Develop a good partnership with the industry as soon as possible

Equinom breed food that promotes better health, to reduce the carbs and increase the protein levels

Please introduce yourself and your startup Equinom to our readers!
My name is Gil Shalev, I received my PHd from the Hebrew university on genetics and plant breeding and then I started work as Tomato Pre-breeder for Vilmorin Clause & Cie (VCO) located at Hazera genetics. The position included establishment of the department of pre-breeding, building scientific programs and establishment of new phenotyping methodology into the research of breeding. All processes were done from discovery, development through to validation and proof of concept in elite breeding material. The department served all tomato breeders (more than 30) and the molecular labs within the group. My company is trying to change the way we see our food, and the way we consume it. We breed food that promotes better health, to reduce the carbs and increase the protein levels, the healthy ones.

We want people to enjoy ingredients and products that are made from grains – and fully enjoy and appreciate the wonders that nature brings.

How did you get the idea to Equinom?
Back to 2010 a major development led to the dramatic reduction on cost of genomic sequencing. The consequence was the ability to us those tools directly in breeding to support also crop programs with lower revenues rather than just the big major crop such as Corn and Soy. This presented the opportunity for the creation of companies which could specialize in using those tools without the need to buy expensive machinery to do the sequencing. The world of cultivation nevertheless have still not fully not taken advantage of the genomic revolution to breed for seed quality in complicated products where yield isn’t not the only parameter – (an essential issue for us and as demonstrated in tomato breeding).

Having access to genomics is not enough for cultivators who are accustomed to looking at the output characteristics.

There needs to be understanding of the quality characteristics and the genomic connection to them. This revolution led me to found Equinom and to develop new breeding methodologies with unique algorithms that support the selection specific traits for breeding high value legumes with accuracy and improve product control by multiple genes and genomics regions. This provided Equinom the platform to develop smarter seeds with the required agronomic traits and the desired qualities that truly responds to the needs of the food and food ingredient industries.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Staring a start-up in the seeds industries is very difficult to due to time constraints for development and the risks involved. But thanks to Equinom technologies and breeding methodologies we succeeded in convincing our investors that we can over come the time and risk obstacles effectively and we focused their attention on the end result,- that smarter seeds generate huge margins. We knew that we had in our hands a technology with the potential to bring huge value and an excellent team to push it forward to the market.

Who is your target audience?
Food and ingredient companies are our end consumers for the product we developed. We support farmers to help them to increase their crop revenues by suppling them the seeds that generate more revenue per sqm. Equinom key audience is US and globally. We believe populations worldwide should eat healthier food form what nature gave us .

Until now (due to lack of technologies), we have been breeding our food only for yield not for quality and the focus has largely been feed and biofuel industries rather than us.

What is the USP of your startup?
Smarter seeds generate more revenues to the farmers, generate more revenues to the food and ingredient industries and make our food healther.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I start to work at 5:00 am, meet the team go to the fields, and then meet the bioinformation team to see the results. During the day I have calls and meetings with the entire “supply chain” customers, teams of farmers, partners and technical team. Lunch we eat together – fresh food, and jokes and good vibe with the teams…and then the day continues.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Equinom in five years?
Equinom will be a leading company which deliver seeds for the entire food and ingredient industries to be a B1 $ company.

I was born to be a breeder, I am still a breeder and I will continue to breed.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Work on Technology that creates products that there is a real market need for. This requires good market research.
Hire a talent team willing to dream, realistic dreams, and execute these dreams
Develop a good partnership with the industry as soon as possible (it will bring more value to the development)

More information you will find here

Thank you Gil Shalev for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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