Start-up of the month: Mothive – ensuring the world’s food and safety...

Start-up of the month: Mothive – ensuring the world’s food and safety with IoT

Start-up Q&A: Mothive - ensuring the world's food and safety with IoT
Start-up Q&A: Mothive - ensuring the world's food and safety with IoT

IoB spends five minutes with Angelo Monteiro, the managing director and co-founder of London-based start-up Mothive, to talk defence, agriculture and how the Internet of Things (IoT) might save the world.

What does Mothive do?

Mothive is a London-based technology start-up founded in March 2015 that designs hardware and software IoT solutions to collect environmental and situational awareness data from any location and transform it into knowledge to support customers with their decision making, trigger alerts and automatic responses.

Our patent-pending technology is specially designed for the agriculture and defense sectors and our devices monitor, in situ, many important parameters of crops, plants, soil and weather. Such data is key to predicting crop yields and diseases based on machine learning algorithms. Likewise, the same IoT platform disrupts the way ground Intel-gathering operations are carried out nowadays, as it’s the first to enable dismounted soldiers to quickly gather information from any location (e.g. tunnels, sewers, ventilation systems, indoors facilities, desert, forests) which naturally enhances their situational awareness and has the potential to save lives in life-threatening environments.

Who are you targeting?

We’re a B2B company and our target markets are agriculture and defence. In the first instance, our customers are farmers, growers and Agri companies. In defence, our customers will be mainly NATO Armies and security companies. 

Are there any pilot programs you can share?

We’re currently working with a €1bn ($1.04bn) wood and pulp company called Altri Florestal S.A. (trading on the Portuguese PSI 20 Index; listed on the Lisbon Stock Exchange) and we’re collecting air temperature, air humidity, soil moisture and irradiance levels throughout their industrial greenhouses to optimize the rooting process of their eucalyptus trees, and with that improve the rooting yield and customer’s revenue.

We have also secured a pilot project with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production company. The focus of the project is to monitor the crops to better predict yields and diseases in their production process.

In the defense sector, we signed a Collaboration Protocol with the Portuguese Army in April 2016 which allowed us to submit a project proposal in June. This was approved in November 2016 under official information DPF/RC-2016-009619 and the work starts in January 2017. In this project, we will directly cooperate with the Portuguese Army to develop an innovative ground-level ISR system aligned with the following high level requirements: unmanned 24/7 surveillance with instant threat detection and event characterization. This system will improve existing Security and Defence capabilities by providing soldiers with a precise and real-time location of a threat, hence increasing enemy and situational awareness.

How do your devices communicate?

Our bespoke devices are wireless and use emerging IoT technologies such as 6LoWPAN and MQTT. They form a MESH network and that enables them to speak to each other, so they do not require any third-party infrastructure (communications and power) to be operational, which leads to greater portability.

Where are your IoT products manufactured?

In terms of supply chain, Mothive has been working with NOA Labs, a German company with factories in Hong Kong, in the manufacturing of the PCB boards and cabling. As for box manufacturing, the UK-based company Isodo3D Ltd has been manufacturing our Agri-tech all-weather and nylon boxes.

In order to scale up we’re aware we need a turn-key product partner and we’re currently working on that. Moreover, due to the specifics of the defense sector, Mothive plans to partner with a Portuguese company for the manufacturing of the Defence product, including PCBs, boxes, cabling and final product testing, i.e. a turn-key product partnership.

How are you funded?

We’ve been bootstrapping so far, but we’re currently looking for private funding to scale up manufacturing, hire more human capital and invest in sales & marketing.

What are your future ambitions?

Our vision is to create a reputed company that develops novel sensing technologies to enable the creation of knowledge through uncharted data sources with the fundamental goal of ensuring the world’s food and safety.

Mothive will be at the forefront of a new era of agriculture, whereby farmers and growers rely on automation and enhanced understanding of food and plant production to optimize processes and generate superior outputs. We will also be a key provider of technology to keep soldiers and societies more secure by providing advanced situational awareness not yet available today.

Related: Breed Reply invests in four Internet of Things start-ups