Interview with Giovanni Di Mambro, CMO and co-founder of Elaisian
June 15, 2022
Interview with Giovanni Di Mambro, CMO and co-founder of Elaisian, the startup that deals with supporting the prevention of diseases of olive groves and vineyards.
Investing in agricultural land seems to be the last frontier of safe-haven assets. This is a trend which is being looked at with greater interest, because landed property, unlike assets, are free or almost free from risks linked to economic developments. Hectares, therefore, that give certainties to the saver, joining to a reasonably sure investment also the pleasure of the fruition of goods and benefits. The main risks concern mainly diseases connected to the land and to the weather. This is why it is very important to know how to prevent them. How? Thanks to Elaisian!
Elaisian is the startup that has designed a decisional system of support that prevents olive tree and vineyard’s diseases. This system allows farmers to control the soil, climate, fertilization and thus helps to prevent olive and vine diseases with the aim of maximize the quantity and quality of production. How? Leveraging the use of proprietary algorithms and machine learning that allow a monitoring focused on business ownership.
Through this system alerts and reports are generated and sent to farmers. This process allows people to predict the presence of diseases a week in advance. The user can then monitor their fields at any time and receive the appropriate reports.
To learn more about the project, we interviewed Giovanni Di Mambro, CMO of Elaisian.
Hello Giovanni, thank you very much for this opportunity. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Tell us more about Elaisian’s statement.
The idea of Elaisian was born about 6 years ago from two needs. The first is to support farmers in combating climate change by reducing the impact on agriculture. This is why Elaisian decided to specialize itself in this fundamental aspect for every farmer, as it is closely linked to the purposes of production in the field. The other requirement has been, and still is, to modernize and support agriculture, providing a tool accessible for everyone.
Both the needs that me and my partner Damiano Angelici have already experimented with. He has a family farm in Sabina in Lazio that produces oil and wine and I have gained over 7 years of experience in the world of innovation in the food industry.
How did you launch your startup? Did you use crowdfunding campaigns?
Our company was born in late 2016 within the international program Startupbootcamp foodtech in Rome, where we received a first investment. Later we collected investments through business angels before and later via a crowdfunding campaign on Mamacrowd. Then we did a Seed round where Innova Venture of Lazio Innova and MDC investments entered as partners. Ulixes SGR has also been added to the latest funding. To date we have raised over 2.3M euros.
How do the agroweather stations that are installed with Elaisian work?
The farm comes into possession of an agrometeo station (by purchase or loan). The station arrives at the farm already functioning and the farmer must only install it in the field.
From the moment of installation, it is possible to monitor the microclimate of the surrounding area, for example with data about humidity and temperature.
This means that the company has the ability to have very specific data. Elaisian, taking advantage of the various weather data, will send the farmer a series of information through alerts and reports. The information contains a series of tips and supports that allow customers to prevent the presence of pathogens a week in advance, improving treatments.
How does your support system work and what benefits does it offer in your industry?
The system is structured in 3 phases:
- Data collection: through 3 blocks, that is 1) meteorological station, 2) ten years of climatic historical data and 3) fixed data of the single field (like altitude, types of vegetables and other information);
- Data analysis: these collected data are analyzed and combined with agronomic studies thanks to proprietary algorithms created by Elaisian;
- Decision processing and support: the results of the analysis/interpretation are sended as daily text notifications and preventive alerts for the intervention in the field.
Each user receives all the information on their profile within the app. You can then directly consult the precise data.
In addition, to monitor the field to 360, the service also includes satellite images to assess the health of plants and soil. The images are processed by the agronomic department that sends to the customer a clear report.
We are the leading startup on the 3 cultivations where we work: olive, vine and almond trees. Today we work with over 1600 farms in 15 countries around the world, especially in the Mediterranean basin. The goal is to establish ourself as a reference player at the international level as much as possible.
Curiosity: what are the common diseases affecting olive groves and vineyards and how to prevent them?
There are various diseases and insects that affect olive groves and vineyards. I’ll mention a few that are the most common. For the olive grove, it is common to find the called “fly disease”. In this case we talk about an insect that attacks the ripe fruits, after the hardening of the core has happened. They are usually found when temperatures are mild and humidity is high.
Also for the olive tree, we find the “peacock eye”, a fungal disease, which affects the leaves of the plant, making them dry. This pathology is favored by humidity and cold climates that affect the plant in late autumn, winter and early spring. For the vineyard, the “powdery mildew” is a fungus that attacks all kinds of plant tissue: leaves, inflorescences, still green shoots and clusters. The best climatic conditions are windiness, no rain, high temperatures, low relative humidity of the air.
There are numerous treatments that over time have been developed for these, and other, diseases. Elaisian, on the other hand, goes to work on the prevention and capacity of farms to safeguard their plants.