CLIMATE-tech innovators in York are expecting to launch the first version of their product from Spring.

AgriSound, a start-up specialising in ecosystems management and beekeeping technology, has developed a low-cost sensor which monitors insect activity by detecting specific sound signatures by insect wingbeats.

The company has produced the first version of the product, ready to be available shortly, with a grant from Innovate UK, an agency celebrating young entrepreneurs.

The sensor can listen out to insect activity within a garden or field and send the data back to a web app for analysis to help support targeting of wildflowers or new habitats to benefit biodiversity.

Initially, the business focused on sensors to support beekeeping but has since expanded its product range to include monitors for wild pollinators.

Pollination is crucial to maintaining healthy ecosystems by encouraging natural biodiversity, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere (from increased plant growth) and ensuring food has the optimum level of nutrients.

For farmers, ensuring that pollinators are in the right place at the right time is important and can, in some cases, double fruit yields.

Founder Casey Woodward said: “Our latest product is our Poly device which is essentially an in-field insect counter, and it’s just launched for pre-orders for commercial use, with product shipping in March.

"We’re currently trialling the product with some exciting names, including Innocent Drinks and National Trust Scotland.”

Casey has also been building relationships with the international agri-food sector, putting York on the map, having recently presented work in collaboration with National Trust Scotland in relation to its Poly devices at COP26 in Glasgow.

AgriSound also featured on BBC’s The One Show earlier this year when successful entrepreneur and Dragon Deborah Meaden offered her advice to the start-up.

AgriSound joined York Biotech Campus in early 2021, where it is expanding its operation.

It is seeking more investment to continue its growth.

Casey said: “We’re in the middle of a major fundraise which will enable us to scale up our manufacturing and build our sales and marketing team to help deploy our technology worldwide.

"This will see us raise £1m from private investors, with the ambition to grow the team to 20 people over the next 12 months. This will help us to manage all the interest we have in our technology from businesses and individual gardeners. We’re really enthusiastic about our future.”

AgriSound has also received funding from Anglia by Capital Group, whose members support companies by sharing their own capital, personal experience and knowledge.

An AGC spokesman said: “Environmental sustainability is proving to be a big motivator for investment across the Anglia Capital Group membership base. We were delighted that AgriSound were able to secure funding from our members."

Casey said:“We’re really excited for the year ahead. We are working with our partners to bring automated insect monitoring technologies to farms across the UK to help to ensure that we protect our pollinator communities whilst producing high-quality food.

"Support from Anglia Capital Group has been great to help us to prepare for the upcoming season and grow the business."

Helen Withers, AGC member and investor in AgriSound, said: “Their mission to interpret the sounds of nature to help farmers and growers to maintain an optimal pollination environment is both worthwhile and in line with the increasing global focus on sustainability and biodiversity.”

AgriSound is looking forward to continuing to grow at its home YBC.

“The management team at YBC have always been very accommodating to us," said Casey. "The support has been incredible, especially as we started our journey so recently. The best thing about being based here is the site’s reputation for being one of the leading places to work in agri-food research in the UK, which makes us well placed to continue to thrive and expand globally.”