Posted: May 17, 2017
Anyone who’s lived through winter in Northern Alberta knows how few precious daylight hours there are in the winter months, and how short the growing season is once spring finally arrives. Now imagine being able to grow plants all year round.
G2V Optics is improving the technology that makes it possible to grow plants indoors by mimicking the sunlight conditions of locations around the world. Its grow lights offer as close a match to natural sunlight as you can get, along with the ability to replicate sunlight conditions for any location on earth.
The venture was founded by Michael Taschuk, a former research associate at the University of Alberta. “We started with solar cell testing and plant research for indoor growing and vertical farming,” he explains. “We were trying to make better solar cells, but were frustrated with the testing equipment available. It was clear that there was a better way to do it.”
The small market for solar cell testing equipment made it an unviable business venture, but food production and indoor farming remains a much bigger problem going forward.
“It was very attractive to see if we could do something there,” said Michael.
The technology uses different coloured LEDs that are precisely controlled to mimic natural sunlight.
Now just over two years old, G2V Optics made a home out of TEC Edmonton’s coworking space, TEC Innovation District. Going in, Michael wanted two things: interactions with other early-stage businesses, and coaching.
“It’s been really good, Michael says. “I’ve had really detailed coaching, which has been enormously helpful.”
Since Michael is trained as a scientist, his biggest challenge remains learning to think of G2V Optics as a business first and foremost, rather than a technical problem. Luckily, marketing help from TEC Edmonton’s Executives in Residence is helping.
“[My coach] is good at challenging my thinking and is able to frame marketing in a way that I can understand,” Michael explains.
Going forward, Michael plans to move G2V Optics into grow lights for commercial applications, farms, research space, or even windowsill growing – he’s already received a lot of interest from the orchid growing community.
We wish Michael and the best as he continues to grow G2V Optics out of TEC Innovation District!