LettUs Grow one of 12 finalists in Techstarter awards

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Vodafone has announced that LettUs Grow is a finalist in their inaugural Techstarter awards, with a chance to win up to £45,000.


The programme, which is run in partnership with the the Social Tech Trust, celebrates startups developing and using technology as a force for good. It aims to uncover and develop ideas that harness the power of technology, connectivity and innovation to improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility.

We are one of six finalists in the for-profit category. The four winners from this category will each receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support, with the chance to win a further £10,00 in the Vodafone Techstarter Champion’s Award.

Jack Farmer, Co-founder and Operational Lead at LettUs Grow, will be pitching our idea to a panel of expert judges this Friday (18th January 2019). Jack had this to say about the awards: “We're excited to be competing as a finalist in the Vodafone Techstarter awards. Working with one of the leading global telecommunications companies would be hugely informative to our product development, as we continue to deploy ever larger aeroponic farms in 2019”

Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK commented: “We believe some of the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation. Vodafone Techstarter is about recognising and celebrating how UK startups are helping shape society for the better; we want to empower small businesses to truly make a difference in society. I’m really excited to meet the finalists and see first-hand the impact their ideas and innovations could have.”

Ed Evans, CEO of the Social Tech Trust said: “It’s fantastic to see such an inspiring group of social tech innovations make the Vodafone Techstarter shortlist. All of them are driven by social purpose and are making a positive contribution to people’s lives. We look forward to working with the winning teams to help them grow and scale their social impact.”

The Vodafone Techstarter winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 7th February.

Press release: LettUs Grow secures £1 million in funding to build the farms of the future

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LettUs Grow, creator of advanced aeroponic technology for indoor farms, announced today it has secured £1 million in funding to build world-leading indoor growing facilities, to help feed the growing global population.


The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has awarded the agri-tech company a grant of £399,650 to lead a £700,000 project - which will help increase food resilience and security in the face of climate change. LettUs Grow will work alongside ECH Engineering, industry leaders in controlled environment technology, and urban agriculture experts from Grow Bristol.  This is alongside a further €100,000 from the Green Challenge and several additional research grants.

The grants came hot on the heels of the disruptive startup’s most recent investment round, where they raised £460,000 from ClearlySo, Bethnal Green Ventures, the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund II, managed by Parkwalk Advisors, and angel investors. This funding has allowed the company to scale operations and drive forward product development to access a rapidly growing global market for efficient and sustainable farming technology.  

By 2050, humanity must increase food production by 70% to feed over 9 billion people. Existing methods of agriculture will not be enough to feed this burgeoning global population with 25% less farmland, degraded soil quality, and an ever more unstable climate. Alongside this, most ‘fresh’ produce is imported out of season, often travelling hundreds of miles to reach consumers and resulting in colossal waste throughout the supply chain.

To help solve this problem, LettUs Grow has designed a patent-pending aeroponic system that has shown growth rate increases of over 70% compared to existing solutions for leafy greens, salads and herb production. In aeroponics, instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. This results in faster growth rates than conventional hydroponics, consistent and predictable yields, and a 95% reduction in water usage versus open-field farming. LettUs Grow doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides and massively reduces the environmental impact of delivering food from farm to fork, by siting farms in rural and urban locations.

Charlie Guy, co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow: “This injection of private and public funding into the company enables us to accelerate our innovative products to market and build one of the most technically advanced facilities for indoor growing in the world.

“The global agri-tech industry is very exciting right now, all stemming from the necessity to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of food production. We are fielding enquiries from all around the world from food producers and farmers who want to experience the benefits of our technology across a growing range of crops.”

Matias Wibowo, investment manager at ClearlySo: “Innovation is critical to ensuring long-term food security and sustainability. Our investors see the value, both in terms of financial and environmental/social returns from tackling this systemic global problem. That’s why they got involved in LettUs Grow. LettUs Grow provides the technological innovation piece to the vertical smart farming movement that is currently trending rapidly in the urban context.”

