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Warwickshire’s RootWave scales up with Coventry Uni support

The Business Magazine article image for: Warwickshire’s RootWave scales up with Coventry Uni support
21 March 2023

RootWave, a Warwickshire-based company using electricity to kill weeds, is getting ready to go to market following support from Coventry University.

The company’s solution uses an electric current to heat up the roots of weeds and kill them, cutting out the need for conventional herbicides which have a high carbon footprint and can damage the environment.

The idea was first thought up by Andy’s father who has a PhD in electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Mike Diprose, in the 1970s, however the procedure was considerably more expensive at the time.

Andy then picked and up developed the idea into a startup, having initial success with the handheld RootWave Pro, which controls unwanted plants in parks and gardens both in the UK and on the continent.

Coventry University helped RootWave earn grants worth more than £30,000 to refine its hand-weeder products and purchase software to help it design systems for larger-scale weed control.

Andy said: “There are so many reasons why an alternative system of weed control is needed today.

“For example, weeds are becoming more resistant to herbicides through overuse, governments are recognising the harm that herbicides can cause, and consumers are also choosier about the provenance of their food, so the business case for farmers to switch is also stronger than ever.

“It’s been great to see how effective our hand-weeders have been in controlling Japanese knotweed – a notoriously persistent weed – across many parks and gardens in the UK and Europe, which has given us a great base to build on.”

Read more - Warwickshire’s Hilo EV set to unveil AI-powered safer electric scooter

Continued advice on scaling its products and accessing grant money from the university has seen RootWave expand its staff to 41 employees and develop a larger scale system for farming set to launch later this year.

The system is attached to the back of a tractor which drives between crops and has metal contacts which ‘zap’ any weeds growing near to vines or trees.

Andy added: “The initial support and the grants awarded to us through Coventry University were a hugely significant part of our growth as a company. All start-ups need money, so it was fantastic that they recognised our potential.

“The launch of our new system for orchards and vineyards will be an exciting new chapter for RootWave and we’re really positive about the future.”

Catherine Colby-Johnson, Business Delivery Manager at Coventry University, said: “When we first met Andy and heard about RootWave, it was clear it was an ambitious idea with a lot of promise. We encouraged Andy to apply for grant money in different pots and guided him through the application processes.

“It’s fantastic to see how much RootWave has grown and that it is close to launching its system for large scale agriculture.

“We’d encourage similar innovative start-ups to get in touch to see if they can benefit from our support.”

Read more - Coventry online tech business celebrates new staff and rise in turnover

Sam is the Regional Editor of Biz News, responsible for both Hampshire and Dorset.

A new recruit to journalism, Sam started writing for the Business Magazine as a freelancer in May of 2022 after completing his degree in English at University College London. His passion for local businesses and ability to tell a story soon caught the attention of the publication’s management team and have led to his meteoric rise.

Sam, who lives in central Reading, takes a particular interest in technology, gaming and food and drink, having been a chef before starting his degree.

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