Tech start-up Crover competes for $1m in global Chivas event

An Edinburgh agritech start-up will compete for a share of a seven-figure prize after winning the Scottish final of the Chivas Venture.

Crover founder Lorenzo Conti (second from left) wants to change the world for the better. Picture: Contributed
Crover founder Lorenzo Conti (second from left) wants to change the world for the better. Picture: Contributed

Crover, which has developed a remote probing device for the monitoring of cereal grains stored in bulk, will go head-to-head with 26 start-ups from around the world to pitch for $1 million (£770,000) in “no-strings” funding.

Chivas Venture is an annual global competition run by the Scotch whisky producer which awards funding to social businesses that blend profit and purpose.

Crover, a University of Edinburgh spin-out has designed and created a small robotic device capable of moving within bulk-stored grains to monitor their conditions, with the aim of reducing waste and saving grain stock each year.

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    Founder Lorenzo Conti is now preparing to embark on the “journey of a lifetime” to showcase his business and pitch on a global scale.

    'Changing the world for the better'

    In the run-up to the competition’s global final in June, the 27 social entrepreneurs will travel to London to take part in a three-day accelerator programme providing exposure to experts and industry professionals, as well as a range of networking opportunities.

    The entrepreneurs will also engage in one-on-one coaching sessions to finetune their pitches ahead of the final.

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    Conti said: “When I started my PhD, I wanted to invent something novel and significant – something that could change the world for the better. I’m so grateful that the Chivas Venture is giving me this opportunity to represent Scotland and bring my vision to life.”

    The start up last year scooped £10,000 at the Scottish Edge Awards, recognised in the Wild Card category.

    Chivas Venture has awarded a total of $5m to social businesses since its launch in 2014.

    Last year’s winner Javier Larragoiti, founder of Mexico-based Xilinat, which converts agricultural waste into a natural, low-calorie substitute for sugar, said: “Taking part in the Chivas Venture has been an unbelievable and life-changing experience for me and my business.

    “The competition has provided Xilinat with a global platform and the funding to change the course of the sugar industry forever.”