about us

about us

Vivent, a Swiss based deep tech SME, applies expertise in communication networks and information theory to biological systems. Early on we focused on working with plants and we can now diagnose a wide range of crop stressors, including soil borne pathogens, using artificial intelligence.

What we do

Vivent provides growers, breeders and other agtech companies with actionable information direct from plants themselves. We help clients see how and when plants respond to changing conditions and we provide early warning (days before visual symptoms) of abiotic and biotic stressors. With better information on plant responses, growers optimise conditions and increase yields and improve fruit quality. Early warning enables more effective and environmentally preferable crop protection. Plant scientists accelerate crop protection product development and improve use recommendations. Breeders can identify beneficial traits in real-time.

We are proud to be playing a role in transforming the future of agriculture to deliver safe and secure food while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.

Our team

Carrol Plummer
CEO

Carrol Plummer, (P.Eng, BSc Mechanical Engineering, MBA INSEAD), brings to the Vivent years of experience participating and investing in, as well as advising, small high technology businesses.

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Nigel Wallbridge
Executive Chairman

Dr Nigel Wallbridge, the Tech Entrepreneur (Ph.D, MIMechE, MBA INSEAD), is an internationally renowned serial entrepreneur with extensive experience founding and growing companies in both North America & Europe.

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Caleb Carroll
Chief Information Officer

Caleb Carroll’s leadership and technical contributions have been key to the success of a number of start-up companies. At Vivent he is using advanced machine learning techniques to interpret plant electrophysiology signals.

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Andrzej Kurenda
Chief Scientific Officer

Andrzej Kurenda brings in-depth knowledge of molecular biology and microscopy to Vivent’s team. His strong analytical and data processing skills enable him to quickly gain insights from the large data sets in Vivent’s world leading plant electrophysiology library.

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Nick Barker
Chief Technology Officer

Nick Barker (MA Engineering, MBA) has spent many years making computers interact in real time with the real world, and has invented and developed applications and systems ranging from safety critical monitoring systems, to mobile communications systems, indoor positioning systems and process control.

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Carl Rentes
Commercial Director

Carl Rentes is a senior professional with a broad international network and more than 30 years of experience in the agri- and horticulture industry. He has held successive commercial and business development and general management roles within the seed industry: at Seminis, Monsanto and Germains Seed Technology.

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Anna Custo
Chief of Data Science

Anna Custo (PhD in Computer Science) is a Data Science specialist who applies her 20 years of experience in machine learning and statistics to solving real life problems. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from MIT and a research fellowship from Harvard Medical School.

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Olivier Bourhis
Business Development

Olivier Bourhis is a member of the strategic committee at Sud Telecom Paris and has conducted an extensive number of international assignments for Fortune 500 companies in Europe, Asia and in the Americas.

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Norm Janssen
Business Development

Norm Janssen brings years of experience promoting innovation in agriculture as well his time as an International Nuffield Scholar to the team at Vivent. Based in Calgary, Canada he looks after the North American market.

Marina Martin Curran
Sustainability Manager

Marina Martin Curran has worked as a consultant since 2001 in areas relating to sustainability: from environmental reporting to assessing community investments for corporate clients. She holds the first PhD in corporate social responsibility from the University of Edinburgh. More recently she has lectured and worked on start-ups in the textile and clean energy sectors.

Thomas Meacham
Machine Learning Engineer

As well as his experience developing and deploying models, distributed streaming pipelines, and architecting backend infrastructure, Thomas Meacham brings a strong DevOps and Agile culture to the team, which he approaches with the same rigour he applies to his ones and zeros.

Alja van der Schuren
Plant Physiology Scientist

In order to satisfy her curiosity, Alja van der Schuren came to Lausanne for a PhD in root development on a new model plant for wheat. Having developed and optimised many research protocols by herself and having worked on extremely time-consuming and slow plant processes, she decided it was time to move to fast-paced industry, where also teamwork was more essential.

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Moritz Graeff
Plant Physiology Scientist

Dr. Moritz Graeff is a plant researcher whose research is focused on the question of how plants perceive their environment, and how they integrate this information to adapt their growth and development.

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Sandro Lecci
Senior Data Scientist

Sandro Lecci holds a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Lausanne where he investigated novel methodological and analytical approaches to analyze the brain electrical activity during sleep. He also worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the sleep research center of the CHUV where he studied the electrophysiological correlates of insomnia states.

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Thomas Caloz
Agronomy Specialist

Thomas Caloz brings a deep interest in all aspects of agronomy and strong practical and client service skills to Vivent. You can either find Thomas on a video call with clients or in the lab or greenhouse where he is always looking for ways to keep plants as healthy as possible. Thomas is currently completing research into drought stress in potatoes as well as working for Vivent.

