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The Team

Teamname: Acoon

Members: Michi, Semjon, Dennis

Start-up: Acoon
Founders: Michi, Semjon, Dennis
Mentors at university: Prof. Dr. Annette M. Schmidt (Mentoring Chemistry), Dr. Sebastian Sydlik(Transferscout), Dr. Dadhichi Paretkar (Transferscout)
University at which you study/work and faculty(s): University of Cologne – Geographical Institute, Alanus University, Technical school for agricultural economics Köln-Auweiler

What is your idea about?

At Acoon, we are dedicated to plant growth: To ensure our food production in times of climate change, droughts and heat waves, we use slightly chemically modified agricultural waste and by-products to store plant-available water and nutrients.

But don't worry - our product is 100% biodegradable and also healthy for soil and plants.

In order to provide an answer to the global challenges of climate change in relation to the worldwide production of plant-based food, we at Acoon have made it our mission to make plant cultivation climate-resistant.

In addition to sunlight, plants primarily need water and nutrients in order to develop healthily, which is leading to increasing problems in many regions of the world. In addition, large quantities of agricultural waste and by-products are removed from the soil with the harvest in Germany every year and are thus lost to the nutrient cycle.

With the help of food additives, we modify these by-products into small water reservoirs. So the by-product becomes a kind of mini-reservoir for the plant, helping it to survive drought and dry periods.

Does this solve all our problems? No, because nature is complex - and so is our product.

For this reason, we are working on additional components to offer tailor-made products specialized for individual crops, soil types and climatic conditions, thus pursuing a holistic approach. We want to address not only the problems of today, but also those of tomorrow.

For this reason, we work with biocompatible, 100% biodegradable materials in a regional production. We also strive to cooperate with NGO's and aid organizations.

How did you get together as a team?

Since we all come from the same sheltered Bergisch village, we have known each other for quite a long time and are good friends.

However, we only got together again as a team when Michi became a dad and wanted to save the world out of an intrinsic motivation and came up with the concept of Acoon. 

And since a team is only as successful as the sum of its parts, we took special care when putting together our team to ensure that our individual skills complemented each other as well as possible.

How did you come up with your idea?

The underlying topic is based on the further development of Michi's bachelor thesis topic. Here he researched synthetic polymers and their influence on soil hydrological properties. 

However, since these polymers are often based on petroleum and can therefore be toxic, we considered how this water-storing effect could be produced in a biological way. 

This was the first step and the concept became more complex from week to week.

What are you studying/working or what have you studied?

Michi: Geography student with a focus on food security and water as a resource in a global context + volunteer work in flood protection.

Semi: Master in Business Administration, since 4 years in operational management of a Berlin Tech-Startups

Dennis: Education in the agricultural sector , followed by a state exam in business administration