New service gives farmers and food producers real-time alerts about their operations
24th August 2020
A specialist agri-tech business based in Cornwall, has introduced a new service to give farmers and food producers access to real time alerts about their operations.
With the ability to alert when action needs to be taken on everything from water leaks to temperature fluctuations in cold food storage, it has the potential to save significant amounts of time and money.
Glas Data has spent three years developing and refining its GlasCore dashboard, which displays all of a farm’s data in one easy to understand dashboard, which can be primarily viewed on a mobile phone, tablet or computer.
The latest development is the introduction of real time alerts. The system can be set up to monitor the data that matters to the farmer and a text message or email can be sent to draw their attention to any issue that needs action. Alerts can be sent to multiple users.
“The system can be set up individually for each farmer or food producer, to track exactly what they need and alert them to issues of concern. This means they can react quickly and take mitigating action that could save significant costs, before small issues become a serious problem. The system has been designed to work with businesses of any scale. You can adopt this if you have only one thing you care about or if you need 1000’s of sensors and alerts sent to 100’s of employees,”
explains Colin Phillipson, co-founder of Glas Data.
The technology has many applications and can be used wherever data can be collected. For example, sensors could monitor waste water tanks, and send an alert when they need to be emptied. For food producers, the ability to alert if the temperature of fridges or freezers reaches a certain level, could allow a quick response to save produce if a cooling system fails. The system can also be used in dairy farming, where it could provide alerts on the volume of milk produced. The system can also monitor milk tank temperatures and alert when they are out of tolerance. For arable farmers, alerts on soil health (moisture and/or temperature) can be set up.
Other potential applications include an alert when gates are left open, water troughs need filling up, if voltages for electric fences fall too low, or to alert when a bore hole pump fails.
“The system has been designed to be simple and easy to use. Technology can become overwhelming and use up more time than it saves if farmers and food producers need to log in to multiple apps and websites. With GlasCore, all of the data they need is available in one place, with one log-in and our new real time alerts, means that even more time and money will be saved.”
Growth on the agenda for Glas Data with £141K support from CIOSIF
31st July 2020
Cornish agri-tech business Glas Data has received £141K funding to help deliver growth, as it continues to develop its universal dashboard to make data management easier for farmers and food producers. The equity funding comes from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).
Glas Data was started with support from Falmouth University’s postgraduate Launchpad programme, which creates success-driven startups. Co-founders Rob Sanders and Colin Phillipson met on the programme where they formed the company with the aim of creating a one-stop agricultural data management dashboard, GlasCore.
GlasCore, a simple to use dashboard that pulls all of the data a farmer or food producer needs into one easy to use screen, can be viewed on the go via mobile phone or tablet.
Technology is developing rapidly, allowing farmers to collect data on everything from weather and soil nutrients to animal health. With so much data now available, the challenge is how to make it accessible and easy to understand, so that it helps farmers make decisions, saving them both time and money. That is where the GlasCore dashboard comes in. The cloud-based solution can be set up to display the information, alerts and trends that a particular agriculture business needs.
“There is a lot of pressure on farmers and food producers to become more efficient and increase productivity. Adopting technology is crucial, but there is a risk that the amount of data generated by new technology will become overwhelming. Our GlasCore dashboard helps by pulling all of the data about a farm or food production business into one easy to use and simple to understand screen,”
says Colin Phillipson, Co-Founder of Glas Data.
Glas Data will use the funding from Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund to deliver growth through research and development and customer acquisition.
“The funding from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund comes at a perfect time for Glas Data. We’ve had an incredibly busy few years since we set up the business in 2018 and we now employ seven people. The funding will help with the next stage of our growth, allowing us to focus on research and development and customer acquisition,”
adds Colin Phillipson.
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.
CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
Giz Edwards and Dan
Naylor are two of the Founders
of Clipshare from Falmouth University’s Launchpad programme, building high
value companies to fill market gaps with industry partners.
Clipshare means you can
make one long piece of video content that is then “clipped” to make content for
all your channels.
I have been creating
content for Youtube for the past ten years or so and also run a media company
so have a strong interest in marketing. I worked with Launchpad a short while
ago, creating films for some of the startups on the programme and was impressed
with what I saw, so decided to apply.
I used to be an online
professional poker player, and have a really strong interest in strategy and
also in game theory. Technology changed the poker industry and the return on
investment dropped, so I decided to do something completely different. I
wanted to use the other side of my brain for a bit, and started a creative
writing course at Falmouth University. This is when I found out about Launchpad
while looking into masters courses or business development and went straight to
it after my course ended.
