ImpactAlpha, January 13 – Bristol, U.K.-based LettUs Grow aims to accelerate food cultivation closer to the point of consumption in order to “reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce.”
The startup raised £1 million ($1.3 million) from investors, universities, and government funders for its irrigation and monitoring technology for aeroponic farms, which can produce food in non-traditional growing environments because they don’t require soil.
LettUs Grow’s technology monitors the amount of water and nutrients delivered to plants grown in indoor farms. Its system is designed specifically for aeroponic farms, which use only light and small amounts of water to grow plants. The benefit of aeroponic farms is that more food can be produced in a relatively small amount of space, meaning these farms can be set up in places not traditionally used for agriculture, like urban areas.
LettUs Grow, which launched in 2015, secured a patent for its technology in 2017 and has recently started working with commercial growers in the U.K. U.K.-venture fund Bethnal Green Ventures, the University of Bristol, and the U.K.’s innovation agency Innovate UK have committed a mix of grant and investment capital to LettUs grow to support its technology development and commercialization.
Ending hunger, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture—U.N. Sustainable Development Goal No. 2—has spurred investment in new agriculture technologies. Early-stage agriculture and food tech ventures, like LettUs Grow, raised $10.1 billion in 2017, 29% more than they raised in 2016, according to data from AgFunderNews.
“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,” Charlie Guy, founder of LettUs Grow, said.