Tell us about FOTENIX.
FOTENIX are an ability provider, enabling smart operation of agricultural machinery. They combine cameras, deploying colours of light, with machine learning to monitor crop status, such as disease, in real-time. The protected key technology is three-dimensional multispectral imaging which allows laboratory analysis at an economic cost. A FOTENIX enabled sprayer or harvester provides the next step of data-driven farming to producers, whilst the cloud platform ensures agronomic insights that compound with each use. FOTENIX acts as a conduit between the crop and the machinery used to cultivate it, focusing on building diagnostic ability across the sector and empowering original equipment manufacturers.
When did you start your business?
What's been your biggest highlight
The biggest highlight to date has been the expansion to larger premises in 2020, which despite the pandemic, gave capacity to grow the team and extend FOTENIX capabilities to work with more machinery providers in the agrifood sector. It is amazing how quickly revisions and new concepts can be done with the right resources and personnel, a luxury in the start-up phase, but a much welcome one.
What's been your biggest challenge?
The restrictions on travel have made access to customer sites more difficult, and grown the focus on remote digital tools to allow for business to continue in a refined form. This is not necessarily a bad thing, restricted access in the sector is not new and there are clear benefits for producers and their suppliers to improved rural infrastructure to facilitate this approach.
Advice for entrepreneurs starting out
My advice would be to find a good group of founders with a shared vision, and be honest with yourselves about the amount of time before things will start to take and develop a life of their own. Enjoyment doesn't pay the bills, but the quality and impact of a product development in that environment is significant and takes the edge off the long weeks.