Plant science firm grows from ‘idea on back of envelope to actual business’ after boost

28th October 2018

A Rotherham start-up specialising in scientific apparatus for plant science research has turned their ‘idea on the back of an envelope into an actual business’ after accessing a regional business support programme.

Entrepreneurs Alexis Moschopoulos and Richard Banks have designed new smart plant growth chambers for plant science research, so that scientists can more reliably and precisely control their experiments. The idea came to Alexis after struggling for many years with poor quality growth chambers while conducting research in plant science.

The duo read about Y-Accelerator and saw it as an opportunity to make their business, Grobotic Systems, a reality.

Richard: “I had a phone call from Alexis and he said an opportunity to push our idea forward into a real thing, a real product had come along and we thought – why not?

“So we signed up for it and it helped turn an idea on the back of an envelope into an actual business.”

The Y-Accelerator programme offers the city region’s next business leaders the opportunity to benefit from a three-month intensive development programme featuring expert advice, mentor support and specialist workshops, as well as the chance to pitch to a panel of high-profile investors including Mercia Technologies, Angels Group, Jenton Group and UK Steel Enterprise.

The programme is delivered by a partnership of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and Sheffield Hallam University. It will be run by a team of highly experienced business specialists from across the private sector.

Alexis said: “It really helped us focus on our ideas and confirm our beliefs about our product and our target customers. Also, the training on developing a pitch was very good and very helpful for us to concisely pitch for investment on such a niche and complicated subject.”

Delivered through one-to-one and group sessions, tailored to meet the needs of every candidate, the Y-Accelerator programme’s network of advisors, mentors and businesses will provide insight and expertise.

The 12-week programme will run from November 2018 to February 2019 and include business modelling techniques, expert advice, mentors, specialist workshops, market research and individual support to help the ten chosen projects build a strong customer proposition and financial model as well as learn to effectively communicate the business value to customers and investors.

Alexis said: “We would recommend the Y-Accelerator programme because it really helps people to improve their business idea and explain in a clear, concise way what their business is about and to look for funding.

Amanda Parris, business growth manager for RiDO, said: “This is a programme like no other available. We want people who think differently, who we can work with to create a viable, scalable business and this is certainly the case with Alexis and Richard’s business.