BIO-F Solutions

Bio-F Solutions are transforming the way our food is produced by developing eco-friendly fertilisers based on natural micro-organisms.
BIO-F Solutions

Meet the team


Marine Valton, Founder (Life Sciences PhD 2020)

Franklin Keck, Research Assistant (Synthetic Biology MRes 2019)

Laura de Arroyo Garcia, Co-Founder (Life Sciences PhD 2019)

Dr Emanga Alobwede, Co-Founder (Research Assistant)

Dr Giorgio Perin, Co-Founder (Research Associate)

Dr Patrik R Jones, Co-Founder (Group Leader)

Viktoriia Nikonova, Co-Founder (Business Development, Cranfield University)

Get in touch

The problem and our solution 
With increasing concern around the environmental impact of chemicals there is a growing demand for more eco-friendly fertlisers. However growers currently face both financial and practical challenges in sourcing organic fertilisers that are cost-effective and reliable.

Our company, Bio-F Solutions, is aiming to fill this gap in the market. We are developing eco-friendly and slow release fertilisers that are based on natural microorganisms and algae which we have directly isolated  from UK farms. We harness the power of these microorganisms to naturally produce high-quality nutrients so they don’t need to be added artificially.

The products are more efficient than traditional fertilisers as they increase the productivity of the soil whilst requiring less work from the farmers  to apply them. They are also more sustainable than current practices as they reduce fertiliser run-off into the environment and lessen subsequent harmful impacts such as eutrophication of waters.

The company 
Bio-F was founded in 2018 by a group of researchers developing organic fertlisers at Imperial College London. Most of us are working in the same research group in the Faculty of Natural Sciences led by Dr Patrik Jones and are at various stages of our academic career. Our business development expert, Viktoriia Nikonova, graduated with a Business Management and Entrepreneurship Masters from Cranfield School of Management in 2018 and was brought in to the team due to her vast expertise in business development and planning.

Having developed the concept, we are now scaling up production for both in-house and on-farm trials, and are currently looking for funding to build a pilot plant and initiate field trials in partnership with collaborating farmers.

Advisors and mentors 
We are lucky to have the advice and input from several experts from the worlds of business, sustainability and agriculture. As part of the Imperial Venture Mentoring Servce (IVMS), we are benefitting from the advice of Dr Paul Atherton who is a successful, serial technology entrepreneur who focuses on start up companies from UK universities, and the input of Dr. Ian Edmondson, who is highly experienced in growing businesses.

We also have Janet Murray as an advisor who has vast business expertise for early entrepreneurs and is a well recognised mentor for green and sustainability start-up programmes.   We met Janet through the Enterprise Lab coaching services and she later mentored us as part of the Greenhouse Pre-Incubator programme run by European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), where she became a close follower of our progresss.

Alongside this we also have Peter Bevan as an advisor, who is the Fruit and Vegetable Agronomist for the organic food retailer Abel & Cole. Peter has a deep understanding of soil conditions and sustainable practices in the UK and a wealth of insider knowledge into the dynamics of the agri sector and challenges faced by farmers. We first contacted Peter to get a better understanding of the challenges UK farmers are facing and, after learning more about Bio-F, he decided to become an advisor.

WE Innovate 
When we joined Phase 1 of the WE Innovate programme Bio-F was at a stage where we truly needed guidance. The programme allowed us to strengthen our business development skills so we could translate our technology and get our product ready for the field. We greatly benefitted from the training provided by the programme in anthropological market research so we could unleash the true value of our research. As part of WE Innovate, we were also surrounded by a community of inspiring and supportive women who all wanted to champion female entrepreneurship and leadership, and this  was a fantastic environment in which to work.

In phase 2 of the WE Innovate programme we attended training sessions on pitching and an investor breakfast, which helped us to develop our public speaking and networking skills. We were delighted to make it through to the finals of the programme where we had the opportunity to present in front of a panel of experienced judges and an audience of 200 people. It was a nervewracking but very valuable experience. Being part of the programme helped us secure additional funds for our startup which have been key to further develop our technology and gain wider exposure both off and on campus.

