Pivot Bio and BioLumic celebrated as finalists in the Agriculture and General Excellence categories

Pivot Bio's on-seed fertilizer

Berkeley, CA (May 14, 2024) - Pivot Bio, a leading sustainable agriculture company, was today listed as a finalist in both the Agriculture and General Excellence categories on Fast Company's 2024 list of World Changing Ideas. 

This honor marks the fifth in a series of top industry recognitions bestowed on Pivot Bio in recent months, following being named to CNBC's Disruptor 50 list, Reuter's Responsible Business's Product Innovation awards, TIME's list of Best Inventions and Fast Company's top 50 Most Innovative Companies.

Pivot Bio's on-seed technology introduced an entirely new class of products when launched in 2022 by integrating nitrogen seamlessly with planting. The first-ever product to deliver nitrogen-producing microbes on the seed for crops like corn, sorghum and spring wheat, Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 On-Seed (OS) and Pivot Bio RETURN® On-Seed provide growers with nitrogen that is better for their farms and the environment.

"Our on-seed technology enhances crop potential all season long by providing an efficient and dependable nitrogen source, ensuring nitrogen reaches the plant and isn't lost to volatilization or leaching," said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., Pivot Bio co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer. "With the introduction of our on-seed application, no special equipment is required for growers to use our nitrogen-producing microbes, making them available to every grower across the United States for the first time and providing a new, powerful tool for improving on-farm productivity and sustainability."

Pivot Bio products are now used across 5 million acres in the United States, with just two percent of the emissions of synthetic fertilizer and manufactured with 1,000 times less water. Last year, for the first time, corn farmers could plant their seeds with up to 25 percent of their nitrogen needs already in place through the use of this groundbreaking class of products.

About Pivot Bio

Pivot Bio is a leading sustainable agriculture company delivering farmers patented crop nutrition technologies that harness the power of nature to reliably and productively grow the food the world needs in the face of increasing volatility. Currently available in North America and soon in Brazil, the company's products are a breakthrough innovation. They are among the industry's most promising climate solutions because they deliver nitrogen to plants without the negative impacts of synthetic fertilizer. The company's nitrogen is weatherproof, safer to handle, and does not leach or contribute to nitrous oxide pollution. By making this possible for the first time at scale, Pivot Bio is upending the 190 billion USD nitrogen market. Pivot Bio has been recognized twice by Time magazine on its annual list of best inventions, by Fast Company on its World Changing Ideas and World's Most Innovative Companies lists, by CNBC in its Disruptor 50 list of private companies, and by Fortune on its Impact 20 list of startups driving social good. The company recently announced its fourth consecutive year of growth. For more information, visit PivotBio.com.

BioLumic Named Agriculture Finalist for World Changing Ideas by Fast Company

Ag biotech startup’s UV Light Treatments enables more sustainable rice farming

Champaign, IL (May 14, 2024) — BioLumic™, an agricultural biotech startup, has been named a finalist in Fast Company’s 2024 World Changing Ideas Awards. The company is recognized for its groundbreaking efforts in advancing climate-friendly, equitable, and profitable global rice production.

Utilizing ultraviolet (UV) light signaling technology, BioLumic activates potent beneficial traits in plants for yield, quality, and plant immunity without requiring genetic modification or chemical additives. Having worked across a range of seed crops, this innovative approach is now being applied to rice cultivation.

“We are harnessing plants' remarkable ability to adapt to environmental signals, leveraging UV light as a precise and powerful biological catalyst. In doing so, we’re tapping into plants' powerful mechanisms in entirely new ways, using UV light as a precise and powerful catalyst to activate genetic expression in seeds before they are sown," said Steve Sibulkin, CEO of BioLumic. "Our initial focus is on enhancing rice Genetic Expression Seed Traits™ to allow for early rice plant vigor, enabling them to effectively outcompete weeds without the need for flooded paddies.”

Doing so enables desired cultivation methods such as direct dry seeded rice (DDSR) and alternative wetting and drying (AWD), which offer the promise of increased yield while mitigating environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions and water inefficiency. Given rice’s critical role as a staple food for over 50% of the global population and its contribution of 10% of global methane emissions, BioLumic is dedicated to fostering sustainable cultivation practices that the company says are “practical, profitable, scalable, and quick to market.”

BioLumic’s platform is underpinned by the world’s largest photobiological plant response dataset, complemented by genetic expression markers, AI-driven analytical tools, and state-of-the-art treatment systems. Collaborating closely with partners dedicated to sustainable crop cultivation, BioLumic is expanding its repertoire of Genetic Expression Seed Traits, including rapid germination, faster root growth, and enhanced plant immunity.

In addition to rice, BioLumic has successfully worked with 12 different crops and is currently advancing its technology in corn and soybean seed production. The first light-treated corn and soybean seeds are expected to be available to U.S. farmers in 2025, marking a significant milestone in agricultural innovation.

The recognition as a 2024 Fast Company World Changing Ideas finalist is a testament to BioLumic’s transformative impact on global agricultural systems. This accolade underscores the vast potential of BioLumic’s light treatment technology to drive positive change and sustainability across the agricultural landscape.

“I was struck this year by the global sweep of the honorees,” says Fast Company editor-in-chief Brendan Vaughan. “It’s endlessly inspiring to see how the world is coming together to devise inventive solutions to our most challenging problems. We need ideas from everywhere, and this year’s World Changing Ideas Awards are an extraordinary encapsulation of the innovation and creativity that is so abundant around the globe.”

As a finalist, BioLumic is one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards showcase of 50 winners, 127 finalists, and 172 honorable mentions from companies across the globe. Winners were selected by a panel of Fast Company editors and reporters from a pool of more than 1,300 entries across sectors of climate, social justice, wellness, politics, technology, corporate social responsibility, and more.

About BioLumic

Founded in 2013, BioLumic is a New Zealand and U.S.-based agricultural biotech company using ultraviolet light signaling as a programming language for plants, rapidly unlocking improved growth, quality and health traits. BioLumic’s Light Signaling™ technology platform combines biological data, plant science and genetic marker knowledge to mediate plant’s natural genetic expression with a one-time application of light signals. BioLumic’s Light Treatments™ are scalable and require no chemical application, genetic modification, facility expansion or additional input costs. For more information on programming plants with light, see www.biolumic.com or email to info@biolumic.com.


Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at www.fastcompany.com. World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and bold concepts that make the world better. Judges choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to work on solving the problems that affect us all.