We were put into a team
of four when we joined Launchpad, and I like that if you’re creating a business
team members have the option to move teams to work on projects that they are
more aligned with. For example, when we got our challenges from our very
prestigious industry partners, we realised that three of us shared a vision, whereas
our fourth member wanted to work on something a bit different. He moved teams
and it worked out really well.
I was on a different
team but wanted to move as it was on a project that I didn’t feel was the right
fit for me. It’s really important when you go into business to be properly
invested in what you’re working on, especially when it’s a startup. One of the
Founders had a strong corporate background so this new team had clear
structures in place, which was actually really helpful because it meant there
was a clear guideline on what each person’s role was.
We came up with the idea
after I worked with a client who needed video content clipped to suit various
social media – it took me so much time and I had to eventually hire someone to
help. So it was time-consuming and completely cost inefficient. When one of the
challenges we were given as part of the Launchpad course was to do with
creating a marketing tool – Clipshare seemed like the perfect solution.
It’s probably because
there’s the assumption that surely this has been done. It was almost joyful,
going through every scheduler and every editor making sure our features aren’t
on there and finding they weren’t!
The other people on our
team are Alex Redman and Josh King. Alex worked for Bentley as an engineer for
more than a decade. He drives our team forward with business management and is
very analytical in his methods, which give us a strong focus – I’m quite
convinced that if we didn’t have Alex on the team, we wouldn’t be as far as we
are in this process.
Josh is our tech guy –
he worked for a startup chatbot and AI agency in Cornwall. He makes sure it’s a
great customer journey through the platform because his speciality is user
experience. We also obviously have to take into account things like changing
technologies, but we have a very, very detailed product innovation roadmap that
spans into quite a long time-period. So, we are prepared if things change
because with technology, you never know what will come up, especially because
our platform is more useful than just for sharing clips.
We are aiming towards
the single content-creator as an early adopter, but we do expect in-house media
companies to use us later on. This sort of software does not currently
exist and we can see it helping consumers in the same way that other leading
social media management platforms do. We have the tools and the team to be a
market-leader, which we aim to be within five years.
Right, and when you look
at the functionality of our software, it’s allowing users to get more views, which means more direct interaction with your
consumer, without all the time-consuming work you have to put in now. This
means it’s useful to anyone who wants to post on more than one social media
platform and as it expands, it’s going to just be one of those tools that’s
used by multi-platform users as the norm. We have some interesting innovations
coming on how subtitles can make the process easier – we can’t go into that too
much right now, but watch this space!
It’s exciting that the
first draft of our product is out now and is currently free. Later, we expect
it to be subscription-based for a nominal monthly fee. We want to be on the
same scale as Buffer and Hootsuite and I think we can be because this is
something that digital creators really need. We have people testing the software
in its current form now and expect to add many more features as the testing
goes on. If you would like to use our fantastic video-clipping software, all
the info is on clipshare.it so go take a look!
DAVE: I have always had a strong interest in food security and
have researched the subject for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, I
was accepted as a researcher at the University of Cape Town to look into how
African indigenous crops react to the changing climate. While I was there, it
was interesting to see how there was almost no food waste in homes, in fact, I
found that 90% of food was wasted or destroyed in production, quite often due
to lack of refrigeration.
When I got back home to Bakewell – home of the Bakewell pudding
(not tart)! – I was shocked and dismayed to discover that 70 percent of
food waste here in the UK was created within the home. This was such a strong
contrast to what I experienced in Africa, and hard to fathom.
I had been thinking about this for a while and had always had
aspirations to have a business and work for myself. I had been looking for
something like Launchpad. Seeing that I get paid £16k tax free and would also
get an MA while starting my own business, it was the perfect opportunity.
I was put into a group with Selomon Goitom, who is my co-founder
and also had a strong interest in food waste and security. Selomon is originally
from Eritrea, and moved to the UK when he was 16 and qualified as a software
SELOMON: I’ve always wanted to be in business, because I had been
working in my family business from a young age and I’ve always had an interest
in software and technology. I did an undergrad in computing and theology – I
was the only person to do this at my university. But I work with my church and
have a strong faith, so to me those seemed like the most natural subjects to
put together. This probably is also what drives me to be helpful to my
community. I later also got an Msc in Computing and it’s wonderful that it’s
helping me now. I joined Launchpad primarily to start a business, the fact that
I got a second Masters degree was a bonus.
DAVE: Our industry partners set us a food waste challenge and with
Selomon’s tech background and my research, we were able to design and develop
the Seefood app. It’s wonderful to be able to see the fruits (literally!) of
our hard work on the App store and on Google.
