Press release: LettUs Grow named best “tech-for-good” startup in the UK

l to r - TV presenter Jason, Bradbury, Anne Sheehan of Vodafone, with Jack Farmer and India Langley of LettUs Grow_f.jpg

LettUs Grow, creator of advanced aeroponic technology and farm management software for indoor farms, has been named one of the UK’s top tech startups at the Vodafone Techstarter awards and won £45,000.


The programme celebrates startups developing and using technology as a force for good. It aims to uncover and develop ideas that harness the power of technology to improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility.

LettUs Grow will receive £45,000 alongside a 12-month programme of support from Vodafone and the Social Tech Trust - an investor in socially motivated tech.

Humanity must increase food production by 70% to feed an extra 2 billion people by 2050. We must do this with 25% less farmland, depleted soils and an increasingly unstable climate.

To address 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 a number of crops. Instead of using soil or water, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. This results in faster growth rates than conventional field growing or hydroponics, consistent and predictable year-round harvests, and a 95% reduction in water usage versus open-field agriculture.

Farms don’t need to use pesticides or herbicides when using LettUs Grow’s technology and by siting farms in densely populated areas, they can reduce the environmental impact of delivering food from plot to plate.

Jack Farmer, one of LettUs Grow’s three founders and operational lead, said: “We’re excited to be working with Vodafone.

“We are very keen to collaborate with them from a technical and a commercial standpoint. That mentorship is really going to help us develop our business.

“We are looking to work with Vodafone and a number of other key partners this year, to implement our hardware and software and deliver profitable pilot farms – in greenhouses, research centres and vertical farms – before then working with these partners to scale nationally and internationally.”

Nick Jeffery, chief executive, Vodafone UK, commented: “The range and calibre of the Vodafone Techstarter winners show that the UK is home to a thriving social tech sector.

“We believe the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation. These awards are just one way we can recognise, celebrate and support startups developing and using technology as a force for good.”

Ed Evans, chief executive of Social Tech Trust, had this to say of the awards: “Vodafone Techstarter is a hugely powerful platform that showcases the potential of partnership and demonstrates how cross-sector organisations can work together to create something truly inspiring.”

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

A fresh look at farming

The UK uses over 17 million hectares of land for farming, that’s over 70% of total land mass. Still, we rely on imports - shipping in half the food we eat (much of which is wasted). Sadly, the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the pond.


soil

The planet is losing 24 billion tonnes of productive soil each year due to intensive agriculture and the demand for food is only increasing. If we want to tackle food security, we need to take a fresh look at farming.

Indoor farming offers a solution. It can be used to grow more food on less land, produce it at or near the point of consumption, and reduce the resource cost of farming.

People often worry that new technologies, like aeroponics, want to replace traditional agriculture. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At LettUs Grow, our aim is to enable positive farming practices, even when times are tough.

Farmers are facing new challenges to feed the growing population: battling everything from climate change to degrading soils. Protecting farms against outward pressures is our top priority. We want to help them diversify their offering. By taking the pressure off the land and making use of indoor spaces, farms can produce more food without destroying natural habitats to create new farmland or driving soil fertility into the ground.

Farming alongside nature isn’t just great for the planet, it’s good for business too. Studies show that farms with more biodiversity have increased yields and lower running costs. This is due to the reduced need for fertilisers and pesticides.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how our technology could benefit your farm, you can get in touch here: info@lettusgrow.com

LettUs Grow one of 12 finalists in Techstarter awards

Tech-Starter-Shortlisted-Finalists_16.9.jpg

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

CW1_0709.jpg

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.