15. Muddy Machines

Using patented robot technology, Muddy Machines is addressing labour shortages for speciality vegetable growers and revolutionising the field of agritech.

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Founders: Florian Richter and Christopher Chavasse
Year founded: 2020
Website: muddymachines.com

Nobody likes talking about Brexit. It’s become an elephant in the room that's even bigger than that infamous red campaign bus. For farmers, though, the impact of Brexit has been so detrimental it can’t be ignored.

Labour scarcity, caused by the reduced availability of seasonal workers due to restricted freedom of movement, has led to profound economic losses for agricultural businesses. Some growers lose up to £25,000 for every harvest worker they are short.

Thanks to its patented machine picker, Sprout, Muddy Machines is leading a new robot revolution for the farming industry. As a lightweight, precision harvest tool, it can be rolled out to reap multiple crops and bridge the farmer-labour gaps.

Labour scarcity, caused by the reduced availability of seasonal workers due to restricted freedom of movement, has led to profound economic losses for agricultural businesses.

This means faster, more efficient picking that will reduce financial strain on farmers, lower the risk of food shortages within global supply chains, and improve prices for consumers.

Beginning with the fast-growth green asparagus market (currently valued at $350 million a year), Muddy Machines is targeting those heavily reliant on manual labour for harvesting, weeding, and packing in the UK, USA, Canada, Peru, and Mexico.

However, Richter and Chavasse haven’t put all their eggs in one basket. They have also planted seeds with other companies to integrate their weeding and harvest tools onto the Sprout platform, forming early partnership discussions that will no doubt soon bear fruit.

The business is on a mission to help farmers minimise losses from labour shortages, all while ensuring timely and efficient harvesting

Muddy Machines is all but government-backed, having received five business grants worth £3m from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Innovate UK. Last year, the founders were also invited to the Farm to Fork food summit at 10 Downing Street to showcase their technology to the PM and other cabinet members.

On a mission to help farmers minimise losses from labour shortages, all while ensuring timely and efficient harvesting, Sprout is a real game changer for growers. It could be the most transformative rural technology since the plough.

Sitting at number 15 in our Startups 100 Index, Muddy Machines is the cream of the crop when it comes to new agritech. We can’t wait to see how it performs in 2024.

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