Naveen Maruthachalam joined RootWave in November 2021 as Digital and Embedded Software Manager – he has nearly 15 years of experience as a software manager and engineer. He is now looking to build a flexible multi-disciplinary embedded software team to support RootWave’s growing range of products.
“I chose RootWave because the company is growing, and it is growing because it has game-changing new technology. That is a great prospect for any engineer, but I also love that our products could make such a positive impact on the environment – that fits well with me and my personal values.
“The company is about to scale the technology across a range of products, and they want to build a solid software foundation with ease-of-use for the customer at its heart. Equally important will be to create a digital offering that works for the customer, a system that takes their data to help them make informed weed management decisions. To be in a position to create a team to deliver this is a really enticing challenge for me.
“I am customer focussed – I want to develop products that the customer loves using and that they will come back to again and again. My job is to always keep the customer at the front of our minds. The challenge at RootWave is that we have technology that can work in several different environments and scenarios, as part of the core architecture team we have to build a foundation that will help produce consistently good products.
“That means looking at the details from all scenarios, analysing the differences, but importantly the similarities, so that we get the best possible platform. It is a big challenge but getting it right can unlock so many opportunities for the company, I love that.
“I want to build a team with a range of skills that is dynamic, flexible and one where we can all learn from each other. I have found the existing team and RootWave to be so welcoming and supportive. There is a positive atmosphere here, it feels like we are working on something special. Everyone wants to go the extra mile, but everyone listens too – I feel respected and valued – it is inspiring.
“I have managed teams of up to fifteen people in the past, based across multiple locations. RootWave is happy to support flexible and hybrid working opportunities, so I know I can get on and put together a great team that will deliver a great customer experience.
“Its never boring here, everyday is new and it really feels like we are making progress. I like getting into the detail and I like the idea that what we are doing now is going to benefit our customers for five, ten or even 15 years to come.
“I come from a safety critical software background where I have delivered software at various safety levels. In other words, this involves following a formal software development life cycle, which is something I have already started implementing at RootWave. I am looking forward to having a team around me that can bring the skills we need to deliver a platform that works across a range of products, in a range of environments and most importantly for a range of customers.”
RootWave is currently recruiting for Embedded Software Engineers, and other roles. Visit: https://rootwave.com/careers/
This story is taken from our newsletter The Volt. To read a magazine version of this and other stories, click here.
Peter Dury has joined RootWave as a Technical Support Engineer, helping to make sure that all RootWave Pro customers are able to get the most out of their machines.
Peter has nearly 10 years’ experience as a field service engineer, working in the machinery industry, specialising in electrical vehicles and hydraulics. He joins RootWave from Linde Material Handling UK where he led a team of 12 field service engineers.
After his appointment Peter said: “It is great to join an exciting company like RootWave, I love that we are developing game changing products.
“The customer will always come first for me and I am really looking forward to getting to know our clients and working with them to ensure they can treat weeds in the most effective way all season long.” Existing RootWave Pro customers in the UK can contact Peter on +44 781 878 7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Serkan says he feels like a good engineer at RootWave
Kineton (UK), 20 January 2020, 6:00 AM GMT
- RootWave is developing and marketing solutions to kill weeds using electricity to offer a scalable and sustainable alternative to chemical herbicides.
- Funding will be used to expand sales of RootWave Pro, a professional hand-weeder for spot weeding and treating invasive species, and integrate its technology into automated agricultural weeders.
- The financing is provided by a strong international investor syndicate led by V-Bio Ventures and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund and joined by Pymwymic and existing shareholders.
RootWave, a pioneer in electrical weed killing solutions, today secured ca. EUR 6.5m in a Series A investment round led by Willem Broekaert of V-Bio Ventures (Belgium) and Richard O’Gorman and Tom Ritchie of Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund (Netherlands), and joined by impact fund Pymwymic (Netherlands) and existing shareholders including Yield Lab Ireland.
The proceeds will enable RootWave to expand commercialisation of its RootWave Pro, a professional hand-weeder for spot weeding and treating invasive species, integrate its technology into automated agricultural weeders, and conduct further research into novel electricity-based weed killing applications.
RootWave’s technology uses electricity to kill weeds from the roots upwards. The $30bn herbicides industry is under pressure due to herbicide-resistant weeds and increasing regulation and litigation. RootWave’s technology is the leading solution for herbicide-free and effective weed control, contributing to more sustainable agriculture, a cleaner environment and a healthier food chain. The company is currently selling its RootWave Pro throughout Europe and is partnering with ag-machinery companies including Steketee/Lemken, SFM Technology and Small Robot Company.
In connection with the financing, representatives of V-Bio Ventures, Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, and Pymwymic will join the board of directors.
Andrew Diprose, CEO of RootWave, comments: ‘This fundraising reinforces the potential of RootWave’s technology and will allow the company to grow its revenues and commercialise its next generation products. We are grateful for the support from our employees, existing board and shareholders and look forward to welcoming the new investor syndicate to our board. Together we will deliver innovative solutions that the market is urgently demanding.’
Willem Broekaert, Managing Partner from V-Bio Ventures, adds: ‘We have been impressed by the determination and vision of RootWave’s management team, and by the deep innovation pipeline of the company. We strongly believe in the transformation RootWave can bring about in the weed control market, and are excited to be part of this journey.’
Richard O’Gorman, Director of Rabobank’s Food & Agri Innovation Fund, comments: ‘We at Rabobank recognize the need for greater sustainable food production and technologies that not only support increase yields, but also safeguard the environment for future generations. We are very proud to invest in RootWave and our partnership is testament to our mission to support truly innovative emerging technologies that can make a true difference in how we produce food in a future-proof manner.’
Pieter Vis, Investment Manager of Pymwymic, says: ‘We are proud to join RootWave on their mission to develop and commercialise electrical vegetation control technologies and products that improve communities and the environment by offering a scalable and sustainable alternative to chemical herbicides’.
RootWave (www.rootwave.com) uses electricity to kill weeds as a sustainable and scalable alternative to herbicides. The technology is organic, sustainable, no-till and cost-effective. RootWave was launched in 2012 and is currently selling an award-winning professional hand weeder designed for growers, gardeners and groundskeepers to spot weed and treat invasive species; it is used across the world by contractors, municipalities, heritage sites, estates, football clubs, and farmers. RootWave has won numerous EU and UK grants to adopt its technology for agriculture and is working with several ag-machinery companies to develop automated solutions for specialty and broadacre crops. RootWave zaps weeds with zero chemicals and is improving the environment by offering a sustainable alternative to herbicides.
About V-Bio Ventures
V-Bio Ventures (www.v-bio.ventures) is an independent venture capital firm specialized in building and financing young, innovative life science companies. V-Bio Ventures was established in 2015 and works closely with Belgium-based VIB, one of the world’s premier life science institutes. The fund invests throughout Europe in start-up and early-stage companies with high growth potential focusing on technologies that provide transformational improvements in the biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and agricultural sectors.
About Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund
Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund “RFAIF” (www.rfaif.com) is a captive venture capital fund of Rabobank, a global leader in providing international finance to the food and agriculture (F&A) sector. RFAIF leverages Rabobank’s extensive global network and sector knowledge to support the growth and success of start-up companies leading innovation across the food and agri supply chain.
Pymwymic (www.pymwymic.com) is an investment cooperative of private investors who invest in impact driven enterprises through Sustainable Development Goal themed sub-funds, leveraging a peer-to-peer network and exchange of knowledge and expertise. The Pymwymic Healthy Ecosystems Impact Fund invests in early to growth stage companies that have measurable impact and seek to conserve and restore our ecosystems while generating an attractive financial return.
National Trust Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, 5 December 2019
RootWave and Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced the world’s first non-chemical precision robotic weeding for cereal crops. Using electricity and artificial intelligence, the ‘Dick’ robot will zap individual weeds using commercially-proven RootWave weed zapping technology. Early field trials are due to commence in 2020.
This is a major technological milestone which will enable automated, precision, per-plant weeding both at scale and autonomously, for the first time providing a post-chemical future for arable farmers.
This world-leading innovation is funded by the government’s Innovate UK grant programme, with more than £1 million funding committed to date. Working together in partnership with British start up RootWave, Small Robot Company has successfully completed development of its ‘Dick’ non-chemical weeding robot prototype to in-lab proof of concept stage, Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4.0. An initial prototype will go into field trials in 2020, with the commercial weed zapping service anticipated to be available from autumn 2021.
With up to 95% of chemicals wasted in the current farming system, this new non-chemical weeding technology will be significantly more nature-friendly and better for biodiversity.
“This is truly a world-first. For the first time, we can see each plant in the field – and every single weed. Instead of spraying the whole field, we can simply zap the individual weeds,” says Sam Watson-Jones, co-founder, Small Robot Company. “Farmers are integral to the environmental solution. It’s crucial that we’re working on farm to develop our technology, to ensure it delivers real benefits in field. Together, we’re creating the ultimate sustainable farming model.“
Andrew Diprose, CEO, RootWave comments, “Our technology uses electricity to zap weeds with zero chemicals. Increased regulation, herbicide resistance, and consumer concerns are all intensifying the urgency to find an environmental solution. Partnering with Small Robot Company means we can automate our weed zapping to operate at farm-scale.”
Calum Murray, Innovate UK’s Head of Agriculture & Food, said “It’s fantastic to see how Innovate UK’s funding has brought together British start up RootWave and Small Robot Company to develop game changing technologies that will revolutionize the agriculture sector. This innovative technology will allow farmers for the first time ever to use non-chemical precision robotic weeding for cereal, whilst saving energy and reducing costs. At Innovate UK, we are proud to be supporting thetransformation of the UK’s food production systems, improving productivity and sustainability, and helping the industry move towards achieving net zero emissions by 2040.”
Groundbreaking customer trials: Waitrose and the National Trust
Initial customers include the National Trust Wimpole Estate and Waitrose Leckford Estate farms, who are both already trialling SRC’s first commercial weed mapping service, which uses SRC’s ‘Tom’ monitoring robot to first locate the weeds. Both farms have been key partners in SRC’s work to develop its sustainable farming technology. Trials will take place on 20 UK farms through 2020.
Callum Weir, farm manager of the 1,500 acre (600 hectare) organic farm on the Wimpole Estate, says: “The key advantage of this groundbreaking technology is that it will enable us to be much more precise and targeted in controlling weeds, therefore helping us to increase crop yields and biodiversity. It is also lightweight, helping reduce compaction of soils – a consequence of using traditional tractors – which will help improve soil health.”
Andrew Hoad, Partner & Head of Waitrose’s Leckford Estate, comments: “This technology could be truly groundbreaking and has the potential to shape how we farm in the future. By helping us be more precise and targeted in controlling weeds and managing pests, this next generation of farming robots could in turn help us protect biodiversity on our land and preserve the natural environment for future generations.”
RootWave non-chemical weeding
With pressure increasing from regulators and herbicide resistant weeds, RootWave has developed a scalable and sustainable alternative to herbicides. This provides the core technology for SRC’s new weed-zapping robots. The technology is sustainable, no-till and cost comparable with herbicides. Automating this technology at scale will bring significant cost savings for farmers.
Rootwave uses electricity to kill weeds. Electricity is applied to a weed where the natural resistance of the weed transforms the electrical energy into heat which boils it inside out from the root upwards. This kills the weed after which the plant naturally decomposes, returning its nutrients to the soil. RootWave treats deep into the roots, making it possible to treat any weed, including tough invasive species such as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed.
RootWave’s technology is already commercially available as a professional hand-weeder designed for growers, gardeners and groundskeepers to spot weed and treat invasive species. This is in use in municipal, commercial and heritage sites, such as parks, football grounds and gardens, with customers including English Heritage, the Environment Agency, and the National Trust.
RootWave has won a £1million UK Government Innovate UK grant to scale its technology across different crop types and weeding platforms, including the Small Robot Company’s autonomous robots. The other major partner is SFM Technologies who are using RootWave technology to develop a tractor-pulled clearance weeder for fruit crops . These integrations will help enable electrical weed control technology to be adopted as a scalable and sustainable alternative to herbicides.
RootWave is delighted to have been named as one of the top 50 most disruptive companies in the UK in the 2019 Disruption Index which highlights and celebrates those businesses innovating and leading the way in our rapidly changing world.