Agritech company Crover has reached the final stages of one of the world’s most prestigious startup competitions.
The Edinburgh Innovations client was one of 20 companies chosen from 400 applicants around the world to compete in Startup Battlefield, the biggest global competition of its kind and a career-defining springboard for new companies. Startup Battlefield alumni include Fitbit, Dropbox and Yammer.
The contest is organised by online publisher Techcrunch, and takes place during its annual tech conference Disrupt, which draws more than 10,000 founders, investors, developers and technologists from all over the globe.
Crover has developed the world’s first robotic device able to swim through granular media. The company is aiming its revolutionary technology at the global grain storage market, which currently loses between 20% and 50% of post-harvest grains through spoilage and infestation.
The Crover robot can provide accurate data on grain conditions and monitor every inch of a grain silo, information that is otherwise impossible to gather.
First for Scotland
Crover is the first Scottish company to take part in Startup Battlefield and only the second to be selected from the UK in the competition’s 10-year history.
Crover was founded by Dr Lorenzo Conti when he was studying at Edinburgh for his PhD at the School of Engineering.
“Getting to the final is a great validation. They really understood what we are doing and why we are unique.”
– Dr Lorenzo Conti, founder and Managing Director, Crover.
Crover received two weeks of intensive pitch and demonstration coaching from Techcrunch editors as part of the finalist package ahead of the competition’s heats.
Founders were then given six minutes to pitch and demo their startups to a panel of judges comprising venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and Techcrunch editors.
EI ‘best supporter’
Dr Conti began his startup journey with an approach to Edinburgh Innovations after discovering during his PhD that there was a way of moving devices through granular media.
EI helped Dr Conti conduct market research to identify the best application for the technology, then helped him develop and launch the company, providing in-house expertise and access to funding support, and financial and legal associates.
He has taken part in EI’s Startup Summer Accelerator and has been hosted by EI as a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow. He has won multiple awards including prizes in Converge Challenge, Scottish EDGE and Shell Livewire.
“EI has been our best supporter from the start.”
– Dr Lorenzo Conti.
Exposure to investors
Startup Battlefield 2020 was won by Canix. The company has built a robust enterprise resource planning platform designed to reduce the time it takes cannabis growers to input data. The software is designed to reduce labour costs, handle costing, reporting and monitor current inventory. It also includes forecasting features.
The winner takes home $100,000, but the real prize is the exposure that all 20 finalists receive from global media, investors and big tech players scouting for promising startups.
To date, Battlefield’s 900 previous competitors have raised a collective $9 billion in investments.
While Disrupt usually takes place in San Francisco, this year’s event was moved online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.