Expanding Customer Interviews with Master of Business and Science Students at KGI

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The insight we gained from conducting 130 interviews in the agriculture ecosystem for the National NSF I-corps team program and the NSF Beat-the-Odds boot camp was priceless. We learned about our customers’ needs and were able to develop a strategy to focus our product development efforts on specific customers, market segments, and pests. We learned how to address the farmer’s needs, and identify key partners, resources, and more. Despite our 130 interviews, only 55 of them were growers. That is because August and September are the peak harvest time. The farmers were not available to take our calls because they were out in the fields. We wanted to continue our customer discovery and interview more farmers when they were less busy. Luckily, we had the opportunity to sponsor a class project at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Master of Business and Science (MBS) program in Fall 2020. We thought since the harvest is over, farmers would have time to talk to us and with the students’ help, we could interview more farmers. Keep reading to discover what we found.

Pheronym is among the top 20 promising companies

Pheronym is among the top 20 promising companies developing the future of farming technology, selected by C&EN by ACS in the Q4 2020 Discovery report “Feeding the world”.

The report can be downloaded at www.acs.org/discoveryreports

It was mailed to members with the November 30 issue of C&EN. By the end of February/early March 2021 the report will be posted online, open access to all.


Pheronym has developed two biopesticides that use pheromones to control parasitic nematodes, improve soil health, and protect crops for better yield.

Without some method of treatment, about 12% of crops globally would be lost to plant-parasitic nematodes,” says Karl Cameron Schiller, co-founder and chief operating office of biotech startup Pheronym. To combat these pests,  Schiller and his team are developing non-toxic pesticide solutions that pose fewer risks to the environment.

Pheronym has developed two biopesticides that use pheromones to control parasitic nematodes, improve soil health, and protect crops for better yield.  Keep reading

Pheronym and USDA Enter into 5-Year CRADA

Focus is on full commercialization of company’s patented Nematode Pheromone Extract of Nematode Dispersal for Crop Biocontrol

DAVIS, CA, UNITED STATES, December 9, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest control company, has signed a 5-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS). This CRADA supports their existing National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR phase I grant awarded in mid-2020 and provides for greenhouse and field trials using the company’s patented method of pheromone production. The goal is to lay the final groundwork for commercial manufacturing of their sustainable, eco-friendly approach to pest control. The target pests include thrips, a globally important pest that developed resistance to chemical pesticides. Other target pests including but not limited to pecan weevil, citrus weevil, peachtree borer, and flatheaded appletree borer.
“The ability to deploy our solution at an industrial scale will contribute to a dramatic increase in sustainable agriculture,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym. “This CRADA with the USDA ARS is a critical next step to making that happen and enabling us to fully commercialize our natural approach to pest control that will be better for people and our planet.” Keep reading.