M: “So Kristof, tell us about you, your team and the latest Serket’s achievements.”
I am Kristof and I am one of the founders of Serket. My involvement with the agricultural industry started nearly 10 years ago while working at Kanters SP and Nutreco in the Netherlands (global feed companies). This idea originated two years ago when my co-founder (Atilla) and I first visited a pig farm to get in touch with the farmers and to understand the difficulties they face in livestock production. We are a close-knit international group and we already participated together in the Philips Innovation Award. Serket won us the AI program in Amsterdam, and I took 2nd place for the Nutreco Agrivision Contest, and we are currently participating in the Startupbootcamp FoodTech Program in Rome. We also signed partners with the Wageningen University StartLife program, and plans are in motion to do the same with other universities.
M:” What is exactly Serket? What do you guys do?”
AIl for Livestock Health Management!
Serket is named after the Egyptian goddess of nature, animals, medicine and magic.
We are a software company that helps farmers to monitor and trace their pigs individually and automatically. Our system uses a readily-available technology (also used in other industries) to solve the animal health and/or food safety concerns like antibiotics’ overuse, animal welfare, expensive hardware solutions and high mortality rate.
M: “Kristof, which is the value proposition for the farmers?”
As I am familiar with the farmer’s perspective, I believe in a good solution that is beneficial to the farmer. However, in most cases, the change is pushed through by third parties. For example, it is pointless for a farmer to simply install cameras at his farm, especially because it is difficult to install them considering anomia, humidity, and other external circumstances. However, we want to properly use these systems to reduce the farmer birth-to-slaughter mortality rate which is at 17.5% on average (European Statistics). Also, with Serket, we can even reduce the farmer antibiotics and drug overuse which is presently expensive and a huge threat to humanity as a whole because of highly-resistant strains of bacteria. Our systems can also be to simply lower the farmer hardware costs and increase the level of animal welfare with a system that doesn’t make use of ear tags. We know what it takes to build systems that are not mere decorations but serve as a benefit to the farmer because our software could be installed on these standard cameras.
M: “How do you see the future of livestock farming?”
The average age of Italian farmers is about 65 years and it is a general trend. So, we asked ourselves: how do we see future farms and farmers? We see a future for agriculture where life is better for the farmers and the animals. Thus, we imagine automatization without extra hardware and ear tags that may lead to injuries (around 28% of the animals suffer slightly to moderate ear damage) and will reduce the stress on animals that would normally result from the checks done by human labor. Therefore, we see future farmers that are highly-skilled in computer operations and future farms with an environment that is human free and one where animals can live without ear tags. The small cages wouldn’t be necessary anymore because our computer vision and AI system will enable us to raise and follow each of them individually. Overall, this will be also a better solution for the farmers as they will be in total control of their animals because, at the current state, it is impossible for farmers to take a family vacation.
M: “What are the next milestones?
The momentum with which this has happened is unbelievable because the change started much earlier than expected. EU legislators will bring serious changes to the industry to highlight its urgency, especially within the practice of animal husbandry, reduction of antibiotics, and raising animal welfare. The UN has the same agenda to follow. Also, a top Italian supermarket chain made it compulsory to monitor the pigs for their suppliers. In 2018, our priority is to continue partnering up with the leaders of the industry and also to strengthen the cooperation with the leading feed and genetic companies. Moreover, in a short-term, we plan to start testing our system on more than 10,000 animals. This testing will bring us the required knowledge to conquer all the challenges, including the overuse of antibiotics or the animal welfare issues with the harmful ear tags. We are also looking for partners to fulfill our mission and modernize the livestock health management.
Do you want to know more about Serket? Come to the Startupbootcamp Demo Day and meet Kristof! Ask for a free invitation using the form below.