TechNoL Pty Ltd focuses on the development of unique fire monitoring and suppression system for large vehicles. Our new technology AgriGard has been developed and trialed on combine harvesters (headers) and proved to be a sector leading product with features such as smoke detection, communications, cloud-based management system fully electronic and uses a aerosols as the suppressant.
WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR THE HARVEST PROGRAM?
As a startup we felt that HARVEST program offered a number of invaluable opportunities such as introduction to new and relevant networks and learning the risks and opportunities for a start-up. We felt technically competent but required more of the business building knowledge and expertise.
WHAT WAS THE MAIN CHALLENGE YOU WERE FACING IN YOUR BUSINESS BEFORE HARVEST?
Increasing our knowledge about grants, intellectual property and business advice. And finding networks – we were in a bubble and needed to reachout.
HOW DID THE HARVEST PROGRAM HELP ADDRESS THIS CHALLENGE?
Hearing the experiences and learning from speakers and facilitators at the HARVEST masterclasses. I’ve done many management courses before but HARVEST is very different in that it provided practical insights. The program matched us to a very knowledgeable mentor Simon Foley from AgWorld who provided excellent feedback about farming, agricultural markets, and seasonality. Our business plan was modified in response to this. the networking and introductions have been invaluable, with new relationships formed with potential customers, investors, distributors, and experts provided support.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN BENEFITS YOU GOT OUT OF THE PROGRAM? BOTH FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND YOU PERSONALLY?
The main benefits were learning how to generate and deliver a succinct and relevant pitch to investors, business planning and financial management skills and the networking. the biggest single benefit we were given was the resources to develop a clear vision and pathway forward for the business, and to formalise and document this to know where we are as a business and where we want to go.
HARVEST provided a discussion group, now part of the larger HARVEST alumni, that continues to provide advice and support. The external networking has led to a significant funding application and increased our IP knowledge. And personally, a wider business network, and the knowledge gained from the powerful mentoring I received.
FAVOURITE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU RECEIVED DURING THE HARVEST PROGRAM?
To get your boots dirty! To get our there to the farms and meet the growers, see them in action and try to understand their challenges – this has accelerated the development of my product from what I thought the farmers wanted, to a product that they needed.
ANY MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS TO YOUR BUSINESS DURING HARVEST?
Certainly, a completely revised business plan and routes to market. We have updated our IP portfolio, and submitted an application for a substantial Accelerating Commercialisation grant with a project valued at $600,000. In the last 3 months TechNoL has received 16 requests for fitting AgriGard systems for the forthcoming harvest.
WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHLIGHT DURING HARVEST?
The highlight was the opportunity to go out into the field and be introduced to and speak with growers. The field trip gave us a whole new perspective on grower challenges. We understand that farmers are very time poor and it was such a privilege to see first hand the issues that they deal with and need solutions for.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
We plan on having a national product launch in Quarter 3, 2023. In the meantime having 20 demonstrators for the forthcoming harvest season will provide the opportunity to refine the products, build business capacity and capability. The future looks brighter with HARVEST – we are no longer alone.
Thank you to our HARVEST 5 Premier Partner Grains Research and Development Corporation.
HARVEST is made possible by the generous support of Grains Research and Development Corporation, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation through the New Industries Fund – X-Tend WA Program, AgriFutures Australia, CSBP, Agworld, Wrays | Intellectual Property, nbn® Australia, and RLG