Cambridge-based startup Spotta uses AI to identify bed bugs, snaps €1M – Silicon Canals

Founded in 2018, Spotta uses the latest technology to revolutionise pest control, shifting the industry from reactive to proactive. Recently, the company has secured $1.18 million (approx €1M) seed funding round.

Representatives of Cambridge Angels and REMUS, a US-based VC firm, will join Spotta’s board as part of the investment deal. Other major investors include Martlet Capital, Wren Capital, and the Angel CoFund. 

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Robert Fryers, CEO at Spotta, states: “For decades, pest management has been held back by laborious, error-prone manual monitoring. With our technology, it is finally possible to change this and help industries around the world to make a step change from reactive to proactive management of pests. This will save billions and massively reduce the amount of pesticide used globally. We’re delighted to have strong support from a wide group of investors who share our vision. This funding will allow us to scale up our commercial operations and continue to address the £320bn global problem of insect pests.”

Hiring, new products, expansion and more

Based out of Cambridge, the company will use the new funding to continue hiring top talent, launch two new products, and enter into new international markets beyond its current presence in the UK, the US, and Europe. 

Additionally, Spotta aims to grow rapidly to support this expansion and continue its innovative use of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) to offer an accessible technological solution for pest detection.

Spotta Bed Pods

The Spotta Bed Pods offer accommodation providers the first continuous monitoring system which can identify common pests – including bed bugs – removing the need for manual checks by staff. The company uses AI to confirm the pests’ identity at the earliest point of introduction, sending an alert to hotel management, encouraging hotels to treat the problem before infestations occur.

“We are at an exciting intersection of AI, environmental sustainability, and IoT,” continues Fryers. “Our scalable, platform technology enables huge increases in productivity in a range of sectors including agriculture, forestry, textiles, and hospitality. We are building a substantial, highly profitable business by giving our customers better tools for dealing with invasive and costly species.” 

Working with major forest management organisation

In addition to its Bed Pod product, the company is working with a major forest management organisation to develop an outdoor pest monitoring solution and anticipates its technology being used in other applications including insect monitoring to help boost yields in agriculture.

‘Fit and forget’ technology

Since February 2019, the Pods have been installed in popular hotels in the United Kingdom. The Bed Pods run off Spotta’s own long-range, stable wireless network, with a low power image processing and communications system. 

Fuelled by a single battery which will last over a year, Spotta’s ‘fit and forget’ technology is a time-saver for housekeeping and maintenance staff, helps protect affected hotels against reputational damage, and minimises treatment costs and litigation fees – all of which can save hotels up to £67,200 per year (based on 200-room hotel).

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Paul Anson, a lead investor from the Cambridge Angels says: “Throughout its initial market roll-out with the Bed Pod, Spotta has proven that its pest detection and identification technology has real-world capabilities and delivers customer value in a global marketplace. This was a very strong follow-on round and that speaks to the capability of the management team and their execution success. We look forward to supporting Spotta as it continues on its commercial journey.”

“We’re excited about the Spotta team’s multidimensional technical expertise and the larger pest control space, which has been relatively untouched by digital innovation. Spotta’s expansion into the US specifically makes it an exciting time for the company and our partnership,” says Krishna K. Gupta, who is the CEO of REMUS and is joining the Spotta board. “We’re looking forward to working with them to deliver on their global vision.”

Tim Mills, managing partner of the Angel CoFund says: “The smart pest system that Spotta has developed is a great example of a product built to solve a specific, persistent problem very effectively. Not only is that the hallmark of some of the most successful startups but beginning in the narrow application is also where AI use has proven most successful to date. This approach has allowed it to quickly enjoy commercial success and expand into new markets, and we look forward to seeing the team scale the product into other applications with this funding.”

Main image credits: Spotta

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