PRatian, the Puerto Rican startup seeking to revolutionize agriculture through space tech
The Puerto Rican startup PRatian hopes to utilize space technology to make famine a tale of the past. A shining example of social entrepreneurship, by commercializing space technology PRatian believes this technology can disrupt the agriculture sector for the benefit of society.
PRatian’s CEO Axel Garcia was employed by and studied at NASA, where he largely worked on how to grow plants in extreme environments. PRatian’s mission, as stated by Garcia in an interview, is “to not only contribute with our journey to enable deep space travel, but also [ improve ] societies’ capability here on Earth.”
Although the startup has several projects in development right now, such as “smart data processing of hyperspectral imaging, advanced waste management for transportation systems within cities, and space policy consulting to ameliorate local economy around space technologies,” its first released, and most renowned product, is AgroBeads, formerly known as Hydropearl.
AgroBeads allows for commercial crops to continue growing even in harsh weather conditions and drought by optimizing water usage and providing essential plant nutrients. In a territory like Puerto Rico, where food security has been more prevalent since Hurricane Maria, this technology can potentially have a far-reaching impact.
Even though PRatian faced $40,000 in loses after Hurricane Maria wiped out the startup’s AgroBeads test crops, the company has recovered well after receiving significant funding at the Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, where they earned $17,500 in awards.
CEO Garcia believes AgroBeads can provide some future security for Puerto Rico if widely used, and can minimize water usage to 34% of its current total. In addition, he affirms that ubiquitous use of AgroBeads will also accelerate crop growth and cut labor costs, all the while opening jobs in the manufacturing and transport of AgroBeads.