35,000 euros for a smart nose that monitors animal health

An AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant worth € 35,000 has been awarded to LumiNose. This startup works on Insect Odor Receptors, technology that mimics insects’ sensitive sense of smell for monitoring pet health. Urban Funghi wins the award for best social initiative with impact. Urban Funghi focuses on growing oyster mushrooms in vacant buildings.

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant consists of two awards given annually to student entrepreneurs with powerful ideas. To have a chance to win the award, the entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a jury of experts. They have a chance to win startup capital for their business. The winners were presented at the international F&A Next event for large companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs.


LumiNose stood as the winner this year. The company wins the Start-Up Award, with a cash prize of 35,000 euros. The jury unanimously rates LumiNos as the most commercially promising solution in the agri-food sector. The company is developing its ‘Insect Odor Receptors’. This is so-called ‘biomimetics’ technology, which mimics biological ideas from nature to human applications. LumiNose specifically mimics the sense of smell of insects. Pet farmers can use the technology to monitor the health of their animals.

“LumiNose had the best story, the most compelling idea, the most protected and therefore scalable – a unique technique,” the jury said. Development Manager Saptarshi Mukhopadhyay pointed in his pitch to a previous study from Wageningen University & Research (WUR). In this, bees are trained to smell COVID-19.

LumiNose combines so-called odor receptor chips with machine learning. The resulting device enables farmers to diagnose diseases in their livestock at an earlier time than is currently possible. “We are very grateful for the award,” the team said. “Now we can start the lab work and demonstrate the true value of our chip.”

Urban Funghic

The second prize, which is part of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant, is the Impact Award, to which an amount of 15,000 euros is attached. This award was presented to Urban Funghi, a so-called ‘urban mushroom farm’ from Ede. The company grows oyster mushrooms locally in organic straw for restaurants, shops and consumers, among others. This cultivation process takes place on the basis of organic straw. The apartment buildings can be easily installed in empty buildings. This simplifies upscaling of production.

The jury praised, among other things, the way Urban Funghi creates ‘a fantastic community’ around ‘nomad farming’, which has an impact on the environment. “The award will help us with sterilization equipment that we can use for alternative waste streams to grow new fungal species,” the team said in a response.

2021 winners

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant is an annual award. In 2021, Scope won the BioSciences Start-up Award, which includes a cash prize of 35,000 euros. Scope BioSciences focuses on CRISPR-Cas, which has been called ‘the most important biotechnological discovery in recent decades’. Together with WUR, Scope has developed ScopeDx, a Type III CRISPR-Cas diagnostic platform that provides accurate molecular diagnostic results in less than 25 minutes. The jury praised, among other things, the company’s potential and the growth the company experienced.

The Impact Award went to Algreen in 2021. This startup helps microalgae producers in all aspects of their business. This includes production and downstream, but also rules and certification. Algreen does this by combining practical experience with scientific knowledge and skills. Together with the customer, the start-up develops an algae production system that meets the wishes of this particular customer.

More information about AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant is available here.

Photo: Photorama from Pixabay

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