Innovative veg growing firm secures £1 million to build the farms of the future

An innovative Bristol firm which has developed a range of aeroponic technology for indoor farms has announced it has secured £1 million in funding to build world-leading indoor growing facilities.

LettUs Grow was awarded a grant of £399,650 by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to lead a £700,000 project – which will help increase food resilience and security in the face of climate change.

This is alongside a further €100,000 from the Green Challenge and several additional research grants.

As part of the project, LettUs Grow will work alongside ECH Engineering, industry leaders in controlled environment technology, and urban agriculture experts from Grow Bristol.

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, it’s expected that humanity will need to increase food production by 70% to feed over nine billion people. Existing methods of agriculture will not be enough to feed this burgeoning global population.

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.

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.

What is aeroponic growing?

Aeroponics is a way of growing plants without soil, where the roots are watered using a fine mist. Not only does this allow greater oxygenation of the roots, delivering better flavour and faster growth, but it uses up to 95% less water than traditional agriculture.

Charlie Guy, co-founder and managing director said: “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 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.”