S6E73: David Ahmed / Hexafarms - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, a ‘Never Satisfied' Attitude, & Humility in Vertical Farms
Vertical Farming PodcastNovember 12, 2022x
52:2047.91 MB

S6E73: David Ahmed / Hexafarms - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, a ‘Never Satisfied' Attitude, & Humility in Vertical Farms

Episode Summary

David Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of HexaFarms, an Ag-Tech Startup that develops software for vertical-farming systems. They harvest data and leverage the potential of AI to identify optimal growth conditions for various crops grown in vertical farms. Today, Harry and David expound on the impact of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies on vertical farming, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and his amazing experience at Techstars Berlin. 

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Key Takeaways

07:13 – Harry welcomes David Ahmed to the show to discuss his experience living in multiple countries across the world, how he got involved in vertical farming and his passion for biology and computer science 

14:57 – Square Roots, inspiration and moving to United Arab Emirates (UAE)  

19:47 – A ‘Never Satisfied’ Mentality and Ahmed’s experience at Techstars Berlin  

26:34 – David’s growth as a first-time CEO 

29:55 – The ideal partner for HexaFarms 

32:01 – Disrupting the norms and how David thinks about hiring and growing a world-class team 

35:37 – David speculates on Artificial Intelligence, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and potentially starting his own farm

43:36 – The biggest challenges posed to HexaFarms currently 

45:55 – A tough question David has had to ask himself recently and the origin of the name, HexaFarms 

51:47 – Harry thanks David for joining the show and lets listeners know where they can connect with him and learn more about Hexafarms 

52:49 – A specific ask David has for the audience 

Tweetable Quotes

“Just being able to grow food indoors is not an achievement. What is an achievement is can you commercialize it.” (11:04) (David) 

“I have actually tried to look into myself and understand why I like plants. And, I think the answer is that I see in plants the same version of a computer algorithm. Plants are really fascinating, beautiful algorithms interacting with physical properties in nature…I think the meta-answer is that I like plants just because they’re like algorithms and it gives me a sense of understanding and appreciation of things around me. I see a divine design in plants, and the same with computers. Computers are manmade and plants are Godmade.” (12:10) (David) 

“On our website we say, ‘Forty percent cost reduction,’ and I mean it. We have been running a farm and doing experiments. When I started doing our work, we set up a lab and we really are trying to be as realistic as possible, measuring every single thing like, ‘How many minutes am I spending on my seedling? How many minutes am I spending on harvesting? How many times do I have to go down to the lab to check on stuff?’” (20:26) (David) 

“I do question the norms. I mean, c’mon, take traditional farming. Tilling the ground is the conventional wisdom, but it’s not necessarily true. If you go to India, literally at the end of the season the whole swath of land is just going to be tilled. And they think it gives air and airflow in the soil, but it’s not true.” (32:16) (David) 

“Our AI can also take into account the factors I mentioned: CO2, temperature, humidity, PH, more factors. It can easily co-relate those things. It can predict harvest time, using normal cameras.” (40:57) (David) 

“The name HexaFarms comes from hexagon, which is a mathematically super beautiful structure. So, if you look at honey bees and honeycombs, the structure is a hexagon. It has a bunch of other qualities, but one of them is that if you have to 3D pack something…it makes the most efficient structure.” (50:19) (David) 

Resources Mentioned

David’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-ahmed/

HexaFarms – https://www.hexafarms.com/ 

HexaFarms Email – info@hexafarms.com 

HexaFarms LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/hexa-farms/ 

HexaFarms Twitter – https://twitter.com/HexaFarms/ 

HexaFarms Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hexafarms/ 

Square Roots – https://www.squarerootsgrow.com/ 

Techstars Berlin – https://www.linkedin.com/company/techstars-berlin-accelerator/ 

Sponsor Info

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Cultivatd’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cultivatdco/

Cultivatd’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/cultivatd

Cultivatd’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cultivatd/


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