof of concept’ status and first concept experience and tests are in promising progress. The growth technology and system work require more research and tests in the scaling process. When the time is right, they will be able to join as ‘tech component’ creating pilots and test fields. Metagrow is already starting co-operation with Metropolia University of Applied Sciences UrbanFarmLab where Metagrow solution will be tested and scaled up. The project offers students training, study projects, and diplomas around Metagrow solution. Sustainable plant research and data collecting work are core tasks in Metropolia project. The results will be offered to the Helsinki City area for many different purposes like a local greenhouse and food production. Metagrow is planning to collaborate with the City of Helsinki next year in spring, which negotiations are still proceeding.
Metagrow joined in spring ’22 the Urban Tech Helsinki programme which offers plenty of tools to support businesses and has a great location considering the access to Maria01, Aalto Startup Center, Metropolia, and other partners. The program offers a great boost and inspiration for the company to develop business, open new networks, meet new people and make friends along the way. Getting together with colleagues from other startups has been a plus for Metagrow since they have been going through a similar situation. The program provides a helping hand for startups to connect with right people, benefit from the mentorship, and muse by the community spirit which enables teams to stand up again if they feel like struggling.
By the end of 2022, Metagrow is hoping to have had success in the pilot deployments and closed its first funding round to improve its business accordingly. They are also planning to participate in fairs and attract more clients. To do so, Metagrow is open to industry/technology-focused international investors and farming/industrial international partners to grow together. Metagrow team is in growth status and the company is looking for more key talents and experts with Plant biology and growth research and technology & mechanical interest. By 2023, they are aiming to stabilize the business, sign up industry scale partnerships, go into growth funding and expand globally.
To learn more about Metagrow, click here and get in touch with Jarmo Lehtonen.
This article was created in collaboration with Urban Tech Helsinki project.