Q: What’s your view on the agritech scene in New Zealand?
A: I believe NZ has the opportunity to be a world leader in the agritech space. We have a remarkable amount of innovation in New Zealand. New Zealand can perform quite well on the world stage as we have the ideas, and the drive, we’re just lacking capital and consumer insight.
Q: Where do you think agritech will have the biggest impact in NZ’s Primary Industries?
A: We’re following a lot of overseas trends, so it’s about big data and the collection of information, particularly using innovations such as sensors and drones. Where it will make the biggest impact is around the ability for the user to understand situations better by understanding how to analyse the data to make improved decisions.
"It’ll make life a lot easier."
If you look at current agritech, such as auto steer in tractors, it’s about creating more accuracy in agricultural applications, therefore reducing costs (i.e labour, product loss or wastage) and environmental footprint. We’re already seeing a lot of agritech in the animal health sector through automation, so the benefits for our Industry will be across the board.
Q: What’s AGMARDT’s involvement in agritech nationally and internationally?
A: We’re predominantly a seed funder of innovation here in NZ. We fund people who have bright ideas, those who need to validate them or create prototypes to attract commercial funding and/or are working in the space of testing and validating the idea to see if it’s going to fly. We only fund New Zealand people or companies in the agricultural, horticultural or forestry sectors, and support many innovations to the point they can be globalised. We also offer a lot of support for research institutes and universities and the ideas coming out of them.
“In general, it’s about understanding what the consumer wants and applying design thinking to that idea that will produce value to that customer. AGMARDT seed funding is about helping people develop their ideas so they can get them off paper into prototypes - the early stage of design thinking.”
Q: Share some words of advice for:
- Farmers in relation to the adoption of agritech
- Agritech entrepreneurs who are trying to solve a problem
A1: It’s really important to have a good understanding of what’s already in the market and what’s already available to solve a problem you have on farm. Depending on what your requirements are, there are a lot of solutions, so you need to take the time to work out which one is right for you. Everyone is different to a certain extent so you need to ensure the product you choose is actually going to solve you problem and add value to your business.
A2: It’s really important for you to ensure you can demonstrate the value to your customers. Adoption will only happen if you can show this value to your customer and potential customer base.
Q: Why did AGMARDT join the Sprout Corporate Partner family?
A: One of our strategic objectives is to enable innovative solutions right across the agri-value chain. Our key vision is enabling transformational innovation. We see that once ideas have been proven or prototyped there is a lack of knowledge and capital available to help fund and take ideas to next level. An accelerator like Sprout helps provide this knowledge and expertise and if we want to be in this space, it’s important for us to be involved with Sprout to support ideas in the future. We are seriously focused on innovation in agribusiness, so this wasn’t a new area for us.
"Being able to collaborate with Sprout and the Sprout family of supporters enables AGMARDT to contribute more effectively in this space than what we could do alone."
It's AGMARDT's inaugural year partnering with Sprout. Thank you for joining the family Malcolm and team.