FA Bio develop revolutionary soil health analysis tools to increase agricultural productivity and sustainability by guiding key agricultural decisions, such as crop protection strategies.
We founded FA Bio, Formerly Fungi Alert in 2015 while completing our PhDs at Imperial, during which time we won three entrepreneurial competitions, including: CDT Dragons Den 2015, with a prize of £20,000, entrepreneurial training and support from Imperial Innovations; and the Venture Catalyst Challenge for which we won £10,000. This support provided us with the funding needed for the initial development of the technology and supported their first patent application.
As part of winning the CDT Dragons Den competition, we were awarded with the mentorship of Paul Atherton, a successful, serial entrepreneur. Paul then went on to become FA Bio’s first investor.
Participating in the the Venture Catalyst Challenge programme in 2015 was fundamental to improving our business skills. The intense six-week accelerator was instrumental in helping us transform the idea of FA Bio into a viable business proposition. Besides this, due to the tight schedule for deliverables of the programme, it forced us to really evaluate the market opportunities and to shape the business plan. Winning these competitions inspired us to embark upon the journey towards commercialisation of FA Bio’s technology.
Now, FA Bio is based at Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, the world’s longest-running agricultural research centre. Following successful paid field trials during the summer of 2018 with key stakeholders in the agricultural UK market, FA Bio‘s technology and services were launched in October 2018.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Our advice for anyone starting a business is, resilience, creativity and adaptability are key aspects of entrepreneurism. Before investing significant amount of effort and resources in an idea, test it with the end users and adapt it to what they really want or need, not to what you think the market needs. Failure is a chance for learning.