Published: 14 December 2020

Spotlight on Mantle Labs

Mantle Labs is a leading new space remote sensing company providing digital agriculture solutions related to crop monitoring.

“New space” is a term that reflects a move away from the state-run monopoly to private actors now playing key roles in the space sector. The barriers of entry to space have been lowered and a more agile and independent private sector, with innovation at its heart, is making a significant impact. Research feeds innovation, so these new space companies are natural partners to universities.

The University of Surrey is part of a successful SPRINT (Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to the University for Surrey’s space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies. It was this though this funding vehicle that Mantel Labs and Surrey rapidly set-up a project.

The project will create an accurate soil moisture measurement at field level which will be used by Mantle Labs to create a soil moisture-based drought insurance product. The soil moisture information generated on field level will be integrated in the Mantle Labs existing insurance platform, which is currently used by for pricing policy premiums, underwriting, index creation, and claims settlement.

Their platform ‘Geobotanics’ is used by banks, insurance, crop protection, agri-commodity companies and farmers across the world. $20 Billion worth of portfolio decisions were passed through Geobotanics in 2019.

Mantle labs were formed 5 years ago by serial technology business entrepreneurs and a leading professor in remote sensing. Through a background in markets as broad as edu-tech and banking, the founders developed an offering in the EO-based agri-fin tech domain led by AI. Their USP being the creation of a crop monitoring platform capable of providing a daily update with zero interference from clouds. This is thanks to its proprietary algorithms combining optical and microwave data and a powerful AI engine.

Surrey will always look to partner with new space pioneers, bringing as they do a dynamism and real-world challenge to our research.

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