In your own words – what do you do?

LettUs Grow is a technology company based in Bristol, and we focus on three key areas: building aeroponic irrigation technology for vertical and greenhouse farms, the development of our control and farm management software Ostara, and advancing research into aeroponic growing for a variety of industries.

I’m a co-founder at LettUs Grow. I’m the Chief Scientific Officer and I also head up the Commercial Team – both generally involve talking about salad a lot!

What led you to start this business?

I co-founded LettUs Grow with engineers Charlie Guy and Ben Crowther back in 2015. We met at the University of Bristol, where I was working at the time, and all wanted to tackle the same environmental challenges of carbon emissions, environmental pollution, and food security. When we found out that 40% of salad is wasted, we knew we wanted to intervene but it’s turned into something much bigger than we’d originally thought!

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now and how are you making it happen?

We are currently working to deploy our first mass-market products, DROP & GROW, an aeroponic container farm to the UK & EU. Our Drop & Grow product line combines our aeroponic technology with our control software Ostara, to create what is essentially a farming business in a box. You can also combine these together into a larger facility, which is something I’m really excited about. All our teams are currently putting their energy into the design, manufacture and marketing of this new product – it’s a very exciting time.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Completing the build of our research facility at Avon Valley in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Getting each farm module turned on and growing was a huge achievement.

Are there any obstacles that have jolted your path to success?

Yes, there are inevitably technological hurdles as over the years we’ve had to learn to understand our customer’s requirements and needs better, as well as understanding what metrics we’re being judged against as a technology company. We’ve changed paths as we’ve learned more and moved steadily towards generating a product that truly serves our customers.

What would you do differently if you started now?

I think investing in business operations earlier on would have saved us a lot of time and stress. We’re lucky to have excellent people on board now, but bringing them in earlier would have allowed us as founders to focus on our specialisms and would have aided decision making earlier on.

Does your original business plan reflect where you are now?

We began by designing grow at home kits but then later changed gear to focus on larger, commercial facilities, as that’s where we judged our technology could make the most impact and it also made much more sense economically. But our mission statement has been the same since day one, so that absolutely reflects what we’re doing today.

What’s your vision for the next 5 years?

Our vision for LettUs Grow is to be a leading supplier to the global indoor farming industry. Our technology can benefit a variety of well-established markets, from greenhouses to fully automated vertical farms. We also aim to establish ourselves as a company providing world-class research and innovation to the development of sustainable agriculture.

Do you have any advice/tips for founders considering raising investment at some point?

As an inexperienced founder of a startup, you don’t have much track record to lean on, so obtaining some experienced industry advisors can be a really valuable way of helping attract the kinds of investors that are right for your business.

Who or what has shaped who you are?

I’ve always been shaped by my love for the natural world. It’s why I did biology and why I’m an environmentalist. I think choosing to create a business that started as a passion has really shaped who I am. Even in its earliest stages, it gives you a realisation that you do have the power to create or change things that matter to you.

Can you recommend any useful tools/networks /services to someone looking to start a technology business?

Our networks were a crucial part in building our success in the early stages. Receiving expert advice and support with running all elements of a business is the key to success. We were very lucky to have support from organisations such as SETsquared, Bethnal Green Ventures and Farm 491, who could offer us skill-based workshops and networking opportunities.

What’s the one event you make sure you attend every single year?

We always try to attend GreenTech in Amsterdam. It’s a great showcase of horticultural and technological companies.

What are your success tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Once you can, take the leap! It’s hard to do a good job part-time. You’ll end up spending too much time on admin and not enough on useful development, so try to find a way to dedicate yourself to the venture once it starts to get going.

In your opinion, what’s the number one thing founders need to look out for when growing a business?

The transition from product development to selling a product requires different skills. You’ll need to be constantly reevaluating roles as the goals of the company are changing – so be prepared for this and get organised!

Thanks, Jack! Where shall we go to find out more about you and LettUs GROW?