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Iyris: Developing Agriclimate tech for Growers to Make Fresh Produce in Tough Climates

Image Credits: Iyris
By: Headliners News / June 3, 2024

In the relentless heat of climate change, agriculture faces a serious uphill battle. But amidst soaring temperatures and dwindling resources, Iyris has emerged as a beacon of hope for farmers worldwide.

Last year’s record-breaking heatwaves highlighted the urgent need for innovative solutions in farming. With traditional methods faltering and access to high-tech solutions limited, the demand for adaptable, accessible tools has never been greater. Meet Iyris, a visionary agtech startup with locations in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Delaware, poised to revolutionize farming in the face of adversity.

While recently securing a hefty $16 million in Series A funding, Iyris stands ready to tackle the challenges of modern agriculture head-on. Executive chairman John Keppler envisions this funding as the catalyst for Iyris to scale its operations and address the pressing issue of growing fresh produce in the midst of climate change-induced heatwaves and droughts.

Leading the charge in this funding round is the San Francisco-based Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), a staunch advocate for climate and sustainability initiatives. Joining EIF are investors like Global Ventures, Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF), Kanoo Ventures, Globivest, and Bonaventure Capital, signaling a widespread recognition of Iyris’s potential to drive positive change in agriculture.

What sets Iyris apart is its focus on practical, cost-effective solutions. While other businesses may gravitate towards expensive, complex technologies, Iyris embraces the low-tech and medium-tech realm. By leveraging methods like polyethylene covers, acrylic, and shade nets, Iyris empowers farmers to protect their crops without breaking the bank.

At the heart of Iyris’s success lies SecondSky, a groundbreaking technology born from the innovative minds at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Co-founded by CEO Ryan Lefers, plant scientist Mark Tester, and Derya Baran in 2018, Iyris initially deployed SecondSky to grow and sell tomatoes in the Middle East before expanding its reach to farmers worldwide.

SecondSky’s game-changing technology involves adding a specialized additive to polyethylene manufacturing, effectively blocking harmful infrared radiation while allowing essential sunlight to nourish crops. This innovation translates into tangible benefits for farmers, from reduced cooling costs and water usage to extended growing seasons and higher yields.

Iyris’s impact extends beyond the Middle East, with its technology gaining traction in regions like the UAE, Egypt, and Morocco. As climate change intensifies, farmers in arid climates worldwide are turning to Iyris for solutions to mitigate new challenges and safeguard their livelihoods.

The success of SecondSky is evident in the remarkable results reported by Iyris’s customers. By reducing energy and water consumption by up to 90%, SecondSky enables farmers to achieve higher yields and increased profitability. This, coupled with a quick payback period, makes SecondSky a compelling investment for growers seeking to future-proof their operations.

Looking ahead, Iyris is poised for further growth and expansion. With plans to penetrate new markets in countries like India and China, Iyris aims to extend its reach and make a lasting impact on global agriculture.

In a world continually grappling with the realities of climate change, Iyris stands as a testament to the power of innovation in safeguarding our food supply. As farmers continue to confront the challenges of a changing climate, Iyris remains steadfast in its mission to provide practical, accessible solutions for a more sustainable future.

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