Chris Leyerle of Phytelligence

We write about a lot of high-tech stuff here at GeekWire. But here’s a new company that’s bringing a high-tech twist to one of the region’s oldest industries: agriculture.

Phytelligence today announced that it has received an undisclosed investment from leading angel investors in the region to continue development on the apple and cherry tree of the future, developing trees which are more robust and bear fruit quicker.

That could mean big bucks in a state like Washington, the biggest apple producer in the country. The researchers at Phytelligence also are working on new pear and cherry varieties, as well as more robust grape varieties.

CEO Chris Leyerle said that the financing round was oversubscribed, and included cash from individuals and businesses in the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry. A spin out of Washington State University, Phytelligence also today announced that it has begun taking orders from customers.

“Many of our customers recognize the benefits we can provide based on our proprietary technologies and know-how,” said Leyerle. “The broader industry urgently needs what we can now offer, which is why so many of our customers have decided to be our investors as well.”

Also on GeekWire Today: Bigger and better bamboo? Pendrell buys 68% stake in bamboo science firm Provitro 

Here’s a look at Leyerle presenting the company’s business model at the Northwest Entrepreneur Network’s First Look Forum.

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  • beowuff

    Does this mean these will be genetically modified apples? If so, no thanks. I really hope Washington passes the food label law to force labeling of genetically altered foods.

    Alter foods through selective breeding? Okay. Through adding animal genes in a lab? No thank you.

    I’m also worried about “our proprietary technologies and know-how”. What does that mean? Are we not learning from the debacle of Monsanto that food should not be “proprietary”?

    I suppose I just need more info.

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