How we helped robots Tom, Dick & Harry tend the big fields of Canada

Salisbury SME the Small Robot Company has developed an autonomous robotic farming system that boosts agricultural productivity, ridding fields of weeds and helping crops to grow with fewer chemicals and no heavy machinery.

Posted on: 08/04/2022

Are we about to see a robot revolution in agriculture? Even before Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, problems of labour supply were nothing new in farming (and use of pesticides is increasingly problematic). We need to produce more food for a growing world population, but without taking up more land or further contributing to climate change. Could robots do the job of weeding and tending crops more precisely, reliably and cost-effectively, and in a way that is better for the environment?

Salisbury SME the Small Robot Company has developed an autonomous robotic farming system that boosts agricultural productivity, ridding fields of weeds and helping crops to grow with fewer chemicals and no heavy machinery.

Biotech Multus Biotechnology develops a game changing IP strategy, becomes investment ready and secures new partnerships as a platform for job growth, all with support from Innovate UK EDGE.

As consumers become increasingly mindful of animal welfare and climate change concerns, cultivated meat – meat produced by cultivating cells directly, eliminating the need to raise farm animals – is set for exponential growth.

The market is projected to be worth $140bn by 2030 as increasing ethical concerns combine with rising global demand for meat.

London-based Multus Biotechnology is now innovating to lead this global shift, bringing competitively priced, high-quality cultivated meat products to consumers across the world.

The company develops the key ingredient in cultivated meat, a growth media, which enables efficient growth of cells derived from a sustainable and non-animal source.

Multus comprises of a group of scientists and engineers who are passionate about building a sustainable future and, like many ambitious innovators, they required specialist support to accelerate their growth.

“We were at a point in our development where excellence in IP management, marketing, sales, innovation strategy development, investment readiness and internationalisation are critical to growth,” says Cai Linton, Co-founder & CEO of Multus Biotechnology.

“In addition, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic had increased our consumables costs and delayed milestones.

In March 2021, in the midst of the global COVID pandemic, Multus began work with Innovate UK EDGE Innovation and Growth Specialist, Abrar Jawaid, who stepped in to help manage these challenges and ignite sustainable growth.

Game changing IP support from Innovate UK EDGE

“The decision to bring in expertise from Innovate UK EDGE to assist in our growth and development has proved to be a real game-changer,” says Cai Linton.

Innovate UK EDGE stepped in to deliver an IP Audit and support the company in accessing grants totalling £7,500.

In just under a year, the company has used this support to solidify its market position and achieve several key milestones in its business journey.

“The IP Audit provided key recommendations to improve the strength of our contracts and build upon our IP protection and exploitation strategy,” says Cai Linton.

“The IP professional conducted a review of our technology and branding and made recommendations on the appropriate IP protection routes and frameworks for capturing future IP.

“This included patents, trade secrets and trademarks and was critical to our understanding of how best to exploit our technological advancements in a sustainable and profitable way.”

Innovate UK EDGE has since helped Multus to secure an IP Access grant, which has allowed the company to act on the recommendations of the IP Audit relating to technology patent protection.

Investment readiness and partnership scoping support

Innovate UK EDGE next supported Multus in the development of a compelling pitch deck and introduced the company to potential investors. Using these new investor connections, the company is now beginning a series A funding round.

“Abrar also introduced our company to the value proposition canvas tool, which helped to validate and refine our value proposition in addition to confirming the value of our offer to potential clients,” says Cai Linton.

“Together, we put in place the development of a consistent and sustainable pipeline using an innovation strategy development tool, ensuring that our company was well positioned to take advantage of key business opportunities.”

Innovate UK EDGE next introduced Multus to international innovation and market opportunities via the Singapore Global Incubator and helped the company explore partnership opportunities through the Enterprise Europe Network.

Using the Ansoff Matrix exercise, the company was able to identify various market opportunities. And together with introductions to potential collaborators such as Cranfield University, these opportunities will lead to increasing global market share, and many more opportunities for growth and diversification for the business.

“As a result of the support from Innovate UK EDGE, we were able to add five new jobs, including a Lab Manager and Lab Technicians. The added resources meant we were able to get our product, Proliferum, to market more swiftly,” says Cai Linton.

Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support as this London innovator makes strides towards affordable and scalable cultivated meat, providing consumers with an environmentally friendly alternative that requires no animal agriculture.

Canada is a crucial market for us: it was our first choice as a non-domestic market, and stands to become our largest overall…Without support from a GBIP, this simply wouldn’t have happened.

– Ben Scott Robinson, Co-founder and CEO of the Small Robot Company

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