Meet the Founders: Agovor

Over 2 million combustion tractors are sold globally every year. With the Paris Agreement goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and increasing labour shortages, one Sprout Accelerator Autumn24 cohort member believes it is time to break the mould of the horticulture sector.

Meet the Founders, Richard Beaumont and Simon Carroll. Their mission is to increase global productivity and reduce the impact on the planet by transforming how farmers tackle tasks between the rows in the vineyard, orchard, and beyond.

Enter Agovor, a venture with an autonomous mini tractor that can tow equipment for spraying, mowing, data collection, and scouting—or be customised as a farmer sees fit. They are one of the 12 teams taking part in the Sprout Accelerator Autumn24 cohort.

When the global pandemic and the 2020 lockdown struck, Richard's commercial nursery staff spiralled from 35 to 5. 

"I found myself weeding up and down the acres of rows and thinking, 'There has to be a better way of doing things. '" Richard reached out to Simon, an automation expert with over 15 years of experience. Together, they developed a product that would not only help Richard weed his nursery but could also be fully customised, meeting a variety of farmers' needs. 

Richard laughs as he recalls, "We didn't know we were going to develop a robot, but that's what we ended up getting in the end!"

The efficient and adaptable duo had a lot of fun designing Agovor. 

"Simon is an amazing automation engineer. He's really good at listening and understanding customer problems while delivering solutions with a great user experience." 

Prior to owning a commercial nursery, Richard spent ten years rowing competitively, building his focus and mental endurance capabilities. Moving into running a commercial nursery, he quickly learned the depths of the horticulture industry and the complexities of running a business. 

As a nursery owner, Richard understands the problems his Agovor customers face firsthand. Labour shortages, environmental pressures, technology affordability, and increased health and safety compliance, to name a few. Further compounded by the pressures to meet net zero emissions and feed the 10 billion by 2050, he recognises it can feel overwhelming.

"We feel we're part of the solution. I'm most excited when we bring our robot, GOVOR out to farmers for a 30-minute demonstration, but then we leave an hour later—simply because they start to see how we could really help them."

With products already on the market, Richard and Simon are preparing to do another demonstration tour with their latest attachment, an electric mower.

The team is excited to be working with Sprout to help them build industry connections, find early adopters, and navigate the investment space and landscape. 

"We are surprised that outdoor agritech, automation, and mechanisation are still in their infancy, as opposed to an indoor factory. We had a trip to America to see the technology there, and it's not mainstream. We really are in the early adoption phase."

Agovor stands at the forefront of automation in outdoor agritech. With an experienced passionate team, validated concept, a commercialised product and dedication to making a positive impact, Richard and Simon are poised for success in this space. 

About Sprout: Sprout Agritech LP is an early-stage investor specialising in transformational technologies that impact how life on Earth is nourished and sustained. Through their Sprout Accelerator, they have helped grow more than 110 early-stage ventures within the agri and food industries, which have collectively gone on to raise over $60m in capital.