£500,000 to grow Aberystwyth horticulture business


Aberystwyth headquartered Phytoponics has raised £500,000 equity finance to undertake large scale commercial trials of its innovative substrate-less Deep Water Culture growing solutions.

Established in 2016 by Adam Dixon and Luke Parkin when studying at Cardiff University, Phytoponics specialises in the development of hydroponic deep-water culture technology. Their work is focussed on making agriculture more sustainable through increased yields, lower water consumption, no pesticides and a decrease in carbon footprint compared to traditional methods.

The £500,000 investment comes from a number of existing shareholders, with match funding provided by the Development Bank of Wales as Phytoponics’ first institutional investor.

The company has previously received support from the Welsh Government backed Accelerated Growth Programme, the Wageningen University of the Netherlands and the Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. The latter are both leading research institutes on indoor farming and horticulture.

Initial research and testing commenced in Aberystwyth in 2017 with current commercial trials being conducted at Stockbridge Technology Centre, the renowned horticultural research and agriculture innovation hub. It is expected that the substrate-less deep water culture growing solutions will produce better crop yields than are possible through conventional greenhouse-based methods.

Phytoponics Co-Founder Adam Dixon and a United Nations environment Young champion of the Earth 2017 said: "We’re thrilled to have secured this funding which provides us with the necessary operating cash to scale up trials of our technology whilst enabling us to further innovate as we move closer to realising the commercial potential of what we’ve developed. I’m excited for the future as we move a step closer to achieving our mission to deliver the sustainable benefits of hydroponic agriculture at scale through the global deployment of our substrate-less Deep Water Culture growing solutions. Innovations like this will be the only way to meet future agricultural demand.”

CEO, Andy Jones commented: “I joined Phytoponics last summer and I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made over the last nine months. The results achieved in our Stockbridge glasshouses have led to significant commercial interest from some large industry players and generated a high degree of confidence from investors wishing to fund the next phase of the business.”  

David Blake, Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales added: “As the first institutional investor in Phytoponics, we are delighted to support the scaling up and commercialisation of the technology. The potential reach for this exciting new solution is global with UK wide and international opportunities already evident and we wish the team every success.”

Mark Hindmarsh, Phytoponics Chairman added: “I’ve backed many start-ups over the years and have seen very few that have got to the point Phytoponics has with so little resource, in comparison to some of their sector peers. Not only have we enhanced and broadened our technology offering since the early experimental trials with the support of Aberystwyth University, but we’ve successfully proven that it works across a number of crop types. To close any level of funding in these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic is no mean feat and I therefore would like to personally thank our new investors and existing shareholders for their continued support and belief in the future potential of the business.”

The Phytoponics investment process was managed internally and supported by the company’s legal representative, Acuity Law and Blake Morgan on behalf of the Development Bank of Wales.