Hotel bed bug tech secures $1.18m

UK: Spotta’s smart pest system has raised $1.18 million in seed funding from investors including Martlet Capital, Wren Capital and the Angel CoFund.

Representatives of Cambridge Angels and REMUS, a US-based venture capital firm, will join Spotta’s board as part of the investment deal.

Spotta will use the new funding to hire talent, launch two new products, and enter into new international markets beyond its current presence in the UK, the US and Europe. Spotta aims to grow rapidly to support this expansion and continue its innovative use of AI and Internet of Things (IoT) to offer an accessible technological solution for pest detection.

Spotta created its Bed Pod monitoring device to help hoteliers identify bed bugs before they strike. The technology works through a combination of physical monitoring tech, namely through lured traps which bring in bugs, and monitoring software which identifies the pest. This allows hoteliers to catch infestations early.

Since February 2019, the Pods have been installed in hotels throughout 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. 

In addition to its Bed Pod product, Spotta is working with a forest management organisation to develop an outdoor pest monitoring solution.

Robert Fryers, CEO at Spotta, said: “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.”

“We are at an exciting intersection of AI, environmental sustainability and IoT,” continued 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.”

Paul Anson, lead investor from the Cambridge Angels, said: “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,” said Krishna K. Gupta, CEO of REMUS. “Spotta’s expansion into the US specifically makes it an exciting time for the company and our partnership. We’re looking forward to working with them to deliver on their global vision.”

Tim Mills, managing partner of the Angel CoFund, added: “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 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.”

Based in the United Kingdom in Cambridge, Spotta commercialised its first product in 2019 and has been recognised by the US-based Fast Company magazine as one of the AI and Data World Changing Ideas for 2020. UK Cleaning Services and Support Association (CSSA) also nominated Spotta as a finalist in the Innovation Showcase 2020.

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