For more information on how you can work with LettUs Grow or support their growth, contact Managing Director Charlie Guy on charlie@lettusgrow.org.

LettUs Grow win first place in two categories of the BMW i: UK Tech Founder Awards

LettUs Grow’s founders - Ben Crowther, Jack Farmer and Charlie Guy - have come out on top in two of the 14 categories at the BMW i: UK Tech Founder Awards: AgTech and FoodTech.


They revealed the winners of the awards at a fantastic celebration of entrepreneurial spirit in the tech industry in London on 21st November.

The BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards celebrate and champion the entrepreneurial journeys of those who create, disrupt and innovate within the UK’s rapidly changing tech landscape.

There was some stiff competition. The AgTech award was dominated by innovative leaders in the indoor farming sector, including representatives from GrowUp and Phytoponics.

Ben Crowther, one of LettUs Grow’s three founders, had this to say about the win: “We’re pleased to have won first place in not one, but two categories of the BMW i Tech Founder Awards - especially with such a high calibre of start-ups. A breakthrough start-up with a vision can have an incredible impact on the way we live and work. The effects can be world-changing.”

Francesca James, founder of the BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards: “We have been blown away by both the number and quality of applications from across a broad spectrum of niches. It is always an achievement in itself to be named a finalist in any Awards, perhaps more so within the thriving tech space. But special congratulations go to our winners.”

Full list of winners:

  1. AgTech Founder of the Year | Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer & Ben Crowther – LettUs Grow

  2. Blockchain Founder of the Year | Irina Albita & Maria Tanjala – Big Couch

  3. CleanTech Founder of the Year | Simon Bransfield-Garth – Azuri Technologies

  4. Disruptor of the Year | Ed Bussey – Quill

  5. EdTech Founder of the Year | Gareth Davies & Simon Potter – Kwiziq

  6. FinTech Founder of the Year | Kerim Derhalli – Invstr

  7. FoodTech Founder of the Year | Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer & Ben Crowther – LettUs Grow

  8. HealthTech Founder of the Year | Christopher Weeks & Alastair Byrne – Bounce

  9. Internet of Things Founder of the Year | Andrew Nowell – PitPat

  10. MADTech Founder of the Year | Adam Hildreth – Crisp

  11. PropTech Founder of the Year | Daniel Hegarty – Habito

  12. RegTech Founder of the Year | Mark Larkin – Vitaccess

  13. Retail & E-CommerceTech Founder of the Year | Markus Stripf, Tim Allen & Simon O’Regan – Spoon Guru

  14. UK Tech Founder of the Year | Ben Jeffries – Influencer 

LettUs Grow shortlisted for 3 categories in BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards

Our three founders: Ben Crowther, Jack Farmer and Charlie Guy, have been shortlisted for the Agri-tech, Food-tech and Clean-tech awards at the inaugural BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards.


It is brilliant to see our team being recognised for the fruits of their labour. It’s been full steam ahead the past few months. We’ve been to Amsterdam to pitch at the Green Challenge, entertained the BBC and delivered on our first sales.  We’re looking forward to expanding our reach and working with more farmers in 2019.

The BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards celebrates and champions the entrepreneurial journeys of those who create, disrupt and innovate within the UK’s rapidly changing tech landscape.

Charlie Guy, co-founder, said “We’re proud to be included in such a diverse group tech founders from all over the UK. LettUs Grow is entering an exciting time of development, working with forward-thinking farmers and a talented team to find food focussed solutions.”

Founder of the BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards, Francesa James, said: “We’ve been blown away by the quality of applicants received this year and believe our finalists are a great demonstration of the entrepreneurial talent in the UK’s tech space.

“Behind every great tech business is a great entrepreneur, and behind them is an inspiring story. These are the people who create, disrupt and innovate. That’s what we’re looking to celebrate and champion with the BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards.”

