Albotherm Ltd.

This interview details Albotherm Ltd., an indoor farming technology company based in the UK. The interview is with Molly Allington, CEO of Albotherm Ltd..

Source: Albotherm Ltd.


What is the origin story of Albotherm Ltd.?

Albotherm is a spin-out company from the University of Bristol, set up with the mission to reduce the carbon emissions associated with cooling, particularly within controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and the built environment.

The original technology was developed by Dr. Sian Fussell during her PhD at the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials and Albotherm was founded in 2020 to commercialise this technology.

At this time we had participated in the ICURE market validation programme which funded us to speak to potential partners to assess the viability of our technology. We were successful in this programme and later secured an Innovate UK grant which was matched by £160k of private investment to develop and test our product in research-scale trials. 

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Albotherm Ltd. in the future? 

Fundraising is always challenging for startups and especially in the current economic climate investors aren’t looking to take on as much risk. We currently have a runway for the next 18 months but are keen to raise it again to fuel further expansion into new markets. 

We are also launching our first products into a very conservative market, growers have been burned in the past by new technologies and are reluctant to pay for pilots with an untested technology. Getting past that first stage and building trust is incredibly important but takes a lot of time to get there which is challenging for a pre-revenue startup with a limited runway. 

Hiring the right people can be tricky, though we have been fortunate in this regard in the past as we are growing it becomes more difficult to find senior hires with the right experience. We are also helped in this regard by the growing Bristol tech ecosystem which means more top talent is being attracted to the region. 

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

What is unique about Albotherm Ltd. compared to competitors? 

Our technology makes dynamic shading more accessible to commercial greenhouse farms. Typically growers have a choice between using shade paints which are affordable and can be retrofitted however they offer a fixed amount of shading no matter the weather, and using shade screens which are expensive to install and maintain. 

Our technology is applied in the exact same way as existing shade paints, however, it adapts to external temperatures to offer the right amount of shade for a given plant. Our coatings are also highly customizable to different trigger temperatures. We can formulate our products to transition at temperatures from 0 degrees Celsius to 45 degrees and to have a range of maximum shading percentages. 

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

What are some other relevant metrics of the company (growing area size, production quantity, team size, etc.)?

Our team currently consists of 7 dedicated individuals, each bringing unique skills and expertise to drive our company's vision forward. As we scale our operations, we're steadily progressing towards our production goals. By the end of Spring, we aim to produce approximately 100 liters of our innovative coating monthly, reflecting our focused efforts to increase production capacity. Additionally, we're currently trialing around 3000 square meters of glasshouse space in 2024 as part of our strategic expansion initiatives.

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

What are some goals in 2024 and beyond for Albotherm Ltd.?

This year we are completing our first large-scale commercial pilots for our technology. Our goal is to quantify the impact of our technology on our customers' farms to validate the ROI for our product. Beyond 2024 we are planning to launch our product in 2025 for commercial greenhouses and begin development of a range of new products for both the horticulture industry and the built environment.

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

How can people connect with you or learn more about Albotherm Ltd.?

Please visit our website, www.albotherm.com and reach out via our contact page.

Source: Albotherm Ltd.

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