This article details MycoLogic, a Georgia, USA based company innovating solutions for growing mushrooms indoors. The interview is with co-founder Dr. Chris Cornelison.
What is the origin story of MycoLogic?
MycoLogic began as an academic research project at Kennesaw State University by co-founders Drs. Chris Cornelison and Kyle Gabriel. As applied microbiologists, with a focus in mycology, we began to look at specialty mushroom cultivation after discussing the general lack of mushroom diversity in local markets. Why could we only find 3 varieties?
This inquiry led us to the conclusion that scalable solutions for the optimization of specialty mushrooms was a major limitation. With that, we wrote a Specialty Crop Block grant in 2017 requesting the funds to support the development of prototype mushroom cultivation modules using shipping containers and embedded systems with our proprietary software solution.
In this study, we demonstrated the efficiency of this approach and we were invited to participate in the Georgia Research Alliance Greater Yield Agriculture and Food Technology Accelerator Program where we began to consider the commercial potential of this technology.
At this same time, our research received some general press and we were contacted by numerous individuals interested in obtaining one of these cultivation modules. With the support of our mentors in the Greater Yield program and the interest of the general public, we decided to form MycoLogic LLC and move the technology out of the academic environment to pursue commercialization and get our technology into the hands of growers, where it can make a real difference.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing MycoLogic in the future?
MycoLogic was founded from university-based research efforts aimed at improving mushroom cultivation strategies and equipment for mushroom farmers. As the initial work began as a research-first endeavor, the greatest challenge for MycoLogic currently is bridging the gap between operating at a pilot scale and a fully independent commercial operation.
We plan to begin servicing our customer waitlist this summer and close our seed stage by the end of 2023.
What is unique about MycoLogic solutions compared to competitors? How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
Until very recently, specialty mushroom cultivators had only one option when they needed to add or expand cultivation area: build it themselves. This continues to be the most commonly utilized solution with mixed results. The process entails constructing a structure, measuring the conditions within, determining the ideal conditions for their strain of choice and then adding the necessary equipment to alter the climate to specifications.
This option is difficult, time consuming and, oftentimes, unknown to cultivators, as access to training is extremely limited.
Other companies have begun to offer drop-in mushroom cultivation modules as products, however, nearly all of these firms began with hydroponics and are expanding into mushroom cultivation. In contrast, MycoLogic’s product design was developed using feedback from current mushroom farmers with the goal of providing a key addition to the cultivation process at an approachable price point for all cultivators.
Today, MycoLogic’s competitive advantage comes from being focused on mushrooms first. Thanks to discussions with current mushroom growers along with the founders’ own expertise and experience in mushroom cultivation, MycoLogic’s modules contain no unnecessary components that add to the price and complexity and reduce the space available for product cultivation.
Long term, the main competitive advantage for MycoLogic will be its focus on research & development. None of MycoLogic’s current potential competitors appear to be combining microbiological research of mushroom cultivation with software development, which is a key way in which MycoLogic will help growers expand their product portfolios, as well as optimize control and yield.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?
We have been very fortunate to emerge from an ecosystem that is incredibly supportive. Even before the formation of MycoLogic, the research project (and co-founders) were receiving mentorship and training in technology development and commercialization as part of the Georgia Research Alliance Greater Yield Accelerator Program.
Our mentors have worked with hundreds of startup companies spinning out of university research, and that experience and knowledge is invaluable. Every question we had was answered. Until recently we didn't fully appreciate how valuable this was. When speaking with other founders that had to bootstrap their entire operation we realized how fortunate we are.
We continue to receive support and mentorship from the Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Centers for Innovation, greatly improving our confidence in the decisions we make.
We feel like our journey has been completely chaperoned and we have never been lacking in information. Without fully knowing it, participating in the training and mentoring programs has been an amazing catalyst for our development and helped us avoid many of the challenges and uncertainties that plague startups.
How can people connect with you or learn more about MycoLogic solutions?
Visit our website at https://mycologic.solutions
Follow us on social media at:
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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