BMW i’s Sophie Chiappe said: “The finalists showcase the innovation challenges that businesses face and the technological advancements that will lead the way. Technology has to be at the forefront of business development. It is so important to celebrate this innovation and the individuals driving this forward.

“We are delighted to be partnered with the UK Tech Founder Awards and celebrate the entrepreneurial stories behind the individuals changing the future of the technological landscape.”

The winners of the first BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards will be announced at the Awards Final on Tuesday 27th November in London.

LettUs Grow feature on the Disrupt South West index

LettUs Grow feature on the Disrupt South West index

On Thursday 27 September, Disrupt South West hosted its invitation-only launch event, ‘DisruptSW reimagined’, to announce the results of its 2018 Index. LettUs Grow were included as one of the top 25 disrupter businesses. The inspiring event, held in Loco Klub, Bristol, celebrated the top 25 disruptive ventures with headquarters in the region which hold the greatest potential to influence, change or create new markets.


The Index is a one-of-a-kind collaboration from ADLIBFoot Anstey, and Tällt Ventures, and was compiled after ranking South West businesses against three ingredients essential to success: People, Product and Potential.

The purpose of Disrupt South West is to feature, highlight, showcase and inspire South West business success and growth stories, celebrating those businesses and people that truly disrupt and challenge the given.

Recognising the very best in South West imagination and innovation, the launch event was sponsored by ForrestBrown, an award-winning research and development (R&D) tax credit consultancy firm that helps innovative businesses grow.

The 25 finalists in the Disrupt South West 2018 Index have equally been recognised for their remarkable success in disrupting across the categories of People, Product and Potential, and Foot Anstey, ADLIB and Tällt Ventures are looking forward to seeing what these businesses achieve in the year ahead.

For further information on Disrupt South West and to find out about last year’s Index, please visit: www.disruptsouthwest.co.uk.

 

We’ve won 100,000 euros in the Green Challenge for our revolutionary indoor agriculture method

Our Managing Director and Co-founder, Charlie Guy, has just returned from Amsterdam after competing in the Green Challenge, a sustainable entrepreneurship competition. We were awarded 100,000 euros to accelerate the development of our aeroponic equipment and farm management system, Ostara®️.


The recognition of the Green Challenge shows that we are developing a viable solution to the many problems that our global agricultural systems will face in the future, from water shortages to the effects of extreme weather. We allow farmers to protect their crops, diversify what they are growing and massively reduce their ecological footprint.

With this sum of money, we can further develop our business. The support we've had from the Green Challenge will allow us to bring about a real step change in agricultural productivity and reduce the resource cost of fresh produce for farmers all over the world.

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Charlie said: “It was a brilliant experience to stand up on stage in front of so many people who share the same passion for sustainable enterprises.

“Although the stakes were high, there was a fantastic atmosphere because everybody taking part was already a winner, and anything else we could of won would have just been a huge bonus.”

We were proud to be representing the creative spirit of Bristol. There is a fantastic community in the city which has been so supportive from the very start, so it’s great to get some recognition for the really exciting work happening here. It’s not just technology firms, there are so many projects and organisations who have gotten involved and are working together to come up with sustainable solutions for the future.

The winning startups

In addition to LettUs Grow, the Dutch startup AquaBattery and American startup AlgiKnitwill take the same amount home. The first prize of half a million euro goes to the air bubble curtain that combats plastic pollution in our seas by startup The Great Bubble Barrier from The Netherlands. The runner-up prize of EUR 200,000 is for the textile recycling marketplace by startup Reverse Resources from Estonia. This brings the total prize pool of one of the biggest sustainability competitions in the world to EUR 1 million. In addition to the prize money, all five finalists will receive six months of expert coaching to improve the likelihood of their businesses succeeding.

Record number of entries

This year, a record number of 845 entrepreneurs from 100 countries submitted their sustainable business plans aimed at combating climate change. Last year, the Rwandan startup EarthEnable won the EUR 500,000 first prize with their sustainable alternative to cement.