Barclays announced the launch of a dedicated agri-tech team, focused on supporting UK start-ups to connect with the farming community and boost innovation. Last year was a record year for financing in agri-tech, with more than £1.5 billion invested in the sector according to PitchBook. The UK agri-tech industry contributes £14.3 billion to the British economy and employs 500,000 people.
Today’s appointments signal the bank’s intention to further support innovation in the UK’s farming sector and to ensure new technology, products and services boost growth.
Led by Craig Sigley, the new agri-tech team will be split regionally and will include regional relationship managers: Paul Hazzard (South Wales & South West), Dave Pruden (North), Lizzie Asplin (South East), George Sigley (Midlands and North Wales) and Karl Blagg (East).
Each relationship manager brings a wealth of expertise to their new role in understanding exactly what farmers look for from emerging players in the sector as well as supporting agri-tech companies with their business growth plans.
Barclays already has a strong roster of agri-tech clients, including Agrivi and Well Cow. Agrivi’s software helps farmers to manage and monitor crop production, while Well Cow has developed a device that can detect digestive problems in cattle and improve their welfare.
Mark Suthern, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said: “Agri-tech is thriving in the UK and future innovations are likely to help address many of the issues that the farming industry faces today.
We’ve been supporting farmers for over 300 years, and we know that introducing the latest cutting-edge technology to our clients has the power to make a real positive impact, driving productivity and improving profitability.
“Technology has already transformed the way some of our customers farm, for example, using drones to survey land and track livestock, robotic fruit-picking machines and sensors that monitor poultry.
“Our new dedicated agri-tech team is ideally placed to help start-ups scale and grow and connect them with the farming community.”
The launch of the Barclays agri-tech team sees the appointment of the following:
Craig Sigley, National Lead for Agri-Tech
Craig has worked for Barclays for over 30 years, the last ten being in the agricultural sector. Craig is a professional agriculturalist and chairs the Lincolnshire
branch of the Institute of Agricultural Management. Previously he created and managed the Barclays UK Energy and Environment Team.
Paul Hazzard, Agri-Tech Agricultural Manager – South Wales and South West
Paul joined the Barclays Agricultural Team in 1996. He has 14 years’ experience as an Agricultural Relationship Manager and has extensive expertise in helping clients to grow and lead thriving businesses.
Lizzie Asplin, Agri-Tech Agricultural Manager – South East
Lizzie joined Barclays in 2011 and quickly followed her passions in farming. She is personally very interested and involved in the industry, as she and her partner currently farm around 600 acres in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Dave Pruden, Agri-Tech Agricultural Manager – North
Dave has been with Barclays for the past decade and has expertise in financing businesses and a personal passion for helping to grow companies. He will oversee the Northern region in his new role on the agri-tech team.
George Sigley, Agri-Tech Agricultural Manager – Midlands and North Wales
George previously worked as a start-up specialist advisor in Scotland and the North West region before joining the Barclays Agriculture team. He is renowned for helping clients access the finance needed to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Karl Blagg, Agri-Tech Agricultural Manager – East
Karl has recently worked as a Relationship Manager, looking after a portfolio of 120 agricultural clients in the Eastern region. He has extensive experience in the farming industry and has spent the past 17 years with Barclays.