Letts Group Launch New Greentech Venture

The family that invented the commercial diary 200 years ago have launched an ambitious new greentech venture called Letts Safari. Letts Safari was created to expedite the move to ‘renewable nature’, obtained through nature regeneration and surface-based carbon capture.

Bird of prey hunting at Letts Safari’s first safari park

Letts Safari harnesses the energy of the environmental movement and gives those involved actions to take beyond protest. It enables all people to do something about climate change. Members subscribe to a digital platform at LettsSafari.com that builds next generation safari parks – one tree, one animal, one new park at a time. Every 10 subscribers they plant a tree a year, every 100 subscribers they release a wild animal, and every 10,000 subscribers they will create a new, real-world safari park a year. Their first safari park is up and running in southwest England.

The Letts remind us of the threat of climate change. They explain that our soil and waterways are so damaged that they’re no longer able to absorb the carbon we produce. As a result emissions are trapped in the atmosphere creating pollution, violent storms, droughts, flooding and wildfire. We’re losing wildlife and plants faster than ever before.

Our first safari park is at Mamhead Park South. The next one is up to you.

Letts Safari offers a simple solution. They build rewilding safari parks that do something about climate change. The parks rapidly repair soil and waterways so they can absorb carbon dioxide, and ensure that trees and plants thrive naturally, providing habitats for wildlife.

When you subscribe to Letts Safari they plant trees, release wildlife and build new habitats. Each tree they plant removes 1 tonne of carbon dioxide during its life. They also remove carbon with scrub, wild grasses, wetland and bog.

Once they get enough subscribers they will create more eco safari parks – with their members – to make a bigger difference. Hopefully along the way members will get inspired to build a mini wildlife haven in their backyard, at work, school and in their community. They’ll share the secret source.

Land holders with 50+ acre parks can apply to join the Letts Safari network of parks. Approved parks will receive support and guidance from Letts Safari and its members. 

Subscribers to Letts Safari get a front row seat at the safari parks. With video footage, hidden cameras, wildlife photography and stories that transport them to the wild – online.

Specialist herbivores drive the forces of habitat regeneration

The Letts accidentally discovered rewilding in 2006 when they decided to create a small, wild space outside New York. They built an ecosystem of wild grasses, wildflower, shrub, scrub and trees on just a few acres. Before they knew it the wildlife started arriving. First insects, bugs and snakes. Then birds and mammals. A wasteland turned into a wildlife haven in just a couple of years.

They decided to do it again in a larger space. In 2014 they bought an old, run down 100 acre park and garden on the outskirts of Exeter, in the southwest of England. It was a mess. Today it’s a leading rewilding wildlife park. They created Letts Safari so they can share this fascinating new approach to ‘renewable nature’ and build many more safari parks. What they accidentally discovered back in 2006 is today called smaller-scale rewilding. If enough of us do enough of it, we can help fix the climate problem.

It looks like a fascinating new greentech offering – providing a mass market approach to rewilding with a digital, subscription economy wrapper. It could prove a timely new way for us to offset carbon and restore nature, while reducing emissions and rebuilding biodiversity. It’s well worth taking a look at.

You can subscribe to Letts Safari from £3.50 a month or £35 annually. Go to www.lettssafari.com.


Find out more about our climate projects at Letts Environment. You can also reach us on twitter.

Letts Group’s Incubator

Corporate incubators have been all the rage. Around 10 years ago, a number of corporates started to set up some kind of corporate incubator or accelerator to nurture new business lines and innovative products. They had a limited vision of ‘incubator’ – generally designed to host new startups within their facilities. They offered them resources, support and, as they matured, market access.

10 years later many of these corporates have scaled down their efforts or largely abandoned them. Corporate incubator 1.0 did not realise its somewhat loose ambition. A number of the more innovative corporates and a few management consultants are working on the next generation of corporate incubator.

Letts Group has taken a different approach. Our incubator is an internal function that is central to the organisation. It is our growth engine – period.

“We see our incubator as a strategic, internal, centralised function. We have repositioned the group as a ‘branded incubator group’ to underscore this. We don’t just make small bets on our incubator or outsource it’s core capability. We’ve bet the entire shop on our incubator. It is our core capability.”

The concept of incubator has been with us for 225 years. In 1996, our original founder, John Letts opened a stationery shop and publishing incubator in the city of London. The front rooms the shop and the back rooms the incubator studio. From this setup he launched the world’s first commercial diary in 1812. It was market tested exclusively in the store and designed and made in the back rooms.

