Optimising Agriculture

Rob Sanders and Colin Phillipson

Brought together by a mutual love of the countryside and all things tech, Rob Sanders and Colin Phillipson, the team behind Glas Data, set their stall out right from the off. 

Not content with simply launching a new business and developing an innovative product, the duo have their sights firmly set on leaving a lasting legacy and being the pioneers to revolutionise an entire industry. 

As part of the Launchpad programme they formed Glas Data, a business with the aim of creating a data collection app which offers easy data entry, clear data visualisation and simple data aggregation for small farm businesses through to multinational conglomerates. Their goal is to help people throughout the industry by empowering them to make better, more sustainable and more profitable decisions based upon the wealth of data they'll have at their fingertips. 

Like many of the best ideas, the origins of Glas Data came from finding a simple solution to a problem. 

"I taught myself how to program around about the same time my parents were looking for software to help them manage their farm," Rob says. "They were looking at different products on the market and they were either too expensive or too complicated to use. So I built something really simple for them. This was where the idea for Glas Data started." 

Rob knew his original idea, and the software he had built for his parents' farm, needed to be reinvented if he was going to have a viable product. Launchpad presented him with the opportunity to do this. 

"With Brexit, a rising population, growing concerns for the environment and more pressure being put on to farmers, the time is right for a product that puts everything together under one hood," Rob continues.

"The app we're creating pulls in countless different data streams, from animal weights through to soil quality, that will enable farmers to see if something's wrong, visualise it, then see what needs to be done to correct it to improve yields and performance." 

Colin adds: "Ultimately, we want to be able to offer advice back to the farmers based upon the data they've inputted. However, the software isn't just for farmers. The aim is to eventually become the data nexus for the entire food chain, from field to fork, working with food processors, large farming corporations, food vendors and ultimately through to the end consumer." 

Rob and Colin are working with research institutions and leading players in the agricultural industry to push the boundaries of what's possible when harnessing the power of advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence. Glas Data is attracting interest from around the globe and already has potential investors lining up. 

And, as Colin says, they're always working with the bigger picture in sight: "Our ultimate vision is to create a highly efficient, profitable and sustainable food industry, so that everyone, from the people who produce our food to end consumers, can benefit. By reassuring consumers and bolstering their confidence, from plough to plate, we want to complete the loop in responsible and sustainable food production." 

Date published: Friday 6 April 2018