Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) said its portfolio company, Fieldwork Robotics has received a continuity grant from Innovate UK to accelerate the development of its agricultural robot technology during the coronavirus pandemic.
The IP investment group said the £84,000 grant will be used to support Fieldwork’s plans to expand its team and develop facilities amid what it said is “growing interest in its technology from potential industry partners”. The grant follows a previous £547,250 award from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in April 2019, as well as £320,000 raised in an initial equity funding round in January this year.
Fieldwork, in which Frontier owns a 26.9% stake, is currently developing technology to harvest soft fruit and vegetables to help growers address human labour shortages, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
"Fieldwork Robotics is addressing the long-standing problems soft-fruit and vegetable growers have faced in recruiting enough human labour to harvest their crops. [Coronavirus] has only made these problems worse. We are very grateful to Innovate UK and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for their continued support", Fieldwork’s chief executive Rui Andres said in a statement.
"We would like to thank Innovate UK for its ongoing support for Fieldwork Robotics. We are seeing significant industrial interest in the company's technology above the recently announced agreement with Bosch. We remain confident about Fieldwork's long-term prospects", added Frontier IP CEO Neil Crabb.
Frontier IP shares rose 0.8% to 66p in early deals on Monday.