This week Tim Hammerich and Amy Wu are exploring the concept of engineering a plant to provide signals of stress like pest pressure or disease pressure or nutrient deficiency. InnerPlant is developing traits that serve as biosensors for when each of these unique types of stressors occur. This can be monitored via satellite for early detection and hopefully swift and precise action by the farmer. InnerPlant founder and CEO Shely Aronov is joining us on today’s show.

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And when I say us, I not only mean you I, dear listener, but also my co-host for today’s episode Amy Wu. Amy is the author of the book “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food is Grown”. Amy and I teamed up earlier this year to produce some episodes together featuring women in agtech. This is the third of those episodes following Joanne Zhang in episode 263, and Ponsi Trivisvavet in episode 273. I highly encourage you to purchase a copy of Amy’s book, as it not only includes Joanne and Ponsi, but also several other former guests of this podcast: like Pam Marrone, Fatma Kaplan, Sarah Nolet, Mariana Vasconcelos, Christine Su, and others.

So, joining Amy and I is Shely Aronov. Shely grew up in Israel and came to the United States to get her MBA at Stanford, where she chose entrepreneurship as her focus. After some entrepreneurial ventures including a hummus company, she was inspired by some work her father in law was doing in biosensors which eventually led to founding InnerPlant in 2018.

I usually don’t feature companies on this show that are so early that they don’t yet have a commercial offering. But when Amy brought up the idea, the concept of communicating with plants was just too enticing for me to pass up. You’re going to hear a lot about how this works, why it could lead to significant improvements in management of these stressors, what it’s like to be a female agtech founder not from an ag background, and why farmers are paying to be part of this several months before there’s even a product available.