I’m excited to announce REMUS’ first deal. We’ve co-led a $1.18M seed round in Spotta, a Cambridge, UK-based company using smart IoT devices, AI, and chemistry to preventatively detect various pests, starting with bed bugs and bugs occurring in forests. Founded by a couple rebels from Cambridge University, Spotta’s technology and science has never before been applied in the pest management industry. I’ll be joining the board, after getting to know the team over the past 3 years, and my London colleague Marc will partner closely with me. This is one more representation of our commitment to the Cambridge ecosystem.
I first met founders Robert and Neil in 2017, when I was taking introductory coffee meetings on the Cambridge campus. Even back then, a couple things about them stood out to me:
- The founders had been working together for a decade, starting with their time as engineering students at Cambridge, and had decided to take a very non-traditional post-university path by setting up their own consulting business. Both were technically sound and had built a solid partnership tested over many years.
- The founders have a specialized expertise around low-power devices: functional applications that can operate with a battery for long periods of time. Their consulting business enabled them to work on a variety of such applications, which exposed them to technical corner cases and an intuitive understanding well beyond nearly anyone in the world. They wrote to me “we are experienced product developers and we’ve decided that the time is right to…develop our own products.” I love when technical founders feel ready to build products based on technology they know very well and market needs they’ve uncovered along the way.
When I first met the Spotta team, they were deliberating about which pest market(s) and industries to pursue initially. What they already had, though, was the hunger to build something large. Since then, I’ve enjoyed getting to know them better, including a memorable walk through Hyde Park with Robert, where I better understood his vision for the company.
Spotta’s vision is to be a platform that merges its sensors X software expertise with the latest chemistry to tackle an industry that hasn’t evolved for decades. Indoors and outdoors, pests are an increasing nuisance and health risk to customers. They are also becoming increasingly resistant to existing pesticides used to repel or eliminate them. The pest control industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars globally, and if Spotta is successful in capturing the monitoring and prevention part of the value chain alone, it can become a massive business.
Spotta leverages the promising opportunity at the intersection of sensors X software that is increasingly pervasive across industries. Passive monitoring is a powerful way for businesses to gather data and intervene “real-time,” preventing negative outcomes for customers and enabling them to optimize existing processes.
The company’s first applications – for bed bugs and forestry – offer compelling and contrasting opportunities to fine-tune its technology on real problems in the real world. Pest problems are plentiful; for instance, bed bug infestations have grown 4500% over the past two decades, and forest pests are eating away at hundreds of millions of dollars every year. For an early seed-stage company, Spotta has made great strides in getting its technology to the point where it can create measurable value for real customers.
Marc and I are excited about partnering with Spotta at this stage to help build the platform. We are starting by helping them hire a commercial lead and think through US market entry strategy. We are looking forward to a deep collaboration over the next decade!