Agricultural technology startup Benson Hill Biosystems has launched new “cloud biology” software that it says can dramatically accelerate the development of improved crops.
Last week Benson Hill, which is co-located in Durham and St. Louis, unveiled its CropOS software that targets agricultural biotechnology companies, research institutions and farmer coops.
“We view this as the perfect time to launch a product like CropOS because we really need more innovation in the space” to feed the ever-expanding world population, said CEO Matthew Crisp.
CropOS employs cloud biology — cloud-based software that relies on Big Data and biological science — to tackle problems such as increasing a crop’s metabolism to improve crop yield. The software also incorporates machine learning.
“The system effectively becomes smarter” as it is fed more data, Crisp said.
Benson Hill touts that CropOS can identify the most promising plant genetics for improved crops in a matter of weeks. The software can be used in conjunction with the development of genetically modified crops or crops that are developed through breeding, Crisp said.
Giant agbio companies have proprietary software similar to CropOS, Crisp said.
Benson Hill is seeking customers interested in collaborating on developing new crops — and who are also willing to share revenue, Crisp said.
Founded in 2012, Benson Hill has 44 employees, including 9 in Durham. To date it has raised more than $10 million in outside funding.