Barclays has announced the launch of a dedicated agri-tech team, focused on supporting UK start-ups to connect with the farming community and boost innovation. Last year was a record year for financing in agri-tech, with more than £1.5 billion invested in the sector according to PitchBook. The UK agri-tech industry contributes £14.3 billion to the British economy and employs 500,000 people.
These appointments signal the bank’s intention to further support innovation in the UK’s farming sector and to ensure new technology, products and services boost growth.
Led by Craig Sigley, the new agri-tech team will be split regionally and will include regional relationship managers: Paul Hazzard (South West), Dave Pruden (North), Lizzie Asplin (South East), George Sigley (Midlands) and Karl Blagg (East).
Each relationship manager brings a wealth of expertise to their new role in understanding exactly what farmers look for from emerging players in the sector as well as supporting agri-tech companies with their business growth plans.
Barclays already has a strong roster of agri-tech clients, including Agrivi and Well Cow. Agrivi’s software helps farmers to manage and monitor crop production, while Well Cow has developed a device that can detect digestive problems in cattle and improve their welfare.
Mark Suthern, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said: “Agri-tech is thriving in the UK and future innovations are likely to help address many of the issues that the farming industry faces today.
“We’ve been supporting farmers for over 300 years, and we know that introducing the latest cutting-edge technology to our clients has the power to make a real positive impact, driving productivity and improving profitability.
“Technology has already transformed the way some of our customers farm, for example, using drones to survey land and track livestock, robotic fruit-picking machines and sensors that monitor poultry.
“Our new dedicated agri-tech team is ideally placed to help start-ups scale and grow and connect them with the farming community.”
George Sigley, Agri-Tech Relationship Manager in the Midlands, said: “It’s great to join the Agri-Tech team at such an exciting time for the industry.”
“New agriculture technologies are evolving all the time, and we’re committed to helping the UK’s start-ups in this space by providing financial advice and expertise. It’s so important that they network with the farming community during development and it’s fantastic to be able to facilitate that.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting more start-ups over the coming months and seeing the positive impact their business can have on the sector.”
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