Ten agri-tech start-ups to pitch ideas to Tesco panel

The farming industry is set to improve its production systems as agri-tech innovation grows
The farming industry is set to improve its production systems as agri-tech innovation grows

Ten agri-tech start-ups which hold innovative solutions to modern agriculture's problems will pitch their ideas to Tesco next month.

The companies include seven businesses from the UK and the rest from Norway, Poland and Spain.

They will pitch their technology solutions to Tesco and its supply chain partners during next month's Agri T-Jam and World Agri-Tech Pitch Day.

Following a rigorous selection process which included detailed submissions, a video round and reviews by supplier partners, the ten finalists have been announced.

The start-ups will face questions from a panel of judges which includes senior members from Tesco’s agriculture, technology and product teams.

Each finalist will have seven minutes to pitch their idea, before fielding questions from the panel.

Announced the same day, the winner will be fast-tracked to introductions with Tesco’s supply chain partners, with ongoing support from the retailer's agriculture team.

This year’s ten selected finalists are:

Arcis Biotechnology (UK)

This start-up specialises in the rapid innovative room temperature extraction and stabilisation of nucleic acids.

Arcis kits are especially suited to in field extraction of nucleic acids including DNA and RNA, require no specialist equipment and stabilise nucleic acids for up to 90 days at room temperature.

Its products have proved particularly attractive to scientists testing for disease in soil, crops and livestock.

Biosystems Engineering

Biosystems Engineering is active in the application of IoT across the agri-food industry, from farm to table, including precision agriculture and food chain traceability.

Its CyberBar technology provides a tamper-proof system for assuring the provenance of food products while also delivering a novel approach to reducing food waste in the home.

BlakBear (UK)

This company builds novel chemical sensors, electronics and software to help the world feel, understand and improve itself.

From soil and food to air and water quality, in the field and across supply chains, it is pioneering the digital interface to the biochemical world.

Blakbear’s latest research focuses on ultra-low-cost packaging sensors for fish and meat products, to reduce waste and prevent food-borne diseases arising from spoiled foods.

CCm Technologies (UK)

This start-up transforms costly waste materials including CO2, ammonia and phosphorus back into valuable, sustainable, ultra-low carbon footprint products, such as fertilisers and plastics, with multiple applications across food, agriculture, wastewater treatment and energy.

The technology is economically viable without reliance on government subsidies and will contribute to solving the challenges of GHG emissions and deteriorating soil health.

Faromatics (Spain)

The Spanish company employs robotics, artificial intelligence and big data to increase animal welfare and farm productivity in intensive animal production.

Its flagship product, the ChickenBoy, is the world’s first ceiling-suspended robot that monitors ambient conditions, health and welfare and equipment function for broiler chickens.

It is currently being tested in several European countries and full commercialisation will start at the end of 2019.

Metronome Technologies (UK)

This company combined hardware and software platform provides best-in-class cold storage management.

Unlike traditional cold storage, its system uses AI to predict and actively manage when heating or cooling will be required within pre-defined boundaries, allowing power consumption to be shifted around in the day while keeping produce in optimal conditions.

This shift creates new opportunities for matching demand to supply - Metronome has turned the farm into a giant battery, storing renewable energy in vegetables.

N2 Applied (Norway)

The Norwegian agri start-up aims to fundamentally improve global food production.

N2’s technology enables the farmer to produce fertiliser on the farm from manure or biogas digestate, air and renewable energy.

The result is fertiliser produced with lower GHG emissions, that provides a similar yield to mineral fertiliser, at a competitive cost to the farmer.

The technology significantly reduces laughing gas, methane and ammonia emissions in the storage and spreading of manure.

Proteon Pharmaceuticals (Poland)

The Poland-based company uses precision biology for microbiome protection to improve animal and human health, increasing environmental sustainability and eliminating the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Its advanced phage technology platform combines genomics, bioinformatics, materials engineering and molecular biology enabling the company to discover, develop and deliver bacteriophages as a means of bacterial control in animal farming.

Roboscientific (UK)

Roboscientific has developed a new generation of sensors for detecting disease, infestation and contamination in agricultural products using Volatile Organic Compounds.

The technology is fast, reliable and affordable and at the point of commercialisation for its automatic early disease detection system for growing broiler poultry and early alerts of spoilage in stored potato and onion crops.

SmartBell (UK)

This company is an animal health management platform for livestock.

Its real-time monitoring solution uses AI and Internet of Things technology to record vital signs and enables disease detection, helping to decrease costs, achieve optimal growth targets and improve margins.

The product is uniquely designed to work from the birth of an animal and is able to track key health information through its life, helping farmers improve profits and producers and supermarkets to improve their supply chain sustainability.