- Isabela Valencia
Jon Pierre, CBO of Mantle Labs
With his background in finance and developmental economics, Jon probably didn't think he’d be working in the agritech space.
A Trinidad-born British national, Jon Pierre earned a Master’s in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford in 2010. He spent a decade working for banks and hedge funds.
Working with a group using AI for crop modelling piqued his interest in the role of technology in agriculture. A contact recommended he reach out to a new startup. Though Jon originally approached the startup as a customer, he ended up joining the team.
Today, Jon serves as the Chief Business Officer (CBO) of Mantle Lab, a London-based start-up using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor agricultural conditions like plant health, soil moisture and human activities. By closely monitoring global crops, Mantle Labs’ clients, ranging from banks to tech companies, can get a head's up of projected crop yields and problem hotspots.
Mantle Labs' innovation is in using AI to create a daily view of the earth unimpeded by clouds, traditionally a headache when applying remote sensing to agriculture. Farmers benefit from satellite imagery and can use it for precision agriculture, the practice of using data such as weather, soil, and water conditions to make informed decisions. Working with Mantle Labs, farmers can access a digital platform with reports and charts about the condition of their land, allowing them to make better, more informed decisions.
'Being more targeted with irrigation and different interventions—thereby being more efficient with your resource usage, being less wasteful, and incurring less cost as a farmer—that's a huge component where satellite imagery plays a role.'
Helping farmers adopt sustainable farming practices supports progress towards climate change and biodiversity goals. It also promotes economic development – something that’s important to Jon given his Caribbean roots and developmental economics background. Much of development work today involves engaging with farmers, who make up more than a quarter of the world’s population.
'It’s important that more people are finding this link between smallholder agriculture, addressing climate change and achieving sustainable development goals.'