With only one week left to apply for #CLP19 we ask last year's Scottish sensation, Crover founder Dr Lorenzo Conti, to share insights into their journey to the final and world-beating idea.
Dr Conti pitched against 135 cleantech start-ups to win third place in the ClimateLaunchpad Global Grand Final in Edinburgh in 2018, bagging € 2,500 and a place on the Climate-KIC Accelerator and becoming the top performing Scottish team in the competition ever.
What is your company and product all about, in a nutshell?
Crover has developed a remote probing device that moves about in grain stores to monitor the condition of grains. Customers pay a yearly license fee for the device and data analysis service.
Was there a lightbulb moment at the start? Describe it
When I started my PhD I wanted to invent something novel and significant – something that could change the world for the better. The ‘eureka!’ moment came when I took my head away from my usual research work. This is when I had the first idea for Crover’s technology. I later went to LAUNCH.ed for IP advice and they helped me change my mindset from researcher to entrepreneur.
What is the market you are targeting and sum up the opportunity?
Our market is mainly large scale grain traders and co-ops – producers that use large grain stores of about 1,000 tonnes of capacity. At the moment we’re focused on markets in Scotland – particularly malt and barley - and Europe, wheat for pasta in Italy, and Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany. But we have global aspirations.
Tell us about your background.
I am originally from Italy and came to Scotland to study, initially for my MEng and then PhD in Engineering, investigating the physics of how granular particles move – eventhough the PhD project was initially quite different, being an expert in the field led me to discovering granular locomotion, which is at the basis of the work we are doing at Crover.
Why did you apply for ClimateLaunchpad?
Crover reflects my desire to create a product that isn't just profitable but also has the highest impact on people's livelihood and the environment.
When I first heard about ClimateLaunchpad something clicked. I knew that we were on a similar mission.
What did you get out of the ClimateLaunchpad Boot Camp and training sessions?
The training forces you to look at your business in a different way so the benefits were massive for all of us. It helped me to define my business model and is very customer orientated from the get-go. This is what sets it apart from other entrepreneur schemes.
During the whole path to the Grand Final we discovered a fantastic community of people and projects with similar goals, which makes me more optimistic about the future.
The support and training from ClimateLaunchpad, ECCI and the University of Edinburgh has helped me and others here in Scotland develop into the leaders we need to be in order to achieve our climate ambitions.
We'll keep working hard and making Scotland proud!
Could you follow in Crover's footsteps and make Scotland proud again at #CLP19? If you’ve got an idea with positive climate impacts and the potential to go stratospheric, submit your idea by Tuesday 13 August.
To enter the competition, budding inventors and entrepreneurs simply have to submit an idea or innovation that is tacking climate change.
Those selected to join ClimateLaunchpad will get dedicated support to fast track their idea into a business, overcome challenges and secure funding.
After taking part in a Boot Camp at ECCI and coaching sessions to develop their idea into a rock-solid business plan, participants will get the chance to pitch this idea during the Scotland Final, also hosted by ECCI, later this year.
The top three winners of each national competition will go on to compete in the worldwide Grand Final in Amsterdam with prize money of up to €10,000 for the overall winner.