At first, we created Seefood for students who we saw and talked
with every day on the Penryn campus where we’re based. We found that most had
no idea what to do with some of the things their parents had bought them from
these huge grocery shops during Freshers’ week. But now, we’ve found interest
from people across the board – especially families.
We’ve found we could save families £60 a month if they use our app
and follow the tips – can you believe that is how much the average household wastes?
(https://www.hubbub.org.uk/food-savvy – please link the word
wastes with this link)
SELOMON: Food waste wasn’t at the top of my agenda initially. We’d
been given three challenges by our industry partners but after research and
working with my team, I found myself really changing how I related to food and
waste. One statistic that really got my attention was 10 billion tonnes of food
is thrown out a year according WRAP (https://wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food_%20surplus_and_waste_in_the_UK_key_facts_Jan_2020.pdf ). This
results in 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is costing the
council millions of pounds to dispose of. Since doing the research, I have a
strong desire to educate people, especially younger people who have a poor
understanding of food. They’ve never had to ration after the war and the fact
there is an abundance of cheap food – even if it is not healthy food – has made
DAVE: We’ve found the lockdown has got people thinking more about
their food and how we relate to it. More time cooking and less time eating out
or grabbing a sandwich seems to have had an impact
We’ve found that many people aren’t educated when it comes to
food, and quite often, they’ve forgotten what’s in the fridge or larder. People
just don’t know how to save the food they’ve bought and we want to end this
destructive process with Seefood.
SELOMON: During the lockdown, we found that there might also be a
market to create an online marketplace to help Cornish producers sell their
products directly to consumers. For now, we’ll use third party software but
long term, we’ll develop our own platform to do this. We also hope to upload
consumers’ purchases to our app, which will help people also reduce their food
DAVE: The app catalogues what is in your fridge and larder and
will remind you when something is close to its use-by date. It also has 70,000
recipes built in so will suggest meal ideas for the products you have left. It
even has a shopping list feature to help plan your meals before you go shopping
and will also let users know if they are doubling up on a product they might
already have. Bread, potatoes, milk and chicken are the most-wasted foods, but
with helpful tips from the app, users find they could freeze the bread, create
a chicken and potato casserole and use the milk for a dessert.
At the moment, this is entered manually, but soon we plan to have
a feature where users can just take a picture of their shopping receipt and
this just goes on the app.
What we’ve learnt is we can make a big change with small swaps in
our life, and we would love to share the knowledge we’ve gathered with the
Seefood app. It’s available on the App store and on Google right now, and more
about us is on the website https://seethefoods.com/ . Save food, save money and
save the planet – what could be better than that?
is as old as money. From 2000 BC, banks were already well established from
India to Greece to Assyria and China. Of course, banking has evolved and to
most young people even the world of their parents seems crazy. Yes, they would
have paid for a pint of milk by cheque, or only had cash when the bank branch
was open. Apps? Contactless? Mobile banking? No. Help with looking after your
money? Again, not readily available. At least, not until it was too late.
our focus has changed, so has what we want from our money. For Gen Z then,
financial well-being, like mental and physical health, is becoming more
Moneystory is a
financial well-being app, started by Frantisek Nushart and Jones Oviawe on the
Jones were matched when they started at Launchpad, and were from the kind of
different backgrounds that the programme excels in bringing together.
Jones owned a sport-technology startup and spent his early childhood in Nigeria. He moved to England with his family when he was 11. Frantisek who has a background in IT came to England for the first time, from the Czech Republic, when he joined Launchpad last year.
team wanted to create something that would make a difference to society. Their
industry partner is one of the world’s biggest banks and wanted a solution to
help Gen Zs with their first bank account.
feasibility study, the Moneystory team found that more than being able to
create a bank account, people needed awareness around their finances and tools
to help their money work for them. It was financial anxiety that needed to be
Jones says he
felt that when it concerns money, most people are on autopilot. They don’t look
at their bank accounts, or talk about it, spend when they need to and just hope
they have enough to pay the bills at the end of the month. He says this is
because there is a lack of financial education, which is especially prevalent
if they grew up in a low-income household.
He says growing
up in tough circumstances means he can really understand how people who have
less disposable income relate to money, and this is what drives him to make
Moneystory a success. Jones told Launchpad: “My parents motivate me. They’ve
worked really hard for me all my life and I see opportunity everywhere because
I want to make them proud and myself proud.”
He adds: “Many
people in fintech aren’t worried about getting their next bill, have never
visited a foodbank and never worry their card will cancel at the tills. This is
not who our app is for. So many people are not in that privileged position and
might just need a little help getting out of the financial situation they are
This is why he
wanted to create an app that allows people to explore their financial identity
which also offers coaching, devised by a group of finance and psychology
experts who work with the team. Moneystory is also creating links with
government agencies and financial advice charities to offer them an outlet for
people they may be helping. The app will not, however, preach to people about
what they should do.
