News & Insights

FSP advises EM3 Growth Fund on investment into innovative robotics company focused on the Agri-Tech Sector

The private equity and venture capital team at Field Seymour Parkes led by partner Penelope Garden has advised the EM3 Growth Fund (managed by the FSE Group) on its investment into Fox Robotics, a company that helps improve efficiency and automation for soft fruit farms across the UK. This investment round will allow Fox Robotics to continue their R&D, increase their manufacturing operations and provide more job opportunities.

Fox Robotics, based in Farnham, Surrey and Martlesham, Suffolk is an innovator in robotics technology. The team know that robots will revolutionise the logistics within many industries and design a portfolio of mobile robots which will provide material handling automation for all sectors.

In 2019 the Company developed a prototype robot which could transport materials around a factory, warehouse, or other industrial flooring environment.  It was during a sustained outreach programme, Henry Acevedo, Founder and CTO of Fox Robotics decided to pivot the company’s focus from warehouse automation to agricultural logistics with a primarily focus on soft fruits.

The Hugo RTTM is an autonomous mobile robot that allows fruit pickers to spend more time picking fruit and less time transporting. The robot is designed to travel up and down the rows of soft fruit particularly strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in glasshouses, poly tunnels and outdoors.

Paul Lyristis, Senior Fund Manager, at The FSE Group, commented: “We were extremely impressed by Fox Robotics knowledge and passion. Not just in terms of technology but also their resolve to work closely with existing data and procedures, integrating their robots into systems rather than overhauling current processes. There is no other company taking on the challenge of helping fruit farmers utilise robots out in the field in this way. Exciting times lay ahead for the team and the future of Agri-Tech thanks to Fox Robotics.”

Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “It’s great to see a company like Fox Robotics benefit from the EM3 Growth Fund. High-tech innovation contributes enormously to both regional and national economic growth and this is another example of how R&D continues to thrive in the EM3 area. We’ve all seen the challenges faced by the growing industry in recent times, especially around the availability of labour. This project is a perfect example of how robots can support this key sector. I’m delighted that EM3 has been able to help enable innovation activities which will benefit the sector and increase the job opportunities for local people.”

The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 LEP. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.