Diversification strong in this year’s Sprout cohort

In early September our Selection Committee came together in Palmerston North to interview 22 shortlisted applicants, of which eight were chosen for this years programme.

We had a range of applications from multiple sectors with the majority of ideas focusing on Operations, Supply Chain & Logistics software followed by Robotics and Automation.

There is still a heavy focus from applicants on solutions for the dairy and apiculture industries, which is a representation of the value these sectors are currently bringing to our Primary Industries.

Applications were received from around the world, with nine coming from international entrepreneurs, and the Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury and Wellington/Wairarapa regions having the greatest number of national applicants.

Applicants by sector


It is really heartening to see an increase in women entrepreneurs becoming involved in agritech, with this years cohort having 50% of its co-founders as females, compared to only 10% for the 2015/16 programme.

Meet our 2016/17 cohort

 Mike Barton, Kelsea Morrow, Fan Zhang

Company Name: HelixID
Sector: Animal Management
Product Type: Sensors & IoT
Location: Waikato & Bay of Plenty
Team: Mike Barton, Kelsea Morrow, Fan Zhang

Advancements in technology are providing new opportunities for farmers to understand more about their animals. HelixID is developing a product to revolutionise animal husbandry and improve the return farmers get from their investment in animals.

 Glen McLoughlin. Absent: Jason Corden

Company Name: JAG Developments
Sector: Apiculture
Product Type: Animal Health
Location: Waikato
Team: Glen McLoughlin, Jason Corden

The bee population is under increasing pressure from pest and disease. It is a challenge for Beekeepers to protect their bees while maintaining the quality of the honey that is produced.  JAG Developments is developing a range of treatments for Beekeepers to protect their colonies while maintaining quality of the honey they produce.

 Shandy Gibbs, Marty Fry. Absent: Nick Eaton

Company Name: Ceratech
Product Type: Hive hardware
Location: North Auckland
Sector: Apiculture
Team: Shandy Gibbs, Marty Fry, Nick Eaton

Ceratech is completely rethinking and redesigning the way Beekeepers and processors harvest their honey. The revolutionary system they're designing could generate tens of millions of dollars in increased harvested honey for export.

 Tony Perthaner, Mike Seawright, Denis Packer

Company Name: Rapid Animalside Diagnostics Ltd
Product Type: Animal Diagnostics
Location: Manawatu/Hawke's Bay/Rangitikei
Sector: Dairy
Team: Mike Seawright, Denis Packer, Tony Perthaner

RADL is commercialising science that is a step change in animal side diagnostics. The first product will be for detection of mastitis in cattle. However, the technology has application in detection of a range of diseases and infections.

Company Name: Elastic Green
Product Type: Crop Health
Location: Wellington
Sector: Horticulture
Team: Keith Morgan and Robby Lopez

Elastic Green is developing a range of spray products that have applications in horticulture and agriculture.   

 Marijke Currie, James Currie

Company Name: FTek
Product Type: Robotics
Location: Auckland
Sector: Horticulture
Team: James, Mark & Marijke Currie

FTek is developing a range of automated and robotic systems for improving efficiency and accuracy of indoor growing around the world.  FTek already have product in the market and are seeking to unlock the next stage of growth for the business. 

 Grant Rogers, Tim Booker

Company Name: How2
Product Type: Software
Location: Tasmania
Sector: General
Team: Grant Rogers and Tim Booker

How2 is disrupting how farm workers troubleshoot common problems found on a farm. How2 aims to free up workers and managers time by putting more knowledge into the palm of their hand while out on the farm.

 Stu Taylor, Neriah Broughton, Mark Easton

Company Name: Tribal
Sector: General Primary Industries
Location: Manawatu/Rangitikei
Product Type: Cloud based software
Team: Neriah Broughton, Stu Taylor, Mark Easton

On farm compliance is becoming increasingly important for governance of farming operations.  Tribal is developing software that will provide peace of mind for directors as they carry the responsibility for compliance in a range of business areas.


The teams now head to Queenstown in November, Hamilton in January and Christchurch in February to attend a further three block courses.