Last week, Vancouver cleantech startup SemiosBio announced that they’ve raised a whopping $102 million for their pest control product — one of the biggest financings in Canada’s clean tech sector. Using wireless technology and chemistry, their product prevents the spread of crop-damaging insects, aiming to reduce the use of insecticides.
SemiosBio Founder and CEO, Michael Gilbert spent his teen years living on a hobby farm in Ontario and started SemiosBio in 2010, building on his long-held interest in using pheromones to manage insect behaviour.
Their product is made with synthesized chemicals that mimic pheromones, natural chemical signals that pests send out to one another. When it’s sprayed at controlled intervals on crops, male insects get confused. Their instincts tell them they are heading toward fertile females, but instead they fly into a fog of phony pheromones and are killed before reproducing.
“We send them on a wild goose chase,” says Gilbert. “They only have enough energy for one flight and they waste it on us.”
This prevents pests from destroying valuable crops — and as pheromones are specific to bug types, they can target individual classes of pests, leaving bees alone.
As a tech startup looking to commercialize their product, in October 2012 SemiosBio entered our Venture Acceleration Program through our partners at Venture Labs. The program connects entrepreneurs with experts in their field and helps them define a business model specifically for growing technology companies.
Learn more about how SemiosBio provides critical insights into the relationships between organisms and their environments here.