Alnwick firm secures more than £350,000 for project to help farmers

Alnwick-based Drone Ag has secured funding to develop a drone-based solution to soil sampling.Alnwick-based Drone Ag has secured funding to develop a drone-based solution to soil sampling.
Alnwick-based Drone Ag has secured funding to develop a drone-based solution to soil sampling.
An Alnwick firm has secured a six-figure investment and received innovation grant funding to transform how farmers and rural landowners manage their assets.

Drone Ag established its business delivering aerial crop scouting, spraying, and mapping using drones and smart data-analytics.

Now, it has gone on to secure funding to expand its operation into the development of a drone-based solution to soil sampling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The company secured a North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant in September 2021 to part-fund the development of a prototype for a more technologically advanced drone to carry the equipment needed to extract and return soil samples.

The £5,500 grant enabled the team to secure an additional £145,000 from Innovate UK as part of the Regional Angel Investment Accelerator programme, with £200,000 of match funding secured from angel investors after pitching at a Newcastle Angel Hub pitch event.

The investment completes a total fundraise of almost £800,000 by Drone Ag, which has also raised investment via crowd-funding platform, crowdcube.

With product designs at the ready, a launch to market is planned for early 2023.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jack Wrangham, founder of Drone Ag, said “The rural economy is at the very heart of all we do. Our team live and work in rural Northumberland. We understand the issues facing our people and place and have developed our technology to ensure we can effectively take on challenges from soil quality to better land management and food security.

“Currently, the pressure is on farmers and landowners to source new energy efficient alternatives to driving miles in diesel powered tractors. They also need to be able to learn from intelligent data streams about the real-time health of their soil.

"Our work will help them to deliver these tasks with greater efficiency, saving time, money and with a smaller environmental impact. The investment we’ve received will help us to scale our project quickly, and we’re spending this year focused on bringing our commercial offer to market.”

The Newcastle Angel Hub was delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork, which is part-funded by ERDF.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Estelle Blanks, CEO at Innovation SuperNetwork, said: “Drone Ag are a brilliant example of how local and national funding intervention can leverage private investment to accelerate innovation and enable regional companies to grow.”