Acorn bots team
Colin Herbert (Founder, Director)
Colin Herbert BSc(Hons), MSc, is a unique person with a broad range of business, process and technical skills. After applying to Medical School, he then trained as a Biologist.
For nearly 20 years in the Agrochemical industry, he followed Agronomy and Marketing roles culminating in senior-level, international collaboration positions including managing a team of 98 staff spread in 15 countries.
With specialised training, he then followed another 20-year career and is established as a technically competent, but business-focused, high-level Project/Change Manager. He has worked in a range of industries, latterly pharmaceuticals advising on company structure for Clinical Trials.
He is qualified beyond degree level, is entrepreneurial in spirit, thrives on change and enjoys a challenge. He hits the ground running, is delivery focused and makes a difference. Colin has visited 34 countries, living in several, logged over 1,700 commercial flights whilst working and helped over 30 companies.
He is married to Julie and lives in rural Suffolk, England with 2 older children. He is published in science and local history, enjoys old building restoration and is a qualified helicopter pilot.
“Farm profitability is the basis of sustainability in food production, but to achieve it let’s not just automate what we do now. Let’s fundamentally change our focus, from fields to plants, to meet the opportunities provided by robotics, AI and Big Data. Acorn bots will bring about that change.”
James Foster-Clarke (Founder, Director)
James, being brought up on the family farm in Suffolk has gained a wealth of experiences in both animal and plant husbandry.
After spending 3 years studying agriculture and engineering at Shuttleworth College, part of Cranfield University, he joined the family farm to spearhead the diversification plan into animal bedding products.
At the same time James furthered his education by enrolling on a DMS in Business, then an MBA at the University of East Anglia, gaining a distinction in both. These qualifications together with his entrepreneurial spirit helped James, over the past 20 years, to build a successful business in which he has designed and built several prototype machines and products.
His work has resulted in 3 patents and 5 innovation awards in areas including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles field spectral imagery and plant spectrometry.
James has extensive experience in running companies and excels at engineering and marketing. Working within agriculture and agribiz throughout his career, James has built a wealth of contacts which will be important in the development of Acorn bots.
James lives in the Waveney Valley with his wife, Stephanie and his two daughters who are both vegetarian and aspiring artists. He enjoys running and teaching street defence to children and adults holding five black belts in Martial Arts and self-defence disciplines.
“I believe that Agritech robotics and AI technology has the potential to increase food productivity to feed the world’s population while also benefiting and caring for the worlds environment and climate.”
Gloria Vargas (Chief Financial Officer)
Gloria has 25 years’ experience in investment banking, working at Smith Barney, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and as an independent consultant.
In her path at the big IB’s Gloria evolved from foreign exchange options trader to Managing Director responsible for the development of the structured debt business line for France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
Gloria has done consulting work in the Middle East, the United States, Europe and Bolivia in acquisitions, company structuring, fundraising, structured notes issuance and corporate credit ratings.
Gloria has a BS degree in Economics and a BA in French from George Mason University as well as a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird and an MBA from ESADE.
“Over the last 50 years, the farm machinery industry has focused on efficiency rather than innovation. Today's increasing world pressure for sustainable solutions makes this industry ripe for disruption."