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Bed bugs secure $1.18m investment for UK AI firm
Investors have rewarded the commercial success of Spotta's smart pest systems with a $1.18 million seed funding round.
This investment reflects Spotta's huge potential in global markets in hospitality, farming, forestry and other sectors to solve the £320 bn ($400 bn) problem of insect pests while dramatically reducing pesticide use.
Based in Cambridge, England, Spotta commercialised its first product in 2019 and has been recognised by US-based Fast Company magazine as one of the AI and Data World Changing Ideas for 2020.
UK Cleaning Services & Support Association also nominated Spotta as a finalist in the Innovation Showcase 2020. Spotta's existing smart pest system is used by facilities managers and cleaners/housekeepers in the hospitality industry to help tackle the problem of bed bugs in hotels and multi-room accommodation.
In addition to its Bed Pod product, Spotta is working with a major forest management organisation to develop an outdoor pest monitoring solution, and anticipates its technology being used in other applications including insect monitoring to help boost yields in agriculture.
Building from this highly successful launch, Spotta will use the new funding to continue hiring top talent, launch two new products, and enter into new international markets beyond its current presence in the UK, the US and Europe. Spotta aims to grow rapidly to support this expansion and continue its innovative use of AI and Internet of Things to offer an accessible technological solution for pest detection.
"For decades, pest management has been held back by laborious, error-prone manual monitoring, states Robert Fryers, CEO at Spotta. "With our technology it is finally possible to change this and help industries around the world to make a step change from reactive to proactive management of pests. This will save billions and massively reduce the amount of pesticide used globally. We're delighted to have strong support from a wide group of investors who share our vision. This funding will allow us to scale up our commercial operations and continue to address the £320bn global problem of insect pests.
"We are at an exciting intersection of AI, environmental sustainability and IoT. Our scalable, platform technology enables huge increases in productivity in a range of sectors including agriculture, forestry, textiles and hospitality. We are building a substantial, highly profitable business by giving our customers better tools for dealing with invasive and costly species."
Paul Anson, lead investor from the Cambridge Angels says: "Throughout its initial market roll-out with the Bed Pod, Spotta has proven that its pest detection and identification technology has real-world capabilities and delivers customer value in a global marketplace. This was a very strong follow-on round and that speaks to the capability of the management team and their execution success. We look forward to supporting Spotta as it continues on its commercial journey."
Krishna K. Gupta, who is the CEO of REMUS and is joining the Spotta board as part of the deal, says: "We're excited about the Spotta team's multidimensional technical expertise and the larger pest control space, which has been relatively untouched by digital innovation. Spotta's expansion into the US specifically makes it an exciting time for the company and our partnership. We're looking forward to working with them to deliver on their global vision."
Tim Mills, managing partner of the Angel CoFund says: "The smart pest system that Spotta has developed is a great example of a product built to solve a specific, persistent problem very effectively. Not only is that the hallmark of some of the most successful startups but beginning in narrow application is also where AI use has proven most successful to date. This approach has allowed it to quickly enjoy commercial success and expand into new markets, and we look forward to seeing the team scale the product into other applications with this funding."
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6th August 2020