UK agri-tech company, LettUs Grow, raises £2.35 million as demand for vertical farming technology rises
9th January 2020: Bristol, United Kingdom – Award-winning vertical and indoor farming technology company, LettUs Grow, has announced today that it has secured £2.35 million in seed funding. The investment round was led by Longwall Venture Partners LLP.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report states explicitly that climate change is threatening global food security with severe potential risks for traditional methods of food production. The report is clear that the level of risk will depend on how production, technological development and land management evolve. LettUs Grow was founded to mitigate these risks posed to agriculture and to lessen the environmental impacts of growing fresh produce.
LettUs Grow have designed a patent-pending indoor farming system for greenhouse and vertical farms to address global food security and sustainability concerns. These indoor farms need no fertile land to operate, use zero pesticides and provide a consistent, predictable and climate-resilient food supply all year round. LettUs Grow’s offering is centred around two core products: a novel aeroponic system and an integrated farm management software called Ostara. With their unique approach to aeroponics, LettUs Grow have shown growth rate increases of over 70% across a range of crops, compared to current vertical farming methods such as hydroponics. Ostara automates and controls the whole indoor farm, whilst collecting data on plants, overseeing inputs to crop growth and allowing farmers to trace crops from seed to sale, making operations more efficient.
Having built one of the world’s most advanced indoor aeroponic growing facilities in 2019 and with a growing pipeline of sales with key clients, LettUs Grow are well positioned to become a global leader in the indoor farming technology supply chain. The investment will allow them to build their second state-of-the-art aeroponic research centre, scale their existing technology, deliver on their growing sales pipeline and accelerate new product lines to market.
Charlie Guy, co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow:
“This investment gives us a platform to really accelerate in 2020 and scale-up the delivery of our game-changing technology to farmers across the country. We’re seeing rising demand from around the world for new technologies to help farmers grow crops in ways that mitigate against the effects of climate change and ever-increasing extreme weather events.”
Rebecca Todd, Investment Director at Longwall Ventures, an early stage technology investor:
“Food security is an emerging major international challenge, especially in this era of unpredictable climate that we are now entering. We at Longwall are excited to be backing LettUs Grow in the development of game-changing technology that has the potential to make a real difference by making food growing more efficient, predictable, controllable and local.”
The round also included follow-on investment from the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund (managed by Parkwalk), Bethnal Green Ventures and ClearlySo, with legal representation from VWV LLP.
Notes to the editor
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About LettUs Grow
LettUs Grow is a Bristol- based start-up designing irrigation and control technology for vertical farms. Their mission is to reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce, by empowering anyone to grow delicious food near its point of consumption.
Founded in 2015, the company conducted an extensive period of research and product development before patenting their proprietary aeroponic technology in 2017. Having demonstrated significant yield increases using the technology, they are now building commercial aeroponic systems for growers around the UK.
Ostara, combines crop performance data with agile controls to efficiently automate lighting, heat, irrigation and energy use in vertical farms.
These ‘closed-loop’ controls are unique for the industry, sending feedback on the crop produced to adjust the input required; reducing errors, improving crop quality and making this future farming method even more efficient. The system can be used in commercial-scale vertical farms, greenhouses or smaller urban farming projects. LettUs Grow’s plant scientists are working with world-leading researchers and key technical partners to optimise these conditions with a focus on growing the tastiest, highest quality, most sustainable crops.
About Longwall Venture Partners LLP
Longwall Venture Partners LLP is a venture capital firm investing in innovative, UK based, early stage companies in the life science and engineering sectors. Based on the Harwell Campus, a leading science, innovation and technology park, located just south of Oxford, Longwall manages three funds: the £30m Oxford Technology ECF, the £40m Longwall Ventures ECF and the £75m Longwall Ventures 3 ECF, which it is currently investing. The Longwall portfolio comprises companies in a wide range of sectors including scientific instrumentation, next generation sequencing, next generation PV, cancer diagnostics and drug delivery systems, digital health, satellite robotics, IoT security, radar, oil drilling tools and organ perfusion. Longwall Venture Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.
Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 149 clients raise more than £264 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual, family office and institutional investors. ClearlySo is headquartered in London.
About Bethnal Green Ventures
Bethnal Green Ventures is Europe’s leading early-stage tech for good VC. A certified BCorp, they invest in ambitious founders using technology to tackle big social and environmental problems that aim to radically improve millions of lives. Since 2012 they have invested in over 120 businesses, accelerating progress to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
University of Bristol Enterprise Fund
Managed by Parkwalk, The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund is an early stage investment fund backing scientific and technological companies spun out of the University of Bristol or being supported by the University’s SETsquared incubator.
Parkwalk is the largest growth EIS fund manager, backing world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions. With £250m of assets under management, it has invested in over 100 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol.
Parkwalk invests in businesses creating solutions to real-world challenges, with IP-protected innovations, across a range of sectors including life sciences, AI, quantum computing, advanced materials, genomics, cleantech, future of mobility, medtech and big data.