Tholen – Signatures have recently been made for the acquisition of Phyto-IT by the sensor manufacturer 2Grow. Until recently, Phyto-IT, a spin-off from the University of Ghent, delivered 2Grow. With this acquisition, 2Grow takes control of the entire chain. The acquisition means that the sensor manufacturer from Destelbergen can now grow faster and respond more easily to the breeders’ wishes in the market.
Dirk De Pauw (Phyto-IT) and Wouter De Bruyker (2Grow) confirm the purchase with a handshake
Phyto-IT is the older of the two companies, but also the lesser known of the two on the market. A conscious choice, says Dirk De Pauw, founder of Phyto-IT. “As a spin-off from the university, we saw that the plant sensors used in laboratories provided enormous value. In practice, however, these sensors were still little used. With that in mind, we decided to set up a company to use the sensors in practice. “During that process, Phyto-IT came across the young company 2Grow.” Then it was decided that they would take care of sales and support. “
In the summer of 2021, both companies began talks about merging the companies. Wouter De Bruycker, CEO of 2Grow: “At that time, the first intentions were expressed for an acquisition.” When asked if this is a ‘maturation step’ for 2Grow, he nods. “Our main goal is to make growers more efficient. We will do our part to feed the people of the world by helping growers produce more on the same land. ” Sales Manager Olivier Begerem is enthusiastic: “We can now grow exponentially.” Phyto-IT and 2Grow remain two separate entities.
PhytoClip sensor on cucumber plant
2Grow offers plant sensors that measure the plant in real time, just like a fitbit. With this information, the grower can quantify the effect of all actions in the crop and thus better predict and respond to the climate and all external conditions. In this way, he or she can, among other things, monitor the vitality and stress of the plants with a higher quality and fewer losses as a result.
PhytoStem sensor in tomato crop
Responds more quickly to the grower’s needs
For the customer, the acquisition for 2Grow means many growers, that information from the breeder, the end customer, can be translated into product development more quickly. Wouter: “We have always had very direct contact with the breeder, and therefore we hear what they need. Now that we have taken on production and R&D ourselves, we can change faster. ” Dirk adds: “The efficiency of the information flow improves tremendously with this step.”
Now it is not the case that 2Grow from now on goes in all directions in relation to product development, as a result of vastly different wishes from growers. Olivier clarifies this. “Previously, Phyto-IT and 2Grow both had their own roadmap. There were clear differences between them. This is because we are in direct contact with the breeder. In the case of Phyto-IT, there were many contacts with academics. ”
PhytoClip sensor in Cymbidium
Dirk gives an example. “Phyto-IT has always focused on efficient measurement on the plant with both a sap flow and a stem diameter sensor. Sensors that are also very valuable to growers. However, they increasingly asked 2Grow to be able to measure other things in the greenhouse. It needs other sensors. “
In the coming years, 2Grow wants to bring such sensors to market. Extra people will be deployed for this in production, sales and service. The first new sensors are expected this year. These sensors go further than measuring directly on the system. 2Grow will present the resulting data on its own data platform. Wouter: “We started developing that platform even before the actual takeover.”
Here, too, there is a clear difference between the two companies. Dirk: “Because the university is an important customer for us, the data platform is also set up for this. In order to also serve growers who have completely different needs, we have kept our platform fairly general so that it can be used by everyone. On the other hand, it means that the platform is no longer always specific enough for growers these days. ”
PhytoClip sensor in tomato plant cultivation
ready to eat
Now that 2Grow has taken this step, it can choose which way it wants to meet the breeder’s wishes. “Most growers are not academics. We want to focus our new products very specifically on these growers. We see that it is still a challenge for growers to easily interpret data,” says Wouter. “The platform is the first big step in a series of improvements that the customer will experience in the coming months and years.In this way, we want to enable the grower to observe the status of the crop in an instant and thus respond even faster.The platform will provide more bite-size information.In the future, we are increasingly evolving towards further automating counseling in order to offer even more information in real time. ”
2Grow can be found at HortiContact in Gorinchem from 10.-12. May at stand C203.
For more information:
9070 Destelbergen, Belgium