PyTerra, a business initiative of Concepture Ltd, was formed in 2013 in response to increasing experience of water scarcity and flooding in the UK.
After identifying a gap in the market for integrated water resource management, the company began developing leading-edge geospatial data technology which allows the prioritising of water allocation to improve resilience risk for organisations with a high reliance on, or responsibility for, water.
As part of an innovation network to develop water solutions, founder and managing director David Arscott worked with environmental engineering consultancy partners WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to design a smart system for water allocation.
Supported by academic researchers at the University of Surrey and Imperial College London, the Cloud-based system can be applied to water trading platforms, sustainably matching buyers and sellers, as well as to control systems which optimise the management of freshwater networks in response to changing environmental conditions and changing demand for water.
Arscott said: “There is most certainly a gap to be filled in the market which finds a better way to make use of Natural Capital by using leading-edge data technology. Advancements in the use of satellite data, hydrological modelling and neural network optimisation now make it possible to deal with the complexities of natural systems to derive value for businesses and communities. But this has to be done sustainably, to protect and enhance biodiversity, and ethically, so that access to water is made available to all.”
In 2015, after a year and half of research, David was on the lookout for the necessary support and funding needed by a seed-stage technology start-up. He was directed towards the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub, which introduced him to an experienced business mentor who could help reinforce his business strategy.
David was put in touch with Enterprise M3 Growth Hub mentor or “growth champion”, Mel Redding, who is widely networked with key government senior stakeholders and external partners. Mel signposted David to the help of key industry contacts and funding partnerships and helped to identify and maximise available equity finance and grant schemes.
Mel was instrumental in providing consultancy support for PyTerra and introduced the business to the Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) at Harwell, a Government supported innovation cluster created to foster growth across the economy through the exploitation of satellite data.
Her assistance also included identifying key contacts within the Defence Infrastructure Organisation as well as across waste and food supply chains.
David added: “The support from Mel was very useful, with all leads and networking opportunities followed up. This has resulted in a partnership arrangement with a satellite data company at the SAC, forming part of a team under me which is bidding for an EU Horizon 2020 grant.
“Mel also helped to reinforce our next steps in financial aid by facilitating a peer review of the business plan with another Growth Champion who is an engineer by background but a specialist with finance applications.
“It was really useful to have an informed third party, such as Mel, come in and add valuable insight into the process while giving fresh ideas as to how we can better network.”