WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Heliponix LLC, a Purdue University-affiliated startup that designs, distributes and supports direct-to-consumer, in-home greenhouses, has received an international honor. The startup and its founders were selected to participate in the MassChallenge Switzerland 2020 accelerator program.
Heliponix will join about 90 other startups from around the world for the accelerator, located in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Heliponix LLC, founded by Purdue Polytechnic Institute graduates Ivan Ball and Scott Massey, sells the GroPod Smart Garden Appliance. It is a small, fully-automated, in-home greenhouse to grow daily servings of Pure Produce from subscription Seed Pods.
“This under-the-counter appliance is priced at $1,995, and grows produce year-round, providing consumers with Pure Produce as a fresher and pesticide-free alternative to store bought produce which requires an inefficient supply chain battling constant losses from the perishability of the produce,” Massey said.
“Being selected for MassChallenge is a fantastic opportunity to be recognized and mentored by some of the titans of industry from around the world.”
Since 2016, MassChallenge Switzerland has been a leader in helping startups across Europe and beyond grow their businesses. To date, the 270 MassChallenge Switzerland alumni have created value for both economies and societies by raising $242 million in funding, generating $71 million in revenue and creating 9,800 direct and indirect jobs.
Heliponix, a startup from Purdue Foundry’s Startup Class of 2017, has seen increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic for Pure Produce, which enables consumers to enjoy contactless, pure produce needed to maintain a healthy immune system.
“Families really want a sustainable way to grow food in their homes and our technology provides that option thanks to our development of rotary aeroponics,” Massey said.
“This new kind of technology looks at using a small environment to provide controlled conditions for the growth of more plants than previously thought possible while using less water and energy.”
Massey and Ball met while working as student research engineers on a NASA-funded project at Purdue, which contributed to the efforts to grow food on the International Space Station under Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture.
They received their first preseed and seed investments from the Purdue Ag-celerator, which was founded jointly by Purdue Ventures, Purdue Foundry and Purdue’s College of Agriculture in 2015.