“It’s going to be self-reflective and thought provoking rather than preaching,
and will use the individual’s real financial data.”
The app will
monitor an individual’s financial health and provide them with tools for good
financial well-being as well as checking-in to see how they feel about their
finances. Most importantly, it will get people thinking about money, and put
them in control of what they have.
“Why do you
think apps like Calm and Headspace are growing?, he asks, “It’s because anxiety
is at the forefront, and these apps calm people down. While we understand that
money isn’t and shouldn’t be the sole reason for happiness, it can alleviate
some of one’s worries, and we have to acknowledge that.”
expects the app to be ready by the summer on Android and IOS.
A short while ago, I was in the Picasso museum in Barcelona,
which, while it was a delightful experience, was ever-so-slightly marred by the
fact that we had not ordered enough tour headsets for our group. To rectify
this, we would have to go back down to the reception, wait in line for an
indefinite amount of time, possibly to be told that there weren’t any left. So,
we decided to continue along without them, using art and history sites, mainly
to find out about the individual pieces in the Las Meñiñas collection and more
about Picasso’s time in Barcelona. It was fascinating and we learnt so much,
but I did wonder why in this day and age, I couldn’t just download an app on my
phone to help me out a bit, without me having to collate all the information
myself on the go.
A week later, I met Peter and Mike. They’re on the Falmouth
Launchpad programme and are creating an app called Now and Then, which does exactly what I needed in Barcelona and
possibly a bit more.
Peter Kaela was doing a maths degree, competently but unsure
where he would go after it was finished, when he discovered Falmouth Launchpad.
He was interested in business and was really interested in getting a masters
degree, while starting a business and getting paid for it tax-free. He felt
like the Launchpad programme sounded almost too good to be true but he knew it
would work out for him once he had come to Cornwall for an interview and
chatted to the people behind the scenes.
Mike Robinson is retired – many times over. He describes
himself as a serial entrepreneur, and seems unable to sit still. He seems to
love working and moving and just doing things. Mike came to Falmouth after
being told by his wife that this previous job took him away too often at the
weekends and the Launchpad programme seemed a good way for him to create
something that was really needed.
With their age gap and seemingly very different life
experiences, they might sound like a mismatched couple, but chatting to Peter
and Mike, it’s easy to see why this a partnership that works – and well.
Both of them are willing to learn from each other, and both
of them see the potential of what could be a global app.
Now and Then will be
geo-locating, and will alert users to walks, attractions and events in the area
they’re in at the time. It will provide offers and incentives to visit museums
and other areas of interest, with ready-made content in the form of audio
tours, pictures and video to guide users through the places they’re touring.
It’s also not just attractions within buildings that Peter
and Michael want to promote, but also walks within local areas, with archive
content that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Mike says there’s a plan to
release that content to the public rather than have it stored away in an unseen
or untouched archive.
Now and Then will
not generate its own content, rather, it sees itself as more of a collator of
existing content, which is already readily available at attractions but
occasionally inaccessible due to faulty equipment or not enough of it.
Peter says he expects the app to be beneficial in more ways
than one – and hopes for it to one day replace the walking headset tour that is
so often the mainstay of the attraction. This, Mike says, will be easy and
accessible but also with more content that the user has control over. It will
also – in the long run – save the attraction money.
Headsets need maintenance and charging up and they cost
money to replace. An app on the other hand, is infinitely cheaper to maintain once
it’s been developed and more accessible to a growing part of the community.
Peter says: “The content and media can also be easily
updated as things change, and will benefit the area that is being promoted.”
“There are lots of people interested in history in the
world,” says Mike, “Every town you go to has a history archive, with audio,
video and pictures. But, in order to get to this, you have to go into the
archive, and there’s quite a bit of it. Volunteers have to trawl through all of
this content when a tour needs to be created, which can be a slow process and a
changing one. This could be easily solved by the relevant content being
uploaded to Now and Then and used as
a walking tour around the attraction.”
He believes the app will be infinitely more convenient to
the user, making it a better experience that is likely to mean increased
The first possible tour the app has uploaded is a walk
around the graveyard where Isambard Kingdom Brunel was buried, among other
people of note. The Falmouth Historic Society, and other stakeholders, created
an historic walk around the graveyard, using people dressed in period costumes,
telling the stories of the remarkable people buried in the graveyard. This will
all be recorded by the team and then all the media uploaded and written up for
download on Now and Then.
