(Article credit: EvokeAg)
The Startup Network is set to ensure Australian founders remain focused on farmers’ needs as they ride the digital driven agritech boom.
Nine Australian agritech startups have been selected for the Startup Network, an educational program created by evokeAG. and Innovation Cluster/AgriStart aimed at fostering the growth of Australia’s agrifood startups and strengthening links with producers to support the adoption of new technologies.
The successful participants are:
· Jack Travers of TruckTracker
· Lucy Anderton of myFARMSMART
· Dr Daniel Pelliccia of Rubens Technologies
· Nick Seymour of Farmo (WaterRat)
· Rob Johnson of Agtecnic
· Stewart McConachy of iTRAK
· Hamish Munro of Pairtree
· Rob Kelly of LIVEstock Pricing
· Lisa Anderson of Thinkbio
The participating founders will go head-to-head at the Startup Network’s Showcase pitch event, followed by an exclusive networking dinner with growers, investors and industry professionals, held in the heart of the Riverina, Wagga Wagga, the home of AgriFutures Australia, on Tuesday, 20 July 2021.
In the lead up to the premier event, the founders will receive access to exclusive webinars, one-on-one mentorship from industry experts, attend a face-to-face pitchcraft workshop and a half-day producer technology uptake workshop to learn more from the grower’s perspective.
All participants will receive a bursary of up to $1,000 for flights and accommodation to attend the events in Wagga Wagga in July, along with being featured in the evokeAG. Startup Directory, and promoted on evokeag.com.
The top three candidates – as judged by farmers and growers – will benefit from a professionally produced pitch video, filmed on-farm, giving them the opportunity to showcase their product and explain how it can benefit their customers.
If you are a farmer, industry professional or investor who would like to attend the Startup Network Producer Workshop, Pitch Showcase and Networking Dinner. Register for your tickets for the Startup Network Producer Workshop, Pitch and Networking Dinner here.
Ensuring Australia gets ahead of the digital agtech revolution curve
AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said, “Over the last five years or so there’s been an explosion in tech all over the world driven by developments in digital technology. We’re seeing a blossoming of things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote sensing, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, which are all impacting global society generally and agriculture specifically.”
John said it is critical that our farmers and agricultural industries get early access to those technologies and get the benefits from early adoption. “Often the people who understand technology come from other sectors with little or no links to agriculture. We hope the Startup Network will link these bright young people, who understand technology, up with farmers so they understand the pain points and problems their customers have that require solving.
“Developing a solution and then going in search of a problem is not useful – and risks dissipating their energy and enthusiasm to the point they go off into and develop their careers in other sectors. We do not want that. We want them in agriculture. We want to make sure that they are doing things that are productive, hence, the focus on linking up startups with farmers.”
Focused on animal welfare while boosting producer efficiency
Jack Travers is the Founder of TruckTracker, a mobile and web app that tracks the location of trucks when carrying livestock, and shares the data in real-time with the buyer and seller to better manage livestock movements through the supply chain.
“It’s traceability technology, designed to bring greater efficiency to our industry by improving transparency, streamlining communication and enhancing animal welfare with real-time reporting systems.”
Jack was involved in the evokeAG. Pitch in the Paddock at Beef Week 2021 and while there, was encouraged to apply for the Startup Network. “Pitch in the Paddock was a great experience. I wanted to continue to develop my skills further in that area – and the opportunity to be pitch and be mentored by industry experts is all very exciting.”
Business analysis tool allows farmers to ask, “What if?”
MyFARMSMART is a business analysis tool for farmers and their advisors focused on Western Australian farming systems. Founder Lucy Anderton said, “To expand my market I would need to take it to the East Coast, as Western Australia is a very small market for what I’m doing with broadacre farming. But myFARMSMART is applicable to any mixed farming enterprise across Australia but it requires adaptation.”
“I am really interested in getting the chance to talk to farmers on the East Coast to see if they see the value and the potential in it. That will help me understand where to invest in the product in future.”
Tackling the complexities of on-farm tech usability
Both Jack and Lucy believe Australian agritech has an incredibly bright future, but are concerned about complexity, albeit from different angles.
According to Jack, “Ease of use is probably the most important thing [about agritech]. The level of people’s technology abilities is wide ranging within agriculture. So, it’s really important to have something that’s easy to use, and not overcomplicated. Technology also has to solve a problem and have a tangible benefit. It’s such a tangible industry, agriculture, it’s really important for someone to be able to see the direct benefits of technology.”
Lucy is concerned about the complexity of decision making for farmers. “There is a bit of tech fatigue happening with farmers, there’s a lot out there for them to consider. Farms are really complex businesses, and it’s quite overwhelming working out how to get the biggest bang for your buck, to solve the problems you want to solve. There are obviously commonalities between farms but developing a product that solves enough specific problems so you can get real traction and scale up is a challenge for both sides of the industry.”