The future of farming… in a shipping container?
Grow Your Own's mass-produced mushrooms could help tackle food shortages
Today’s startup is a particularly fascinating one, with its eyes on addressing the looming problem of food shortages. I just hope you like mushrooms. Scroll down to meet Grow Your Own. If you’ve not yet upgraded to a full membership, it’s well worth it to read all about this one.
Meanwhile, with my eye on the early-stage startup world, here are a couple of developments that caught my eye this week:
UK universities take on average more than three times as much equity in spinout startups than their US counterparts. There was a time when the UK startup scene was less well developed and this might have seemed understandable, but now it feels like a definite ‘room for improvement’ area.
Founders Factory has announced a £100m fund to support early-stage climate tech startups. Incidentally, look out for a startup that began life through Founders Factory right here soon.
Okay then, shall we begin? Let’s do that…
💷 Now raising
Early-stage startups looking for money right now…
Bridged isn’t the first startup to sell engagement tech to online publishers (I say this as a veteran of the poll widgets hype wave of circa 2013), but this London startup wants to help content owners act on societal and environmental issues by embedding relevant actions in their text, audio, or video content.
Previously part of Techstars’ late 2021 London cohort, Bridged aims to “create positive impact, enhance engagement, and boost monetisation by up to 150%” by automatically prompting the audience to, for example, sign a petition or donate to a charity while helping its customers collect GDPR-compliant first-party data.
Currently raising a €500,000 round to bring waitlisted customers online, and explore product-market fit on the road to a seed round. Visit their website
Grow Your Own is building farms in shipping containers
Looking at the climate emergency and the impact of the war in Ukraine, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future of global food supply. But while the outlook might be bleak in the short term, perhaps there’s room for some optimism.
Grow Your Own is a startup showing that innovation in food production is alive and well. Its big aim is to decouple food production from arable land use, via an automated farming system small enough to fit inside a shipping container. Combining IoT with biotech and smart use of data, there’s a lot going on here.
The Manchester-born startup is developing automated farms to be housed inside shipping containers that can be located wherever there’s a need for them.
Once a farm is set up for a crop, the tech will automatically regulate the environment, monitor the crop, and harvest it when it's ready. Powered by solar energy and using collected rainwater, these containers are designed to be a sustainable, ‘set and forget’ way of producing food.
The first crop Grow Your Own is working on is mushrooms, and that’s because the way farming will work inside these containers is designed specifically for them.
How it works
Co-founder and CEO Andrey Lopantsev explains: “With mushrooms, what you see in the store is actually just the fruiting body of the organism. The organism itself is actually within the ground or whatever you're growing in. It's called mycelium, which is this fungal network which carries nutrients around itself, digests stuff and actively moves to colonise areas that are still full of nutrients.
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