Enterprise Lab support 
The support we received from the Enterprise Lab has been central to the development of Bio-F and the team have catered to our evolving needs from when we first engaged with the Lab right through to where we are now. It is thanks to Enterprise Lab events that we realised the extent of support available for Imperial students interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial path. From there they then connected us with wonderful mentors like Janet Murray who then linked us to several relevant entrepreneurship programmes that helped us extend our network and gain business skills.

As the company grows we need different types and levels of support and the Enterprise Lab never fails to offer us the opportunity to meet with relevant and¬†insightful experts in one-to-one session via¬†the ‚Äėexperts-in-residence‚Äô programme. Through this we‚Äôve been helped in a range of areas such as negotiation, team building, IP, business development and marketing.¬†¬†Thanks to the IVMS,¬†we are being advised by mentors¬†who are¬†highly experienced.

In a nutshell, the support available at the Enterprise Lab as been central to the setting up Bio-F and its subsequent success.

Successes and set-backs 
There have been a number of moments in our development where we have had reason to celebrate.  Securing funds to hire a full-time researcher to further develop our proof-of-concept was a major victory for us. Our success in several start-up competitions and programmes has helped massively to raise awareness of Bio-F and also given us huge amounts of support, particularly  the EIT Food Global Food Venture Programme and Entrepreneurship Prize and the WE Innovate programme. A real boost to our self confidence has been the interest shown in our company from major global fertiliser companies, which demonstrates that we have a viable product. So far we’ve faced a number of challenges, which we’ve overcome but we haven’t had any major set-backs.

Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
‚ÄĘ Just get started and don‚Äôt be afraid of failure! It‚Äôs all a learning process
‚ÄĘ Get away from the lab or your computer as soon as possible. Speak to experts, potential customers and¬†stakeholders¬†as their feedback is invaluable in developing your product.
‚ÄĘ Apply for all opportunities as long as they are relevant. Grow your network, experience and understanding of the sector.


Imperial Enterprise Lab has been fundamental to the development and progress of our idea
Charlotte McIntyre

Our news

Latest news

From bioengineering to breaking down bias
From bioengineering to breaking down bias

Growing up, Riham Satti knew one thing was for sure ‚Äď she wasn‚Äôt going to be an entrepreneur ... Read more

Cherrie Hui: Why attend the How To Talks
Cherrie Hui: Why attend the How To Talks

Hi! I am Cherrie Hui from the MSc Strategic Marketing (online) programme. Like some of my peers, I joined Imperial College London because I wanted the world-class training and resources to have my own business one day. The How To Talks are the perfect way to get inspired to start something new! Read more

Mental Health Awareness Week: Startup your mental wellbeing
Mental Health Awareness Week: Startup your mental wellbeing

Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to look after your mental wellbeing for the long haul. Read more

What's on

From community events to expert masterclasses… There’s always something going on at the E-Lab

Next events

Community Collider October
Community Collider October

Event dateOctober 18, 2023

Sign up
Summer Accelerator 2023 Showcase
Summer Accelerator 2023 Showcase

Event dateOctober 25, 2023

Sign up


Join our community, meet co-founders and grow your entrepreneurial network!

Our monthly social bringing together students and postdocs from every corner of Imperial College London.

Stay productive and focused while working on your business idea. Make the E-Lab your office and creative space.

Use your creativity and critical thinking to solve a challenge set by us. Win prizes for the best idea and best pitch!


Speak to someone about your idea and learn the skills you need to test it in the real world


Fast-track your idea on one of our cohort-based entrepreneurship programmes

Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurship programme for students and postdocs with an annual prize fund of £100K.

The UK’s leading university programme championing women-led startup teams with an annual £30K prize fund.

A 12 week programme for students looking to give their business idea a big developmental push over the summer months.

More available programmes


Get expert support and advice to turn your idea into a successful commercial venture


We’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs


Got a question, need some advice or just need directions to the best basement on campus? Get in touch!

Find us

Imperial College London
Level 0, Sherfield Building
(Access next to Great Hall)
South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