Natalia Voltchkova
Financial Manager

Natalia Voltchkova (Msc,MBA, Advanced diploma Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) has substantial experience of working with a wide range of organisations from Start-ups to NGOs through to large Corporations. She also brings to Vivent her extensive knowledge of setting up & managing financial accounting, HR,quality control and sales management systems.

Sophie Grosclaude
Office Manager

Sophie Grosclaude is a highly experienced administrator and accounting assistant, she cut her teeth in Lausanne’s private banking sector before moving into the administrative management of a music school, a theatre and dance company and a landscape gardening firm. She brings to Vivent highly valued organizational and accounting skills as well as much prized local knowledge, as she hails from the Canton de Vaud.

Jose Ojeda
Digital Marketing Manager

Combining his multicultural and sports background, Jose Ojeda adds strong leadership and entrepreneurial qualities to the commercial team. Being a former student athlete and a professional soccer player, Jose understands and meets the high demands of a fast-paced culture. Jose is a digital marketing expert who focuses on delivering remarkable customer experiences and helping businesses to scale up. Jose is currently pursuing an EMBA degree at the University of Geneva.

Vivent Timeline

  •  

    1873

    Electrical signals in plants discovered ­John Burdon Sanderson

  •  

    1926

    JC Bose, inventor of radio shows plants generate signals in response to changes in their environment

  •  

    1950s – 1970s

    Norman Borlag, “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives” deve­lops high yield wheat varie­ties improving food ­security in Mexico, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

  •  

    1989

    Carrol and Nigel meet during INSEAD MBA program

  •  

    1991

    ARM introduces an embeddable core processor

  •  

    2001

    Caleb meets Carrol and Nigel

  •  

    2005

    Nigel, Caleb and Graeme Lowdon launch Wifi onboard train services in the UK

  •  

    2010

    Work on CANBUS leads to ideas on distributed networks in machines and people

  •  

    2012

    Vivent starts ­research into electrical­ signaling in living en­tities

  •  

    2014

    Following an article on Plant Intelligence in the New Scientist Vivent starts work on plant signaling

  •  

    Januari 2015

    Vivent produces a breadboard that ­reveals electrical ­signals in plants inside a Faraday cage

  •  

    August 2015

    Vivent files patents related to PhytlSigns technology and analytics

  •  

    October 2015

    First printed circuit boards tested for use inside and outside Faraday cages

  •  

    Januari 2016

    50 proof of concept devices produced for use outside of ­Faraday cages

  •  

    March 2016

    Beta version of ­software released for testing

  •  

    June 2016

    Major press coverage linked to Kickstarter campaign

  •  

    September 2016

    Firmware and client interface beta version development and testing

  •  

    October 2016

    Experimental results presented at UniLausanne. On-going trials with universities, research centers & large ag-tech companies

  •  

    Januari 2017

    Raspberry Pi ­incorporated as a data logger

  •  

    March 2017

    Signal playback ­experiments start

  •  

    Juli 2017

    Received CTI Inno­cheque funding for preliminary research project with Agroscope, Conthey Switzerland

  •  

    October 2017

    DARPA RadioBio program research starts in partnership with York University, Canada

  •  

    October 2017

    H2020 SME Phase 1 grant application successful and market research accelerates

  •  

    Februari 2018

    Innosuisse Project PISA starts with partners Agroscope, HEIG-VD and HEIA-FR

  •  

    March 2018

    Filed 2nd patent on interpretation of plant electrophysiology signals

  •  

    April 2018

    2 papers presented at GDR-PhyP

  •  

    June 2018

    1st multichannel PhytlSigns device operational

  •  

    July 2018

    1st of several papers published in IEEE

  •  

    August 2018

    CTI Innocheque project completed and results accepted for presentation at Acta Horticulturae

  •  

    August 2018

    PhytlSigns presented at IHC – International Horticulture Congress

  •  

    November 2018

    1st AI algorithms to diagnose plant stressors verified

  •  

    March 2019

    Developed algorithms for insect infestation

  •  

    April 2019

    Diagnose 1st fungal infection using ML models

  •  

    September 2019

    Accurately diagnose spider mites in tomatoes

  •  

    November 2019

    Paper in Scientific Reports

  •  

    December 2019

    Vivent presents to investors at Techtour Finals

  •  

    June 2020

    Crop irrigation systems being driven by plants themselves using PhytlSigns models.

  •  

    July 2020

    Astanor Ventures invests in Vivent’s Seed Round

  •  

    October 2020

    Vivent is a finalist in Topsector Innovation Prize 2020

  •  

    October 2021

    awarded Switzerland Innovation Tech 4 Impact grant

  •  

    November 2021

    ePlant invests in Vivent.

  •  

    December 2021

    BCorp Certification

  •  

    November 2021

    we measure the full life cycle of glasshouse tomatoes

  •  

    January 2022

    awarded FIT Growth Loan

  •  

    February 2022

    awarded prize by EIT Food in AgriTech Challenge

  •  

    July 2022

    Awarded Best For The World BCorp status.