Arable Labs, located in Princeton, helps farmers keep vital data that enables them to make informed decisions at their fingertips via a laptop, tablet or smart phone. The company’s name comes directly from the word “arable,” meaning “suitable for growing crops.”
Arable Labs’ proprietary smart technology, called Arable Mark IoT (short for Internet of Things), offers farmers real-time, continuous visibility and predictive analytics of more than 40 metrics. These metrics include weather, readiness for harvesting, precipitation, plant health, and disease risk. Data is gathered by a device placed in the ground and is easily accessible via a cloud-based dashboard.
The company started shipping Arable Mark IoT to customers in 2017 and ramped up distribution toward the end of the year. While Arable has clients around the world, New Jersey presents fertile ground for this burgeoning technology, with approximately 9,000 farms and food and agriculture being the state’s third largest industry.
“We believe that arming farmers with meaningful data leads to them spending less time trekking through their fields and helps reduce crop loss and financial risk,” Arable Labs Founder and Chief Executive Officer Adam Wolf said. “Arable Mark IoT is ideal not just for small farms, but also for big-name brands that depend on crops for the reliable production of their products.”
Arable Labs had the opportunity to showcase its technology at this week’s Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey Annual Convention in Atlantic City. Throughout the week, Wolf and his team touted the company’s role in the New Jersey ecosystem.
Arable Labs works with scientists at Rutgers University who are developing and improving a variety of hazelnut for chocolate manufacturer and distributor Ferrero Rocher®, as well as those at Rutgers striving to improve basil varieties for Shenandoah Growers®.
Arable Labs also works closely with vineyards, keeping a close eye on their grapes. New Jersey alone has more than 50 wineries, and according to a recent study by the New Jersey Wine Growers Association, the State’s wine production increased by more than 73 percent between 2011 and 2016.
Arable Labs was one of 39 companies to be approved for the State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate (NOL) Program in 2017. Administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the New Jersey Department of Treasury's Division of Taxation, this competitive program enables eligible technology and biotechnology companies to sell New Jersey tax losses and/or research and development tax credits to raise cash to finance their growth and operations. The NOL Program offers non-dilutive funding, meaning that entrepreneurs do not have to relinquish a portion of their company in return for funding.
“One of the most valuable benefits of the NOL Program for technology companies like Arable Labs is that they can use the cash resulting from their NOL sale to fund their working capital as they continue to impact the State and the global marketplace,” EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura said.
Collectively, the 39 approved applicants shared over $46 million through the NOL Program in 2017. More than 525 businesses have been approved for awards totaling over $950 million since the program was established in the late 1990s.
@NJEDATech spoke with Wolf about his company’s experience in New Jersey and its plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow Arable Labs here in NJ?
I came here to take a research position at Princeton University and fell in love with New Jersey!
How has your company benefited from the NOL program?
For a startup, cash is king, and we have experienced direct financial impact from the program.
What do you consider your company’s biggest success to date?
We have developed an extraordinary array of intellectual property around collecting unique data that provides new and useful analytics for our customers. We are also proud to have an unparalleled lens into how this creates value by linking players in the food chain, from growers to processors.
What is on the horizon for Arable Labs?
We are focused on scalability, being able to provide specific insights into individual crops and locales around the world.
The EDA offers a multitude of resources to help technology grow and thrive. To learn about these resources, visit http://www.njeda.com/tls and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.