Purdue plant science startup joins global network of emerging companies

Heliponix LLC, a Purdue University-affiliated startup, and its founders were selected to participate in the MassChallenge Switzerland 2020 accelerator program.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Heliponix LLC, a Purdue University-affiliated startup that designs, distributes, and supports direct-to-consumer, in-home greenhouses, has received an international honor. The startup and its founders were selected to participate in the MassChallenge Switzerland 2020 accelerator program.

Heliponix will join about 90 other startups from around the world for the accelerator, located in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Heliponix LLC, founded by Purdue Polytechnic Institute graduates Ivan Ball and Scott Massey, sells the GroPod Smart Garden Appliance. It is a small, fully-automated, in-home greenhouse to grow daily servings of Pure Produce from subscription Seed Pods.

"This under-the-counter appliance is priced at $1,995, and grows produce year-round, providing consumers with Pure Produce as a fresher and pesticide-free alternative to store bought produce which requires an inefficient supply chain battling constant losses from the perishability of the produce," Massey said. "Being selected for MassChallenge is a fantastic opportunity to be recognized and mentored by some of the titans of industry from around the world."

Since 2016, MassChallenge Switzerland has been a leader in helping startups across Europe and beyond grow their businesses. To date, the 270 MassChallenge Switzerland alumni have created value for both economies and societies by raising $242 million in funding, generating $71 million in revenue and creating 9,800 (direct and indirect) jobs.

Heliponix, a startup from Purdue Foundry's Startup Class of 2017, has seen increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic for Pure Produce, which enables consumers to enjoy contactless, pure produce needed to maintain a healthy immune system.

"Families really want a sustainable way to grow food in their homes and our technology provides that option thanks to our development of rotary aeroponics," Massey said. "This new kind of technology looks at using a small environment to provide controlled conditions for the growth of more plants than previously thought possible while using less water and energy."

Massey and Ball met while working as student research engineers on a NASA-funded project at Purdue, which contributed to the efforts to grow food on the International Space Station under Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture. They received their first preseed and seed investments from the Purdue Ag-celerator, which was founded jointly by Purdue Ventures, Purdue Foundry and Purdue's College of Agriculture in 2015.

About Purdue Research Foundation
The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park, Purdue Technology Centers and University Development Office. In 2020, the IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today's toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

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