Insight into: Environmental Impact

We are keeping our eyes firmly on LettUs Grow's environmental impact throughout product development, as this is core to our fundamental mission: 

To reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce by empowering anyone to grow delicious food at its point of consumption.

Lifecycle Analysis

To keep track of our impact we are constantly updating a flexible spreadsheet model that quantifies lifecycle emissions of our different product concepts. This utilises official government figures for embedded carbon to help us design-in materials with a low environmental impact. Our ambition is to also factor in water-use and pollution as key, quantifiable variables within the model, which we will incorporate over summer 2017.

This analysis extends beyond simply tracking our impact and focuses on how LettUs Grow products can promote long-term use, "paying back" the emissions expended in their production. This can be achieved by displacing the carbon/water cost of salad bought at the supermarket with that grown from seed in the kitchen!

"Circular" Design Principles

This leads us onto one of our favourite methodologies within the sustainability movement; the Circular Economy. Popularised by Cradle to Cradle and the Ellen MacArthur Institute, the core aim is to stop materials going "cradle to grave", where old products find their way to land-fill, the environment, or sea.

Designing in Circular principles involves ensuring products can be disassembled, updated, and improved, to extend their product life. Similarly, designing products that are easy to return, disassemble, and reuse or recycle, when you are finished with them. If you're interested in this methodology then we recommend checking out the Ellen MacArthur institute for more information.

Any Suggestions?

But before you do that we'd like your help! We are always looking for materials, electronics, or companies to use within our supply chain that will help us achieve our environmental goals - of a low carbon, waste, and water footprint. So if you are interested in environmental impact, the circular economy, or sustainability, and have suggestions, then please drop us an email and we'd be really interested to chat!

Insight into: Research & Development

It is hard to keep track of the amount we've learnt from establishing and growing LettUs Grow over the past year, although we are trying! Two key lessons that jump out though are that:

  1. Research & Development (particularly for hardware) takes time!
  2. Building novel, better, technology is one of the best ways to spend your time before launching a business, as it can deliver a competitive advantage.

Bio-techno-logical Research

One of our key areas of progress over spring 2017 has been on the research and development of our aeroponic technology, which is how we deliver water and nutrients to plant roots as a fine mist. 

Jack has had his head buried in the scientific and hobbyist literature defining the best practise and we're super excited about some of the ways we can improve existing technology. This research builds on our practical success over Winter 2016 in growing large quantities of fresh produce.

Technology goals

Our core technology has applications across agriculture, but fundamentally will allow us to deliver the most productive and space-efficient LettUs Grow products possible, which is our #1 goal! We will be seeking to patent this technology within the latter months of 2017.

Returning to my original point, this R&D is both slow and vital, which we hope explains the time we've taken to get it right. At LettUs Grow we are striving to be the best, and that doesn't arrive overnight! 

To accelerate our progress we are exploring several exciting collaborations that will be announced over the next few months and will combine our knowledge with cutting edge expertise. We are always open to advice, or collaborations, so please get in touch through our contact form with any thoughts, or if you'd like to meet for a coffee/beer/salad!

Event: The Centre for Innovation Showcase

This week we’d simply like to share some pictures of our stall at the Centre for Innovation end of year showcase, which took place on the 4th of May. It was a great event, and we always welcome the opportunity to showcase LettUs Grow to the public. As can be seen in the attached pictures, we brought our compact showpiece along to showcase the technology in action! 

The Centre’s continued support has been vital to our progress and we want to take this opportunity to thank them and everyone we met on the evening for their valuable feedback, support, and advice. At this key stage of technological development, it is vital to receive outside perspectives and advice, and we look forward to following up with everyone.

Insight into: Funding

As members of our mailing list will know, here at LettUs Grow we are in the process of finalising a highly significant package of funding and support for the Summer of 2017 that has taken all of us full-time! We cannot release this publicly for now, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter below for all insider news...

Alongside this exciting pre-announcement, we also wanted to provide a few updates on our hard work since early February. We'll be releasing these as blogs over the coming months , so make sure you stay tuned here and through our social media!

Funding Progress

After the successful month of January, where we secured vital support from The Environment Now grant, we continued onwards with our funding push through to the end of March.

We prioritised sourcing the funds and expertise necessary to take LettUs Grow to market. This involved applying to numerous grant and accelerator programs and has resulted in a perfect package of funding.

Along the way we met some really impressive and inspiring people, presented multiple funding pitches, and received highly valuable feedback that has influenced our product and business development.

Just Eat Pre-Seed Accelerator

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One of our busier weeks involved the Just Eat Ventures pre-seed accelerator, where we reached the final 10 places, representing the only hardware offering within the final cohort, but just missed the final cut.

Within just one whirlwind week, we submitted our application and faced two rounds of pitching and interviews in London at Just Eat HQ. This intense experience and the feedback provided has proven extremely valuable in clarifying our investor proposition, and will be addressed through our fully-funded program of work beginning in June!

Please sign-up below for increasingly regular updates on our progress, or get in touch if you would like discuss investment.

Spring Update: Accelerating + Exciting Opportunities

It has been a really hectic few months since our successful pitch in January at The Environment Now competition that resulted in a £10,000 grant!

Our core aim has been to accelerate LettUs Grow to the market, having spent Autumn 2016 conducting some much needed hydroponic testing and market research. The grant was a fantastic way to start, and our goal for the end of March was to build on this with further funding, advice, and a new iteration of our prototype for use in ongoing growing tests.

Building on our success, we have been applying to a targeted number of accelerator programs and grants. These are the perfect combination of advice, funding, and networks, that are vital to launching any startup - and will cut months off the schedule required to bring LettUs Grow to market. This application sprint finished at the end of March, and already has resulted in some marked success by reaching the final 10 applicants (5 selected) of the Just Eat pre-seed accelerator. Stay tuned for further exciting news to be announced over the coming weeks!