Backed by institutional capital and family offices, Weedingtech could be ‘in champagne territory’ should the EU turn against glyphosate, says its chief executive.
Weedingtech, a UK-based company launched five years ago, has received a cash injection from mining mogul Peter Hambro.
The investment brings the company’s shareholder tally to 50, and puts Hambro in the company of fellow business figures Roman Abramovic, Jon Moulton and Ben Goldsmith. Weedingtech’s valuation now stands at between £10 million ($13 million; €11 million) and £15 million, up from £7.7 million earlier this year, chief executive Leo de Montaignac told Agri Investor.
The company had completed a $3.3 million fundraising round last December, at which point Calculus Capital, a London-based private equity firm, became Weedingtech’s largest shareholder with a stake of around 30 percent.
Weedingtech sells herbicide-free solutions to get rid of unwanted weeds based on hot water and natural foam, providing the kit and the product to consumers. It started by supplying municipalities in the UK, and has since expanded to mainland Europe, Canada and the US.
The idea is based on a simple belief: that glyphosate – a chemical used in herbicides decried by environmentalists – has a “limited shelf life,” de Montaignac said. The group’s prospects could yet improve further, he reckons. The EU is currently debating whether to renew the licence of glyphosate, and could cave in to pressure from the component’s critics.
“We’ll be in champagne territory if that happens,” de Montaignac said. “The trajectory of the business would change hugely, and it would be wonderful.”
But even without a regulatory shift, he believes Weedingtech addresses a large market. The company is currently eying the horticultural and domestic markets; it just signed a contract with Italy’s highway operator to help kill unwanted weeds along the roads. It could also start targeting the railway sector, where wild vegetation is often a thorny problem.
“One of the wonderful things about weeds is that they grow all over the world. They never stop,” de Montaignac observed.