The Sprout agritech accelerator programme received more than 60 applications for its inaugural year.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of entrants in Sprout’s first year. It not only highlights how entrepreneurial Kiwis are but also the demand for support to help agritech start-ups grow and lay the foundations for International growth,” says Bell-Booth.
At the heart of Sprout’s ethos is the pillar of community. We see great advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurs to work remotely, in their home patch, while participating in the five-month programme. This allows regional economic groups to work alongside the entrepreneurs, as well as the Sprout team, to help develop their idea, business model and as individuals. By doing this, entrepreneurs are contributing to the development of their communities.
With this ethos in mind our Selection Committee come from varying communities across the country, both geographically and across different sectors - all with an interest in growing New Zealand's agritech community. Each brought a unique view and value to the programme.
Sprout Cohort 2015/2016
Our eight companies in no particular order are:
- Bee'z Thingz: Juian McCurdy & Peter Bennett, Mangere. Bee’z Thingz is using Internet of Things technology to develop products for Apiary Managers and Beekeepers to remotely monitor the yield and health of their beehives, straight from their smart device.
- Logic Labs: Matthew & Tayah Ryan, Tauranga. Founded by a leading orchard manager from the Bay of Plenty, Logic Labs is developing software for advanced crop estimation and orchard management.
- Agtract: James & Chris West, New Plymouth. AgTract is developing a software system to make agricultural contractors lives more efficient by automating the business management tasks that take time away from a contractor’s workday.
- Sensee: Matthew Huck & Richard Hawkes, Wairarapa. Sensee is making farm monitoring cost effective for all farmers through an easy to use interface on smart devices. Sensee will enable farmers to plug and play with on farm sensors for everything from water, power, crop health and animal wellbeing.
- Nature Matters Milk Company: Glen Herud, Rangiora. This team has developed a business model that allows small-scale dairy farms to sell directly to trade and consumer channels in local metropolitan populations.
- Health & Safety App: Steven Bird, Ashburton. On-farm health and safety is a growing issue in New Zealand. The Health and Safety app is taking the place of the easy to use, farmer focused health and safety app.
- Dairy Max: Ane Visser, Manawatu. A feed budgeting software developed by an expert animal nutritionist. Dairy Max algorithm has been developed and refined over eight years and is already being distributed by feed companies in Europe.
- Agritrack: Andrew Humphries & Tom Rivett, Dunedin. Large-scale row crop farmers face a range of logistical challenges during harvest time. Agritrack has developed a product, already used by over 30 farmers in Western Australia.
The eight entrepreneurs behind the start-ups have received a cash investment of $20,000 and have begun a five-month accelerator programme, which is remotely delivered and which has seen them flown around the country to Palmerston North, Ashburton and then on to Hamilton and Invercargill, for mentoring from world-class business and technical experts.