Letts Group’s Chairman, Philip Letts, started to develop the latest generation incubator in 1998. It was a separate entity, called Prophete, that nurtured external, non-branded innovations. It developed concepts such as Beenz, the Web currency, and Surfkitchen, a mobile operating system and media platform. It was an important parallel initiative as we started the process of divesting some of our book publishing interests.

In 2007 we further developed Letts Group’s latest generation incubator, after initial successes. We built a proprietary incubation methodology, which is called Innov@te™, and we designed our first incubator studio with a clutch of then, very new, cloud systems and processes. From this base we launched b-uncut, a social network for artists and blur Group, an online marketplace for creative services. Both were successfully spun out and became independent businesses.

It took much of the last 10 years to perfect the methodology, systems and processes to get to the point where we felt comfortable that our incubator was ready to develop multiple Letts branded businesses and products from scratch – and in parallel.

At the end of 2020 we gave the go ahead for 3 new Letts branded ventures to go to ‘live concept phase’. The tech industry would call it ‘beta launch’. The first hits the market in June. We have engineered the group, and developed the incubator, to the point where we feel comfortable that we will be launching a new Letts venture per year, starting this year.

It’s taken us 20 years to get to this point but we believe that we might have a line on corporate incubator 2.0. The proof will be in the pudding – starting next month!

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest Letts Group news follow us on twitter.

Letts Group’s Incubator History and Methodology

In the 1990’s it became clear that the battle for the digital diary would be lost before we could go after it in any meaningful way. We were hemmed into paper based products.

The desk diary market was destined to get eroded by Microsoft with their windows PC’s and MS Office software, which included integrated diary features.

Soon after, Nokia and Motorola launched calendar features for their mobile phones which, over time, would erode the traditional pocket diary business.

It was a huge wake up call. How could we have dominated the diary market for 175 years only to watch these upstart technology companies out innovate us?

For the Letts family it began the process of gradually divesting of paper based products so we could focus on a new, diversified group and a digital future. The seed of the future Letts Group was born.

We made a promise to ourselves that we would not get out innovated again. But how could we guarantee that? We had a hunch that it would not be enough just to focus on digital media and publishing. It came to us in a possible moment of madness that we should build a private incubator to help us develop our various ideas and turn the right ones into profitable products and services. A repetitive process that would be the engine of this new diversified group.

In the late 1990’s we started to experiment with what ultimately become Letts Incubate. We understood early on that we would need an incubator methodology to ensure that we could develop new products and businesses in a scalable and process-driven way.

We were also interested in the idea of incubating businesses and products that we could spin off and sell. Some carrying the Letts brand and some that were not Letts branded (which we call partner companies).

As a long standing family business we understood the constraints of many private, family controlled businesses. Access to capital is more limited which works for certain kinds of businesses and markets, but not for all.

Our incubator would need to be world class and one that could create and nurture a range of different ideas. So we designed a methodology calle Innov@te™. It took us a decade to complete the work as we wanted to develop it while we were also nurturing the early fruits of the nascent incubator. So we could road test the process.

Innov@te™ has come a long way. It has 7 key stages and 49 steps. Our manual is over 50 pages long and is constantly evolving. The 7 stages include:

  • Creativity
  • @HA Idea
  • Concept
  • Market Entry
  • Market Development
  • Market Dominance
  • Exit

We use it whenever we incubate a new Letts branded idea or a partner company. We have incubated quite a number of partner companies in the last twenty years.

Today, we also use Innov@te™ to help leading corporates develop a more effective approach to innovation and we recently established an incubation centre in the southwest of England.

We offer a newsletter, called Surviving, which helps business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to navigate the future. Subscribers to Surviving can also tap into the team and our panel of experts.

If you would like to find out more, go to Letts Incubate.


Keep up to date with the latest Letts Group news – follow us on twitter @LettsGroup.

Welcome To Our New Website

We are excited to launch the Letts Group’s brand new website.

We opted for a clean, minimal look with a Buzzard soaring as the main image to support our new strapline ‘a brighter future’.

We wanted the website to look as fresh and fluid as when we first started. Even though we have been around for 250 years, for us, this is a new beginning.

The Letts Group is about tradition, quality, innovation and change.

John Letts invented the commercial diary in 1816. Today we are a branded incubator group run by the Letts family and focused on media, the environment and the arts.

We hope you can join us for the next leg of the journey.

You may want to sign up to our blog and follow us @LettsGroup.