What happens when you combine a deep knowledge of plant science, curiosity about commercializing plant technology, and a burning passion for the environment? If you’re CEO Hunter Swisher, you create agtech startup Phospholutions, which just announced a new hub in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Plant Tech that Improves the Environment
Phosphorus is an element of fertilizer used on everything from farms to fairways, but although it is the second-most common nutrient used in food production worldwide, it typically is not absorbed effectively by plants. While a student in plant science at Penn State, Swisher started Phospholutions to develop technology that helps plants absorb phosphorus more effectively. The company makes a fertilizer additive incorporated into fertilizer during production.
By increasing fertilizer efficiency, farmers see improved root development, better absorption of phosphorus, and reduced water use. Increased efficiency also results in less runoff of fertilizer that can lead to the algae blooms that cause red tide. Phospholutions research shows that farmers can use half the amount of phosphorus and get the same crop productivity per acre. This means a reduced need for mining, less impact to the environment, and lower costs to the farmer.
Why St. Pete?
Swisher told the St. Pete Catalyst “We wanted to have a central location on the East Coast that makes it easy to travel between our offices and is a location that provides quality of life for employees in a professional setting that brings clients to us.”
At the office grand opening he spoke about being in St. Pete, saying, “The beautiful part about what Phospholutions does is that our mission is meant to try to keep the water beautiful. It’s a great reminder to be in our office looking out at that water every day.” Swisher also noted the convenience of transportation to and from Tampa Bay, saying that it would be easy for his board of directors to convene in the Sunshine City. He added with a laugh that he “traded a snow board for a wake board and has not complained once about it.”
In 2021, the company raised $10.3 million in Series A funding. The following year it secured a $250k investment in the Radical Carbon & Soil Challenge by UPL and was named one of five nutrient management technologies selected for the Farm2050 Nutrient Technology Trialing Platform, a dual-hemisphere agtech testing and validation platform.
The company opened the office in First Central Tower (360 Central Ave.) with five St. Pete employees and is currently recruiting; see the career page on their website for details.
For more, visit the Phospholutions website and see the St. Pete Catalyst article “Agritech startup Phospholutions opens downtown St. Pete hub.”