First thing, Jose and I would like to start by saying a big thank to all of you out there that have trusted us to help rearing your calves, or supported us with your investment of help, advise and money . We had to hunker down and get through the roller coaster that was coming out of the COVID lockdowns and the onslaught of market turmoil. We held steady and worked with our early adopters and concentrated on proving the value to customers.
What we learnt in the first years of Smartbell is that the agtech industry is not one for rapid innovation with an immature product. Many start-ups in this space have tried that approach before and it has not worked. We took a different approach. Proving value takes time, and that’s what we did over 2 years. We worked with multiple commercial farms to develop the trials to prove value and get the product fit for purpose at launch – not an MVP but a compelling market entry product.
I am happy to say that we have since launched our flagship product Wellcalf, successfully in 2022 and focused on commercialization efforts through 2023.
We have entered the US market with trials with Holstein US, the leading dairy cattle breed association through their Smart Holstein initiative. A second client will soon be rolled out in January 2024 in Texas, with a dairy farm with 20,000 cattle in its holding. This has the potential to develop into a distribution deal in USA.
The next big target on the wall is to grow the company to £1M revenue and with talks for large distribution deals in progress, we have started moving in that direction.
We have been thrilled that the UK government has recognised innovation in farming as a high growth sector with big impact and allocated funding for companies leading innovation in this space. We are proud to have been awarded £1.1M in grant funding to support R&D taking the product portfolio further and developing a suite of solutions for every farm.
This is a massive opportunity to scale up the reach of Smartbell worldwide. Now is the time to hit the pedal and capture the wider market scaling up to deliver on these deals. To support this stage of commercialization, we are raising an investment round.
Currently we have a lead VC investor and are looking to bring in additional key strategic investors to close the round by January 2024. Additionally, we are taking Smartbell to the public and launching a crowdfunding campaign by the first week of December as an opportunity to involve the wider community in the development of the company.
Here is the link to the pre-launch page: