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Frontier IP Group - Fieldwork Robotics secures first equity funding

RNS Number : 6511Z
Frontier IP Group plc
14 January 2020



14 January 2020


Frontier IP Group plc

("Frontier IP" or the "Group")


Portfolio news - Fieldwork Robotics secures first equity funding


Frontier IP, a specialist in commercialising university intellectual property, today announces that portfolio company Fieldwork Robotics (the "Company" or "Fieldwork") has raised £298,000 through an initial equity funding round.


The proceeds will be used by Fieldwork to accelerate development and scale up of the Company's novel robotics technology for harvesting soft fruit and vegetables. A prototype raspberry picking robot successfully completed two field trials last year in collaboration with Hall Hunter Partnership, one of the UK's leading soft fruit growers.


As part of the fundraising, Frontier IP converted a loan of £48,000 into equity, with £250,000 being raised from new investors. The funding round values the University of Plymouth spin out at £5,048,000, with the Group's 26.9 per cent equity stake valued at £1,355,000. Frontier IP also holds outstanding warrants on a further 0.74 per cent of Fieldwork's equity. Before the funding round, the Group held an equity stake of 27.5 per cent, which was valued at £415,000.


The Company is initially focused on developing robots to harvest raspberries - they are more delicate, more easily damaged than other soft fruits, and grow on bushes with complex foliage and berry distribution. Fieldwork, together with the University of Plymouth, is also developing proof-of-concept robots for other crops following interest from leading agribusinesses.


Work to date has been supported by a £547,250 Innovate UK grant as part of a £671,484 project to develop the multi-armed robot prototype. Other partners in the project included the University of Plymouth and the National Physical Laboratory.


Fieldwork was incorporated to develop and commercialise the work of Dr Martin Stoelen, who splits his work between the University of Plymouth, where he lectures in robotics and leads the Soft and Adaptive Robotics lab, and as an Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Dr Stoelen has also led projects to develop a cauliflower harvesting robot systems and a tomato picker, a project run in partnership with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University


Frontier IP, Chief Executive Officer, Neil Crabb, said: "Fieldwork has made strong progress in the last  year in developing a robot raspberry-harvesting system ready for commercial roll out. We are delighted with the support we have received from the new investors in the Company."


Frontier IP Corporate Director, Rui Andres and Fieldwork Chief Executive Officer, said: "It's a great pleasure to see the increasing pace of progress in the robot and the Company. Fieldwork aims to work with potential customers to bring automated harvesting to a market suffering human labour shortages."





Frontier IP Group plc


Neil Crabb, Chief Executive Officer

T: 0207 332 2338

Andrew Johnson, Communications & Investor Relations

M: 07464 546 025



Allenby Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser)

T: 0203 328 5656

Nick Athanas / Nicholas Chambers 




N+1 Singer (Broker)

T: 0207 496 3000

Harry Gooden / George Tzimas





ABout frontier IP

Frontier IP unites science and commerce by identifying strong intellectual property and accelerating its development through a range of commercialisation services. A critical part of the Group's work is involving relevant industry partners at an early stage of development to ensure technology meets real world demands and needs.

The Group looks to build and grow a portfolio of equity stakes and licence income by taking an active involvement in spin-out companies, including support for fund raising and collaboration with relevant industry partners at an early stage of development.

Frontier IP is the commercialisation partner for the University of Plymouth.



The University of Plymouth is renowned for high quality, internationally-leading education, research and innovation.


With a mission to Advance Knowledge and Transform Lives, Plymouth is a *top 50 research university with clusters of world class research across a wide range of disciplines including marine science and engineering, medicine, robotics and psychology. A three-time winner of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, the University of Plymouth continues to grow in stature and reputation.


It has a strong track record for teaching and learning excellence and has one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows of any UK university. With over 19,000  students, and a further 9,500 studying for a Plymouth degree at partner institutions in the UK and around the world, and over 130,000 alumni pursuing their chosen careers globally, it has a growing global presence.



*Latest Fortnight Research Power League Table (published in 2014).

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