GroGuru: Strategic Water Management Solution for Farmers

The world currently faces a problem of catastrophic proportions, where we have too many people and insufficient water or food. Presently, there are 800 million chronically undernourished people. We are already using 70 percent of the freshwater supply for agriculture irrigation. In order to keep up with the rising population, we need to increase food production by 70 percent by the year 2050. 

Hence, optimal strategic water management is necessary for maximizing crop yield and saving water and other scarce resources in a sustainable manner. To address this problem, Farooq Anjum. Ph.D., and Jeff Campbell, Ph.D., founded GroGuru in 2014 to help farmers more efficiently manage water and other scarce resources on their farms, and increase crop yield at the same time. This is about getting the right amount of water at the right time to the crop. When this is done properly, it results in higher profits for the farmers. Intelligent water management is really process control of the crop and the root zone of the soil.

AI-Enabled Water Management Solution

The solutions provided by GroGuru aid farmers in increasing crop yield and using scarce resources like water, fertilizer, energy and labor more efficiently and sustainably. The company performs continuous root zone monitoring of the soil and utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Cloud to offer recommendations to farmers regarding the time and quantity of water to achieve optimum results. 

Using the GroGuru system can enhance soil health in the long run and help monitor and optimize regenerative agriculture and sustainability practices. Patrick Henry, President & CEO of GroGuru says, “GroGuru is focused on technology development where we provide unique value and we have also developed a number of strategic partnerships to leverage other best-in-class technologies.”

What’s more, GroGuru has a patented wireless underground system, GroGuru® WUGS, which allows the permanent installation of soil sensors even in annual field crops that require annual planting and harvesting (e.g., corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, sorghum). Hence, it provides continuous long-term soil data at the root zone of the crop. Further, the company has also blended data science and crop science in the Cloud. 

GroGuru has partners that provide weather forecasts, rainfall, ‘as-applied’ information from the irrigation system, crop models, and whole-farm management systems. The AI in the Cloud presents GroGuru’s water management recommendations via an intuitive, farmer-friendly user interface. This can be accessed by the farmer and his or her trusted advisors on their mobile device, tablet, or computer. In addition, GroGuru has developed major market channel partnerships in its target markets.

The GroGuru WUGS System 

The GroGuru WUGS solution involves the permanent installation of soil sensors, even in annual field crops, such as soybeans and corn. For potatoes and other root vegetables, the root zone of the crop is harvested. In such cases, the  GroGuru® InSites SaaS (software as a service) platform can be used with annually installed and removed soil sensors. 

Over the years, GroGuru has formed a trusted advisor network of crop protection providers, seed dealers, irrigation equipment dealers, precision ag specialists, and agronomy consultants. The experts help in working with farmers to implement the solutions offered by the company. Additionally, the GroGuru InSites platform is available with various templates for different types of crops. 

Transcending the Market  

Innovation is key for GroGuru. However, the company believes that innovation for the sake of innovation lacks meaning – the key is to innovate to offer valuable and unique solutions to real customer problems. This motive has led GroGuru to outshine the competitive alternatives in the market. The credit goes to the key attributes of the company’s solutions, namely scalability, time-saving, low maintenance, high reliability, ease of installation, and ease of use. Scalability of the software, hardware, and system are all crucial. 

The permanent installation of soil sensors and the resulting continuous root zone monitoring of the soil is crucial to obtaining maximum results in farming and implementing process control of the crop and the field. When it comes to the annual field crops, competitive alternatives to GroGuru are required to be installed and removed every year. Hence, they monitor during a subset of the growing season solely. 

Alternatively, GroGuru’s permanent solution has a thirty times advantage in terms of scalability of installation versus competitive alternatives. Historically, this has been a limiting factor when it comes to the use of soil sensors. Nonetheless, it is now a massive improvement. 

Patrick jokingly says, “With annual install and removal probes, you’d have to deploy the National Guard twice a year, every year, just to install soil sensors in the 8 million acres of irrigated corn in Nebraska. This clearly isn’t practical!”

The Inception of GroGuru and Its Journey So Far

The establishment of GroGuru is an amalgamation of two paths. The founder, Farooq Anjum, Ph.D., was a system engineering director at a startup focused on wireless communication for what is now called the Internet of Things. He faced trouble growing things in his own garden. Later, he was introduced to another co-founder, Jeff Campbell, Ph.D., who had over 20 years of experience developing sensor technologies for commercial agriculture.

One afternoon, Jeff was in a corn field knee-deep in mud, working to remove a soil sensor. He thought to himself, “There must be a better way!” Shortly after that, Jeff and Farooq joined forces with Patrick Henry, a seasoned entrepreneur, engineer, and technology business executive to have GroGuru focus on solutions addressing the most significant issues on the planet. Majorly, we need to have sufficient freshwater to drink and to grow crops, and enough nutritious food to feed the population.

Patrick says, “There is nothing more strategic than water and food. We cannot live without them.” GroGuru was established with the understanding that we need to grow food in such a manner that we do not destroy the planet in the process. This is about sustainability and being good stewards of scarce resources. Even more, this is about addressing issues that will impact the coming generations. 

So far, GroGuru has deployed its solutions in more than 200,000 acres of farmland of over 300 end customers/farmers and over 20 crop types. The company’s existing customers represent more than a million deployable acres and its dealer footprint is over 20 million acres. 

The GroGuru Expertise 

GroGuru is on a path to transform the agriculture industry. The company desires to offer a solution that does a better job of process control of the crop and field and deliver an automated solution for water management. Presently, the business is highly focused on technology development where it provides unique value. For the same, it is also focused on developing ecosystem partnerships to leverage other top-notch technologies. 

The company has been successful in assembling a team of experts with the right business, technical, and market domain expertise. The business expertise involves partnership development, market channel development, complex sales strategy, and product positioning. 

With regard to technical expertise, GroGuru has expertise in wireless communication, soil sensors, software, hardware, system engineering, electronics manufacturing, data science, and crop science. Finally, the business also has a team comprising members with significant experience in marketing and selling to farmers. 

Patrick says, “Our leadership team is committed to the success of GroGuru, our customers, partners, and investors. We have a shared vision and see what we are doing as important to farmers and important to the planet. It takes time to build a great company, and the GroGuru team is seasoned and expert in what that takes.”

Company Description: GroGuru is a company that helps farmers make more money by increasing crop yield while saving water and other scarce resources in a more sustainable way. 

Pull Quote: “GroGuru® WUGS and GroGuru® InSites offer a significant value proposition to farmers with a payback period of less than one growing season.”

Company Name: GroGuru, Inc

Founding Year: 2014

Office Locations: San Diego, CA

Official Website of the Company: 

Name of the Featured Leader: Patrick Henry

Designation of the Leader: President & CEO

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