FungiAlert develop revolutionary soil health analysis tools to increase agricultural productivity and sustainability by guiding key agricultural decisions, such as crop protection strategies.
Kerry and Angela founded FungiAlert in 2015 while completing their PhDs at Imperial, during which they won three entrepreneurial competitions, including: CDT Dragons Den 2015, where they won a prize of £20,000, entrepreneurial training and support from Imperial Innovations; and the Venture Catalyst Challenge that saw them awarded a prize of £10,000. This support provided them with the funding they needed for the initial development of the technology and supported their first patent application.
Kerry and Angela explain that “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 FungiAlert’s first investor.”
Participating in the the Venture Catalyst Challenge programme in 2015 was fundamental to improving Kerry and Angela’s business skills, “the intense six week accelerator was instrumental in helping us transform the idea of FungiAlert 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 Kerry and Angela to embark upon the journey towards commercialisation of FungiAlert’s technology.
Now, FungiAlert 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, FungiAlert ‘s technology and services were launched in October 2018.
Kerry and Angela’s 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.”