Based on what you’ve said you like, routes in your area will
be recommended to you, and also based on your location. Peter explains that the
other good thing about the geo-location is you wouldn’t be able to do a tour of
a Cornish musem, while sitting in Yorkshire. This, Michael and Peter hope will
increase footfall to attraction area and therefore also revenue to those
Another useful feature of Now and Then will be that the tours can be downloaded ahead of time
and used without data, which means that there’s no question of being caught out
by dodgy broadband or mobile signal, if you’re slightly organised ahead of
The content will cost a nominal fee, if the content creator
wants to charge for it, so there is minimal disruption and expense to the end
On research, the creators found that it’s families who need things
to do at weekends, and this app is hoping to be the saviour of boredom. After
downloading the app, depending on your location, the app will buzz you with
information on tours, walks or offers close to you, to help you decided how to
spend your time.
And finally, within the app, there’ll be a scrap-book
feature, which would help people remember their experiences, which they’ll also
be able to share on social media with friends and family.
The challenge for the team now, is the work that needs to be
done to get the app up and running. There are quite a few relationships to be
created as well as databases to ensure the content is available once beta
testing is ready to start. They’ve got to do all of this, while working towards
their master’s degrees, which they’ll graduate from next May.
After the incubation period, Now and Then will go into the acceleration phase with hopefully a host of attractions, walks and deals under its belt, ready to deliver to the public. I, for one, wish they’d hurry up, so I can go back to the Picasso museum with an easier walk around.
According to a Harvard Business School Study, 75%of
venture-backed start-ups fail. Here in the UK, the numbers are slightly better,
according to Real Business, which found 57% of new businesses fold in the first
These statistics, which float around the start-up world like broomsticks in Quidditch, are exactly what made the Launchpad programme so appealing to Team Ramble.
The three-man team are all from different backgrounds, and say while they all have a similar work ethic, they wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for Launchpad, which builds teams with the right skills to create a successful business. In fact, two of the team, Warwick New (great name!) and Ross Perry were both in Falmouth University’s Games Academy at the same time, and had never met. Their third co-founder, James Millard, came from London to Cornwall with a business-heavy background.
Ross and Warwick work on the technical aspects of their product, while James runs the business side. The team recently incorporated and are currently looking for investors for their company, which makes podcasts live and interactive. The company is using the radio industry as a base – taking the things it’s getting right and discarding the things it’s doing wrong
The team plans for the product to be beta tested soon. Podcasts are huge, with more and more people choosing to download a podcast over listening to live radio – more than 7 million people listen to podcasts in the UK each week, up by 24% on 2018. Podcasts are usually on niche topics, so being able to interact, ask questions live of the presenters, would be a real boost. This is at the crux of what Ramble wants to do – allow callers to take part in a live podcast of their choosing, in a raw, unedited way.
But, there will
be accountability. Nobody who uses the platform can do so anonymously, each
person will have to sign up with details, possibly attached to an existing
platform like LinkedIn.
Ross says he really believes in the concept, but still sees himself as a developer before an entrepreneur: “I’m not really from a business background, so there was a bit of a transition at first, but the way the teams work mean that everyone has to get stuck in.” As well as getting their business off the ground there’s also Masters in Entrepreneurship to complete within the year, fully-funded as part of the programme.
The team’s other developer, Warwick, also did a Bsc in Computing at Falmouth University. He says: “I
always knew I wanted to run my own company, which is the sort of freedom the programme
this works because it also means that he doesn’t have the sole responsibility
for the product, which can be quite daunting. The Falmouth Launchpad teams are
chosen based on personality types, experiences and the type of business they
might all want to go into. Also, it seems having the backing of other people is
a great support for Ramble, as each individual brings their own unique talents
to the business.
How does he cope
with having to make decisions as a team?
Warwick says: “Our team works because we just get our heads down and get things done.”
driver of the startup, James, had always wanted to start his own business too,
and was very attracted to the Launchpad programme because of the benefits and
support. “The security you’ve got with the year’s pay (£16,000 tax free) helps
you do what you need to do, without worrying about bills or working part-time
somewhere else. You focus full time on making the business a success.”
Cornwall after London, what’s that like? “Refreshing” apparently. Despite the
county’s small population, or perhaps because of it, it’s easier to meet
people, there’s lots going on and there’s a good support system at Launchpad and
the University who know what you’re going through.
One of the main
challenges now is how long the technical aspects of the platform takes to
create and change. The team also has changes to make to the product after
investor meetings, and arguably the most important step is to get word of the
product out there and get people using it. The team say this as an exciting
time, and know that without Launchpad this idea would have stayed just that.
Now, they know it will come to life.