This is a journal of our traction and successes to date! Take a read and share the news!
Connor graduated with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Product Design from Bournemouth University for his Biochar project. We were chosen to exhibit the Biochar Kiln, BioBurner, at New Designers in London. Here we had our first 15 customers.
Connor's lecturer invited him to co-author a research paper on Biochar which will be published in Nature and National Geographic in 2020.
We formulated the company Agile Planet and started our brand Green & Grow to take the BioBurner to market.
We won a place on Central Research Laboratory's Accelerator Program giving us 6 months of office space, mentoring and prototyping costs paid for!!
We won an Innovation Voucher from Arts University Bournemouth which gives us 50% match funding on our prototyping and access to a professional workshop.
We began a relationship with a Bournemouth Council's plant nursery which has won RHS Chelsea Flower Show awards for their plants and started a Grow Test on 400 plants.
We went to China and visited manufacturers who quoted to produce the BioBurner.
We had two prototypes of the latest BioBurner design and started making Biochar, and taking the BioBurner around to gardeners for user-testing.
We began our relationship with a local wood recycling centre who prevent 60 tons of wood going to landfill every month. We take their wood waste and turn it into Biochar.
Note: we do not cut down trees!
We graduated from the CRL Accelerator and then applied to lots of incubators and awards. Lottie joined the project full-time with her background in Plant Biology and startups. Bournemouth Council reconnected and asked us to do another Grow Test, this time on 3600 plants and they offered to cover costs.
We won a place on Pearson’s Business School Incubator giving us 12-months of office space, mentoring and access to student interns. As this point we were blown away by our momentum. We were awarded with £15,000 worth of professional design software from SolidWorks, we were given 3 licenses and this enabled us to grow our design team and capabilities. We submitted an application for government research funding, Innovate UK Smart Grants, and we were awarded 70% with extensive feedback for a re-application in October.
We won a place on the British Design Council SPARK Accelerator program in which we could win £15,000 cash and attend a bootcamp to compete for a further £150k. We can runners up and learned so much.
We visited Newcastle University’s Startup Space where Lottie is an alumnus. We pitched to a team of business gurus and came away with a small grant to fund further prototyping. We launched our online store. Our second Grow Test plants were moved from the Nursery into Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens, and we analysed the results showing above ground growth increase by 30% with the addition of Biochar. Overall a great outcome.
We focused on the final design of the BioBurner and commissioned a final prototype edit, which massively improved the efficiency of the kiln. We conducted more user-testing and started looking at the strategic growth of the company.
We spent a month in Berlin visiting startup hubs and design academies, meeting like-minded people and planning our next steps.
We began a relationship with a country estate to trial Biochar in their Kitchen Garden and started to reach out to interested wholesale buyers of Biochar. We onboarded two interns, Lucy who is focusing on Business Development, and Jared who is leading on Graphic Design across the products, website and social media. We are gearing up to launch the BioBurner this Autumn.
We are investigating funding opportunities and working out how best to scale our BioBurner and Biochar operations over the next 12 months.
Keep following our Journey!
I'll keep adding updates on our journey as time goes on! This is been the most amazing experience and we are learning loads!
LET'S KEEP SAVING THE PLANET WITH GARDENING