A company that began life as a Cardiff University student start-up has completed a £500,000 equity funding round.
Phytoponics specialises in the design, development and supply of Deep Water Culture systems for large scale sustainable hydroponic crop production
The investment comes from existing shareholders with match funding provided by the Development Bank of Wales as the company’s first institutional investor.
The company was co-founded by graduate Adam Dixon (BEng 2016) and Luke Parkin during Adam’s studies at Cardiff University School of Engineering, with the aim of delivering highly optimised hydroponic systems to produce better crop yields than traditional systems.
Headquartered in Abersytwyth, Phytoponics has a technical R&D facility in Yorkshire at Stockbridge Technology Centre, the renowned horticultural research and agriculture innovation hub.
The company has a number of controlled-environment glasshouses equipped with various configurations of its Deep Water Culture hydroponics technology growing different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, snack peppers and strawberries in addition to other experimental crops.
The company is also working closely with Edward Baarda Limited - the first commercial grower in the UK to deploy Phytoponics technology at scale, growing tomatoes hydroponically without a rockwool substrate.
Adam Dixon said: "We’re thrilled to have secured this funding which provides us with the necessary operating cash to scale up trials of our technology whilst enabling us to further innovate as we move closer to realising the commercial potential of what we’ve developed.
“I’m excited for the future as we move a step closer to achieving our mission to deliver the sustainable benefits of hydroponic agriculture at scale through the global deployment of our substrate-less Deep Water Culture growing solutions”.
CEO, Andy Jones commented: “I joined Phytoponics last summer and I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made over the last nine months. The results achieved in our Stockbridge glasshouses have led to significant commercial interest from some large industry players and generated a high degree of confidence from investors wishing to fund the next phase of the business.”
David Blake, Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales added: “As the first institutional investor in Phytoponics, we are delighted to support the scaling up and commercialisation of the technology. The potential reach for this exciting new solution is global with UK wide and international opportunities already evident and we wish the team every success.”
Mark Hindmarsh, Phytoponics Chairman, added: “To close any level of funding in these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic is no mean feat and I therefore would like to personally thank our new investors and existing shareholders for their continued support and belief in the future potential of the business. The company has come a long way since Adam’s very first prototypes he designed whilst studying at Cardiff University”.
The Phytoponics investment process was managed internally and supported by the company’s legal representative, Acuity Law and Blake Morgan on behalf of the Development Bank of Wales.