In 2019, Elena Konstantinova, who is 23 now, but was just 19 at the time, launched the startup Aerospace-Agro. Elena and her team created a new AI-based mathematical model in order to evaluate the conditions of agricultural land (for instance, it could evaluate the state and composition of soil), increase crop yields, and monitor fields for emergencies. 

Their product combines aerospace technology and IT. First, satellite images and field survey data from the area are processed by artificial intelligence. Then, a team of IT specialists and agriculturists analyzes the resulting data to create a mathematical model that predicts crop yields while listing potential threats. In the end, several potential solutions to each problem are suggested to the customer.

This technology was successfully implemented in more than 20 cases by agricultural companies of various sizes from seven Russian regions (the Krasnodar, Stavropol, and Primorsky krais, as well as the Sverdlovsk, Tula, Vladimir, and Moscow oblasts). For example, Aerospace-Agro was able to detect a plant infection and recommend the use of moisture-absorbing compounds, which prevented the loss of 70% of the crop yield, at an agricultural site in the Moscow Oblast.

This year, Aerospace-Agro begins its collaboration with the environmental foundation Kompas and the Russian State University for Geological Prospecting. It is also engaged in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture of Kyrgyzstan regarding the development of a digital agrotechnological platform to be used in the country.

A field in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. Credit: Viktor SOLOMONIK (@solomonikvik) via Unsplash

A field in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. Credit: Viktor SOLOMONIK (@solomonikvik) via Unsplash

As Elena Konstantinova tells ITMO.NEWS, her startup is currently looking for investors. The team plans to further develop their technology while running more tests and conducting more research in collaboration with the industry. Their goal is to do more agricultural research both in Russia and abroad, primarily in Asia and Africa. At the same time, Elena continues to study in ITMO University’s Innovation Entrepreneurship Master’s program.

“ITMO has a great Master’s program about space technology entrepreneurship. As a researcher, I need to keep track of all the new developments and remain in touch with the scientific community. ITMO provides me with these opportunities, so, naturally, I plan to apply for a PhD program here. I consider it to be an important stage of my scientific career,” says Elena Konstantinova.

30 Under 30 is an annual ranking published by Forbes Russia since 2020. Its nominees are specialists aged under 30 years old who already enjoy national or international recognition in their professional community. The ranking is split into 10 categories. The longlist, compiled by Forbes editors in collaboration with industry experts, such as businesspeople, managers, investors, and consultants, includes 100 names in total. 

You can vote for nominees on the magazine’s website. The voting is open up to and including May 15.

The overall winners (three in each category) will be determined by a combination of votes from both users and experts. The final list will be published in the June issue of the magazine.