Young Innovators Success Stories: Casey Woodward, Agrisound, Yorkshire
Bee innovator to showcase tech at COP26
As Casey readies to showcase his innovative start-up AgriSound at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 event in November, he has reflected on the many milestones and the huge growth he has experienced since joining Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust’s Young Innovators programme.
When he was selected as a 2020/21 winner, his company, which specialises in remote bee monitoring, was registered but had only just begun trading. He was working with no team and had only a very basic eCommerce website.
His innovative approach of using the Internet of Things to provide real-time monitoring of beehive productivity and colony health, as well as predict future changes, soon gathered pace, and is now garnering the attention of investors and customers alike.
The past year has seen Casey improve the technology as well as build relationships with new manufacturing partners. He has also developed a new, collaborative R&D strategy to further enhance his IP position.
He has already bolstered his workforce to six and AgriSound now stands on the brink of a game-changing investment.
“We’ve become much more investable and are in the process of closing a £250,000 investment round, with a mix of private and institutional investors,” Casey says.
He adds, “We intend to raise our seed funding round of £1.5m to develop global partnerships for our wild pollinator monitoring technology and execute the first phase of our new R&D strategy.”
Alongside this, he plans to further scale the team to 14 and create a new London base to house both AgriSound’s team and act as a showroom for the technology.
Casey says, “Our suite of algorithms will be expanded to include biodiversity monitoring and we will have established new relationships with strategic partners to collect more data. The business will also be profitable!”
It was the financial support he secured through winning the Young Innovators Award that was invaluable, Casey says, in sparking the early growth of his company. The grant, provided by Innovate UK, allowed him to derisk tasks that he was particularly nervous about such as bringing onboard external marketing and PR support.
This was coupled with the critical sounding board and guidance provided by the business mentor who worked with him as part of the wider support package organised by KTN.
Casey says, “The programme has massively helped with building confidence – particularly for external events or presenting on the business. It has helped my understanding of business ideas and concepts and taught me how to apply different tools to plan and evaluate success.”
He adds, “The programme has helped me mature into a leader and be able to build and direct a group of people to achieve a particular goal. I am able to communicate my vision much more clearly and have a clear plan for the future and can act more decisively.”
To the next cohort of winners and budding young innovators, he says the most important thing is to just go for it.
He recommends, “Take the opportunity to network with the rest of the cohort and put yourself out there – there will almost definitely be companies working in similar industries or using similar business models that you can learn from!”
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We want to find young people from a diverse background in the UK with great ideas for starting a business who have real potential to make their businesses a huge success and we want to support them to realise this potential. We want to build a more inclusive innovation system by helping young people from diverse backgrounds to start and grow sustainable businesses.