Sapling Automation Ltd

This interview details Sapling, an indoor farming technology company based in the UK. The interview is with Manish Patel, Managing Director at Sapling Automation Ltd.

Source: Sapling

What is the origin story of Sapling?

Sapling emerged from a simple idea: revolutionize vertical farming by making it fully autonomous. Myself and my co-founder Adriano founded Sapling in Manchester in response to the flaws in existing vertical farming operations and technology. We built our first prototype in my university room and successfully grew microgreens. I was doing a PhD and would come home from the lab and Adrian and I would spend the evening designing and building.

Despite initial setbacks due to COVID, we regrouped in London in 2023 and secured pre-seed funding to develop a prototype with advanced features such as automated aeroponics, spectrum-controlled lighting, and a fully scalable IoT network to control robotics. Now, we're poised to scale up and revolutionize vertical farming.

Source: Sapling

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Sapling in the future? 

Our primary challenge is securing funding to realize our vision. While fundraising for deep-tech startups can be challenging, we're confident in our solution. Additionally, recent closures in the vertical farming industry underscore the need for innovation, positioning us as the solution to high costs and inefficiencies.

Source: Sapling

What is unique about Sapling compared to competitors? 

Sapling stands out for our ambition to create a fully autonomous vertical farming platform. Unlike competitors, our system requires minimal user intervention and is significantly lower in cost due to our in-house design and manufacturing. This ensures not only affordability but a greater degree of scalability.

Source: Sapling

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

With a lean team of two, we've already developed a prototype capable of producing 140kg of produce per year per square meter at an astonishingly low cost. This yield is also just for one level so if we had multiple units stacked on top of each other (which is the whole point) then we can get 720kg of produce per year per square meter for a typical warehouse! This achievement demonstrates our potential to scale and deliver on our promise of affordable, sustainable farming solutions.

Source: Sapling

What are some goals in 2024 and beyond for Sapling?

Our immediate goal for 2024 is to secure seed funding to further develop our fully autonomous farm and begin supplying local establishments with microgreens and herbs. Looking ahead, we aim to expand our offering to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, empowering individuals to grow their own fresh produce sustainably.

Source: Sapling

How can people connect with you or learn more about Sapling?

You can contact me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/manish-patel-11a486149/ or visit our website at https://www.sapling.farm/.

Manish Patel

Managing Director at Sapling Automation Ltd

manish.patel@sapling.farm

+44 781 630 1436

https://www.sapling.farm/

Source: Sapling

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