UCD crop-spraying tech spinout forecasts sales of €20m next year
A UCD spinout co-founded by two Dublin brothers is forecasting sales of €20m next year. MagGrow was founded by serviced apartment firm entrepreneurs Gary and David Wickham, who have developed a promising crop-spraying technology.
The company uses magnetism to spray crops more precisely. This results in much higher crop yields and a huge reduction in waste of water and fertiliser, as well improved disease prevention and control and greater overall efficiency.
MagGrow is headquartered in Dublin and backed by Enterprise Ireland and a number of the founders' friends, family and business colleagues.
This week the firm was the only Irish recipient of an award from the Global Cleantech Cluster Association, a Swiss organisation that tracks the most investable and innovative clean technology companies in the world.
The Wickham brothers founded their first business, StayCity, which provides serviced apartments, in 2004. It has revenues of €50m and employs 500 people, operating 1,400 apartments across a number of UK and European cities, with plans to expand this number to 15,000 by 2021.
MagGrow began as a startup at UCD's Nova centre, and now has offices in Kenya and Ethiopia, where there is a market of 20 million small farmers. Some customers have seen their crop yields increase 300pc, with water use reduced by 67pc and fertiliser use halved.
In Europe, improvements in crop yields of up to 40pc are possible using its sprayers, and typically its customers here have also halved their water and fertiliser use.
"In some countries where we're operating, our technology is the only solution that meets the latest environmental regulations," said Gary Wickham.