Enterprise

Interview with an Entrepreneur: Phytoponics

Cardiff University Graduate, Adam Dixon, shares his entrepreneurial success story with us…

Phytoponics Logo

 

Adam graduated from Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University in 2015, and since then has taken the plunge and started his own business. We met up with him so that he could tell us more about his business.

Tell us about your business and what you do?

Phytoponics is a community interest company that makes innovative hydroponic agriculture technology to disrupt the state of global agriculture towards more socially and environmentally sustainable means. Our first product, the Hydrosac (pictured below), is a low cost hydroponics grow bag that is easy to use. We want farmers worldwide to switch hydroponics and the Hydrosac is designed to facilitate this through low cost, ease of use and adaptability.

Hydrosac

What influenced your decision to start your own business?

I (Adam) have always been a radical, not content with the status quo, and I saw the best chance of putting my ideas into practice as launching a start-up. I like growing exotic plants and I like agriculture, so Hydroponics has always captivated me due to the control, productivity and precision engineering of growing a plant – you can grow giants and fine tune their characteristics to what you want. So seeing opportunity, Phytoponics is a vessel for me to put my ideas into practice, make a living and deliver social good at the same time. For me it is the ultimate freedom.

What were the initial challenges you faced and how where you able to overcome them?

The learning barrier is intense – the science and business practice has developed to very high levels. You need to be switched on and open to learning and putting in many hours reading and researching to make good decisions, especially at a young age. Past this, securing finance was and is our hardest barrier, we just got a start-up loan thankfully so we can pay for production and get our products made and sold.

Getting production is also hard – creating partnerships, ensuring quality and getting value for money takes a solid approach. My fundamental way of overcoming these challenges is exposing myself to as much change as possible through networking events, reading and visits – without this it is easy to get stuck in a rut and not find a way out – I have seen it a lot of times with myself and others. 

What advice do you have for Cardiff University students wishing to start up their own business or venture?

You can share and test your idea before you put money into it, code a program, model a design, test a minimum viable prototype and most importantly talk to your potential customers to get their input. By doing this, you will have covered a lot of bases without needing cash. Time is your most valuable input over all else. Attend as many events as possible and travel for more – try for 3 a week if possible – networking and experience drives learning, business connections and creativity.

What are your future goals?

My goal is to deliver strong change to the agricultural sector through cutting edge technology and I will do this any way I can through innovative products. Within the next 3 months my aim is to get small scale production started and secure the next line of finance. My goal in the next 6 months is to launch the Hydrosac as first product.

Phytoponics 1

Green with Envy?

Learn more about Phytoponics.

An update on Adam as of October 2017…

After winning Cardiff University’s Enterprise and Start-up’s SPARK competition in May 2017, Phytoponics has been a growing success and will be competing in the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Find out more here.

Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful? Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.  To help us aid more of your fellow students please re-tweet or share this post by using the share buttons or via Twitter and Facebook.

 

Best wishes,
Adam, Cardiff University Graduate.

Adam Dixon

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Comments

  • Henry

    Fascinating stuff and congratulations to Adam for identifying his passion and the innovative mindset to spot a niche and jump in.

    I’m interested in the hydroponics ‘bag’ idea but wondered how the draining effect at the core of the hydroponic system works?

    Cold you enlighten me, or at least point me in the right direction for an answer?

    This is a fascinating development that could make a big different in certain harsh environments.

  • Russell

    This is a really captivating story! I completely agree that it is essential to look into prototyping. Making sure your idea or product does fulfill a customers need before devoting large amounts of time or money to it is also essential.

    How is the project getting on now? Has there been any update?

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