Agri-tech firm secures funding

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Colin Phillipson and Rob Sanders

Penryn-based agri-tech company, Glas Data, has secured £140k equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger funding round, which includes investment from both existing and new private investors.

Rob Sanders and Colin Phillipson, founders of Glas Data, recognised that data fragmentation issues within the agricultural sector existed and saw how it restricted farmers, processors and retailers.

Technology is developing rapidly, allowing farmers to collect data on everything from weather and soil nutrients to animal health. With so much data now available, the challenge is how to make it accessible and easy to understand.

Having identified this issue, they worked on developing a solution which would unite the agricultural sector and food supply chain with a universal data dashboard. This would simplify the world of precision farming and unlock the value of the data it produces, saving farmers time, money and improving their productivity.

In 2018, they set to work on designing a cloud based, data management and decision support tool – the GlasCore dashboard. The system is fully customisable, specifically for use with the agricultural sector. Furthermore, the clear visualisation of the system makes it easy to use on any device. Glas Data now employs seven people, with more recruitment to follow.

Sanders said: “Colin and I met when we were on Falmouth University’s Launchpad (with MA Entrepreneurship) course. We soon spotted these issues within the agricultural sector and had a vision to unite it with a universal dashboard. This latest round of investment will enable us to expand our business by investing in recruitment. We will be recruiting additional software engineers who can refine the software product, as well as a project manager and customer service employees which will include marketing and event support.”

Meg Salt, fund manager at The FSE Group, the appointed find manager for CIOSIF, added: “GlasCore is an exciting technology solution aimed at optimising agricultural productivity and facilitating the fourth agricultural revolution. There is no competing software which collates and clarifies as many data sources into a single customisable and user-friendly interface, allowing its users to select data for their needs including integrating data from Internet of Things devices. We wish them every success for the future.”

The £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25k to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund manager, The FSE Group.

Ken Cooper, MD at the British Business Bank, said: “Glas Data have been able to access the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund to address an opportunity they see to introduce a technological solution to a problem that is arising in a very traditional industry.  We’re delighted that the fund is continuing to support businesses like Glas and attract private investment to the region.”