The startup LettUs Grow from Bristol (UK) beat 844 other startups to win €100,000 in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, hosted in Amsterdam. During the final, Co-founder and Managing Director Charlie Guy convinced the international jury that their indoor agriculture method, in which the roots of the crops are suspended in a dense nutritious mist, was a winner.
LettUs Grow’s technology can be utilised by greenhouses and vertical farms. Contrary to methods where crops are grown in soil or water containers, LettUs Grow lets the roots hang in a dense, nutritious mist. This results in a better harvest, and significantly less water and energy consumption. Also, by growing the crops closer to the consumer, the carbon emissions caused by transport decrease as well.
The Managing Director of LettUs Grow, Charlie Guy, said: “The recognition of the Green Challenge shows that we are developing a viable solution to the many problems that our global agricultural systems will face in the future, from water shortages to the effects of extreme weather. We allow farmers to protect their crops, diversify what they are growing and massively reduce their ecological footprint.”
With this sum of money, LettUs Grow can further develop their business. Ben Crowther, CTO of LettUs Grow, had this to say about the awards: “The support we've had from Green Challenge will allow us to accelerate the development of our technology, bring about a real step change in agricultural productivity and reduce the resource cost of fresh produce for farmers all over the world.”
In addition to LettUs Grow, the Dutch startup AquaBattery and American startup AlgiKnit will take the same amount home. The first prize of half a million euros goes to the air bubble curtain that combats plastic pollution in our seas by startup The Great Bubble Barrier from The Netherlands. The runner-up prize of EUR 200,000 is for the textile recycling marketplace by startup Reverse Resources from Estonia. This brings the total prize pool of one of the biggest sustainability competitions in the world to EUR 1 million. In addition to the prize money, all five finalists will receive six months of expert coaching to improve the likelihood of their businesses succeeding.
Charlie had this to say about the awards: “It was a brilliant experience to stand up on stage in front of so many people who share the same passion for sustainable enterprises.
“Although the stakes were high, there was a fantastic atmosphere because everybody taking part was already a winner, and anything else we could of won would have just been a huge bonus.”
This year, a record number of 845 entrepreneurs from 100 countries submitted their sustainable business plans aimed at combating climate change. Last year, the Rwandan startup EarthEnable won the EUR 500,000 first prize with their sustainable alternative to cement.