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Lithos Crop Protect: Invest AG and EIC invest


Lithos Crop Protect: Invest AG and the EIC invest in greener agriculture

Press release

Invest AG and the European Innovation Council Fund invest in successful Austrian biotech start-up Lithos Crop Protect to accelerate market roll-out of plant strengtheners, biostimulants and natural crop protection products, and to support further research and development activities.

Linz/Ennsdorf, 10 October 2023 – Lithos Crop Protect is an innovative start-up from Austria which is looking into new ways to make the future of agriculture more sustainable. The company has already put years of work into research and development and produced a technology that protects crops naturally by disrupting the reproductive cycle of pests. Pheromones specific to individual species that disrupt the mating behaviour of pests by confusing them are extremely effective when it comes to tackling pests even in very tiny concentrations. At the same time, they pose absolutely zero risk to all other organisms (such as bees), the environment and people.

There is only a limited amount of land available for agriculture. But a growing population still needs a secure and high-quality food supply. While this balancing act requires effective pest control, conventional chemical products used to protect crops often come under heavy flak and their use is being increasingly restricted or outlawed. That’s why Lithos Crop Protect is working on natural solutions to this problem – such as their patented pheromone application, the first sprayable product of its kind in the world. The Lithos Crop Protect technology is the first solution that is financially viable for large-scale application, and for agriculture in particular. As it can be spread using simple field sprayers, and possibly even drones in future, it is a simple and cost-effective method.

Enormous market potential globally – partnerships with global players

The first pheromone to be developed has been in the lengthy approval process for several years, while intensive research continues into other promising solutions. The new investors will help the start-up obtain final approval and start rolling out the first products in the market. The cash injection will also boost efforts to develop other applications based on this technology. Lithos Crop Protect has already partnered up with global players in a market with billion-dollar potential. There is certainly a significant amount of interest in products like these – including from the EU, which views it as a way of expanding its Green Deal to cover crop protection. At the same time, solutions such as these will make significant contributions to making agriculture greener and to ensuring food security.

Thanks to the investments from Invest AG and the EIC Fund, the European Commission’s development initiative for high-impact start-ups, the company can now achieve its next goals. “We started researching the agriculture of the future several years ago. With the support of Invest AG and the EIC, we are now ready to take the next giant leap forward and can focus all of our energy and efforts on getting our first sprayable pheromone products onto the market. In doing so, we will be making an important contribution to making agriculture more sustainable,” says Franz Reitbauer, Founder and CEO of Lithos Crop Protect GmbH.

“By making this investment, we are supporting the visionary team behind an Austrian start-up with the potential to be a game-changer for agriculture around the world. Thanks to this partnership – and the involvement of the EIC Fund – the initial roll-out of these products and the large-scale application of natural crop protection solutions should soon be a reality,” says Andreas Szigmund, Chair of Invest AG.

“We are looking forward to seeing such a breakthrough innovative solution emerge on a market that is suffering from a critical lack of environmentally friendly, efficient and affordable alternatives. We are looking forward to our further cooperation with the teams of Lithos Crop Protect and of Invest AG,” says Myriam Rouis, Investment Officer, EIC Investment Services.

About Lithos Crop Protect GmbH Lithos Crop Protect is involved in the development, approval and marketing of biological crop protection agents and biostimulants. Responsible crop protection makes an important contribution to ensuring that agriculture is sustainable and consequently to maintaining the basis for our existence. Lithos Crop Protect has therefore set itself the goal of developing innovative, high-quality solutions and bringing them to the market. The company focuses on the research and development of solutions that support nature and provide natural building blocks for integrated crop protection. Lithos Crop Protect GmbH is currently hard at work obtaining EU approval for pherolit®-d, the first sprayable pheromone for agriculture that protects corn against the Western Corn Rootworm. For more information, visit

About Invest Unternehmensbeteiligungs AG Invest Unternehmensbeteiligungs AG (Invest AG) is the leading private equity fund in Austria for medium-sized enterprises. Invest AG holds assets of around half a billion euros and invests between €2 m and €40 m in equity and mezzanine capital per transaction. With around 55 investments held, an accumulated portfolio value of €13.5 bn and 126,000 employees, Invest AG pursues long-term partnerships with medium-sized enterprises in the German-speaking regions and assists business throughout all stages of entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

About the EIC Fund Established in 2020, the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund) is a groundbreaking initiative from the European Commission for making direct equity and quasi-equity investments (between €500,000 and €15 m) in high-impact and deep-tech start-ups in Europe. The EIC Fund is taking the long-term approach and investing in businesses from all sectors, in all EU Member States and in affiliated countries. The aim of the EIC Fund is to close a critical gap in financing and its primary goal is to help companies develop and commercialise disruptive technologies. This is achieved by crowding-in market players and by spreading risk more widely by setting up a large network of capital investors and strategic partners who are suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding. The Fund is particularly focused on strengthening and supporting founders and on efforts to close the innovation gap between EU countries. For more information, visit

Please send queries to: Lithos Crop Protect GmbH Moritz Otahal, Marketing & Project Management +43 660 822 90 45,

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Innovation Council. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.



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