Company name changes seem to be a theme with last years’ cohort. This time it’s AgTract’s turn to rebrand.
When speaking with CEO Chris West we asked him why they moved away from the name AgTract to Hayload.
“It’s simple – we wanted to change to be attractive to wider markets. There are too many companies with 'Ag' names and to be completely different we looked for a name that targeted a wide range of markets but still allowed us to focus on our core market.”
This wasn’t the first change for the company in the seven months since finishing Sprout either.
In April one of the original team members decided his OE was calling so left for Europe just before the end of the programme. The team at Hayload weren’t defeated, in fact it allowed them to employee fresh, new talent for the business.
They now have six people working for the company; four developers managed by CTO James West, one sales person and CEO Chris West.
In June the company secured $500,000 in seed funding from Punakaiki Fund to help with the development and launch of the product in New Zealand. In an article written by Startup Daily Chris commented how it was an incredible show of faith by Punakaiki fund to invest in their start-up.
‘The fund is one of New Zealand’s highest performing so to have its weight behind us is worth far more than just the money,’ Chris said.
Chris Humphrey’s from Punakaiki Fund, who has experience in agricultural contracting, has joined Hayload’s Board of Directors.
Sales of the product have been going well for the Hayload team.
The company have users in Christchurch, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Taranaki and Waikato with the strongest areas of uptake being Canterbury and Taranaki.
There are approximately five users who make up a beta group for the company, trialling the new features of the product. The team are looking to select 3x that many users to become part of this group in the coming weeks, with the aim of covering all areas of NZ.
For the other users they're using the MVP for now.
Development is an ongoing challenge for the team. It’s the key driver in any tech business and is a constant hurdle for this team to jump. For the developers it’s a matter of keeping ahead of set dates. With the changes to the team it’s taken a little longer to reach the key milestones originally set in the development and business plan.
“It’s been a huge challenge for the team to stay on top of these dates.”
Constantly reviewing the business plan to ensure it’s on track has kept Chris on his toes. Up until three months ago he was quite happy to work by himself and now with the team growing he has had to stick to routines and keep them on track to ensure they’re achieving goals. Keeping them informed about what the company’s doing, what it’s spending on delivering the product and then managing people are all unique challenges for Chris. It's meant a huge amount of personal development in this short time.
It’s all part of the learning curve for this young team and with plenty on the horizon they’ve got a strong motivation to succeed.
The horizon for Hayload is an exciting one.
Within the next eight weeks, they’ve got a few key milestones to hit to ensure they’re ready for the next funding round.
They’ve been having several conversations with large agribusiness companies around potential partnerships for the future, hoping to cement a few in the New Year.
Looking at the short to medium term, they’ll continue to push sales in the NZ market. Based on these results the medium to long term goal is to look at new markets in Australia and Europe.
The development team will be kept busy during this time as well, with new product features planned for delivery in Feb/March 2017.
Even though they’ve had a few set-backs, this team is moving fast to get their product to market. There will be a few more late night’s ahead for this team as they continue to work towards hitting their planned milestones!