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How a tech entrepreneur went from potatoes to Amazon and back again

Everyone knows the built-in-a-garage startup origin story. But how about a tech company grown out of potato fields? “At the peak of planting, I was trying to write code while driving a tractor, which doesn’t work that well,” said David Wallace. “You’re bouncing around and trying to turn.” Lisa Stiffler reports for GeekWire.

In Western Washington’s Skagit Valley, the potato season is most intense during the summer months. So luckily David had other, less jostling opportunities to build CODA Farm Technologies, an internet of things (IoT) agriculture startup that he launched last year with his brother Connor. The Wallace Farm’s website proclaims the clan has “spuds in our blood.” David and Connor apparently bleed russets as well.

David graduated from Whitman College and earned a chemistry Ph.D. from John Hopkins University before taking a job at Amazon. After four years, he left a role as senior data scientist with Amazon Web Services to return to the farm. Connor has a physics degree from Reed College and worked as a software engineer in Portland and San Francisco.

The Wallace brothers developed an IoT platform that uses sensors and devices placed on “big gun” sprinkler reels and irrigation pumps that can automatically shut off the water when reels stops unexpectedly. Cellular signals share the information to a dashboard that lets a farmer remotely check the sprinklers to solve the problem.

The Wallaces are joining the surge in research and startups in the field of precision agriculture and ag tech. They are marketing their first product, called FarmHQ. The monitoring system works on any model of sprinkler reel, using a magnetic system to detect the rate that the equipment is rolling. If used on Google Chrome, the web app has a Spanish translation.

The video below can also be watched on YouTube here.

Source: GeekWire. Read the full story here
Photo: David Wallace, CODA Farm Technologies CEO and co-founder | CODA Farms Technologies photo)
Author: Lisa Stiffler is a reporter, editor and Northwest native who nearly two decades ago swapped a lab coat for a reporter’s notebook. Covers local efforts to use technology to solve environmental, health, societal and other do-gooder challenges. Follow @lisa_stiffler and email [email protected].

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