News & Events


The Network / News

Permia Sensing Completes Overfunded Round with Growthdeck

by Growthdeck Team

14 March 2024

News portfolio  

We are delighted to announce that we have completed a fundraise for Permia Sensing, an Imperial College spinout focused on crop yield and lowering the environmental impact of palm farming (coconut, dates and oil).

Led by its unique acoustic sensor that monitors and analyses the health of palm trees, Permia Sensing aims to increase productivity on palm plantations while reducing environmental harm. Higher yields per hectare should also mean less additional land usage is required for palms in the future.

Permia also uses satellite and drone data to monitor hundreds of thousands of trees with AI algorithms. Instead of manual monitoring systems, farmers can check their trees’ health through Permia’s technology.

The technology was initially developed to detect Red Palm Weevil (RPW). The parasite has been declared a global threat to the food industry by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and is estimated to cause loss of around 10% of the world’s coconut palm yield each year, costing farmers around £450 million. Palm yields often underperform their potential by over 50%, with Red Palm Weevil being a key reason for coconuts and dates.

The system not only identifies which trees are underperforming, but also diagnoses what is wrong with them.

In 2024, Permia will expand its services to monitoring water stress and fertiliser usage as it continues to build a comprehensive service to help optimise crop yield.

The company currently operates in farms in South Asia and plans to expand into Africa and the Middle East, then Southeast Asia and South America by 2026. It is targeting sales to well-established Western companies that own and manage large palm plantations.

The team of Permia Sensing includes:

  • Dr Stephen Hampson, Co-Founder and Chairman, who is an experienced CEO-level executive in venture capital and high growth businesses. He is internationally recognised for his work in commercialising university spinouts, having led the creation of more than 30 deep tech ventures.
  • Efrem de Paiva, Co-Founder and CEO, who is an experienced entrepreneur with venture building experience in the UK, Brazil and Portugal. He has expertise in experience design for corporate venturing.
  • Dr Hasitha Wegiriya, Co-Founder and CTO, who holds a PhD in robotics from King’s College. Alongside his expertise in electronics and software design, Hasitha has direct experience of palm plantations through his own plantation in Sri Lanka.
  • Professor Thrishantha Nanayakkara, Co-Founder, who is a professor of Robotics and Director of Morph Lab at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London.

Paul Boon, Head of Financial Analysis at Growthdeck, says:

“Permia Sensing aims to become the market leader in agricultural palm tree monitoring – it has the potential to maximise palm yield and minimise environmental harm on a major scale.”

“It’s exciting to be backing such an impactful technology for such a critical crop. Improving palm production will have a transformative effect for farmers, food producers and consumers worldwide.”

Previous Back to index Next