Semios Technologies, a client of the SFU-affiliated VentureLabs® business accelerator program, has won a $285,000 Verizon Powerful Answers Award for its high-tech pesticide-free agricultural pest management system.

Using wireless networks and integrated devices such as farm-based weather stations and camera-enabled traps, the system lets growers use non-toxic pheromones—the chemicals insects secrete to communicate with each other—for pest control.

This significantly reduces or eliminates the need for toxic insecticides.

“We’re obviously thrilled with the win,” says Semios founder and CEO, Michael Gilbert, who accepted the award sponsored by U.S. telecom giant Verizon at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month.

“We are very proud of the work the Semios team has accomplished to date and look forward to great progress with the assistance of this award in 2014. And we’re grateful for the expert strategic advisory services we’ve received from the VentureLabs’ team, who’ve been extremely supportive of everything we’re doing.

“In the past two years of field testing in North America and Europe we have proven that better information from the field improves a grower’s ability to manage pests across their crop. Recognition of our solutions in this forum is inspiring.”

Semios participated in the sustainability category of the Powerful Answers competition, which promotes innovative technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems in the areas of healthcare, education and sustainability.

In total, $10 million was awarded to the top 15 winners at the competition, five in each category, after a selection process that included some 1,300 entries and in-person pitches from the top 30 finalists.
Semios was the lone Canadian finalist in the competition.

VentureLabs is a world-class business accelerator program delivered by SFU, the University of Victoria, the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, in partnership with the B.C. Innovation Council. Other partners include the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Mitacs, a private not-for-profit organization that pairs companies with academics and government to promote Canadian research and development and training.

For more on Semios, visit; for more on VentureLabs, visit and for more on the awards/winners, visit

- SFU, Research


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