Meet the team at Cropsy, one of the companies in our Cohort A, Leila, Ali, Winston, and Rory.
Cropsy are developing a vineyard management system that uses machine vision cameras to auto-detect pests, disease, help estimate yield, and general vineyard management practices to help reduce labour costs.
Leila (Product Officer), Ali (CEO), Winston (Head of AI) and Rory (CTO) are Cropsy's 4 co-founders.
All coming from tech backgrounds, the team has seen an opportunity in the viticulture industry to take their knowledge and do something new to revolutionise and move the industry forward. Noticing that there had been lots of attempts at automation in academia and in commercialisation but few success stories, the team figured out that growers were not prepared to take a leap of faith straight to robotics or pay for expensive equipment.
Their solution? Providing a stepping stone to reaching full automation by creating technology that kits out to existing equipment, such as tractors and vehicles.
However, the journey so far hasn't all been smooth. Cropsy's challenges along the way including changing their business model from a spray automation company as well as convincing the industry, worth an annual NZ$1.5 billion to the national economy, that new tech is the way to go.
A big question being "the customer chooses which tech can be the standard in the future, they choose the best one. How do we get them to take that risk with us?''
However, while they've been asking the hard questions, they're not wine-ing! The team is young, hungry, and talented, driven by a customer focus to produce affordable and easy to use technology that works and a desire to change the game.
This made possible by their team dynamic. Made up of different but complementary thinkers who have the same end vision and an adaptable attitude to getting there.
In five years time, the team wants to see big wine growers across New Zealand's 2032 vineyards adopting tech. With goals to have an international product within five years.
Additionally, the team has given themselves five years to partner with an automation master. Someone who has mastered robotics and needs that data analysis component Cropsy can provide.
More immediately, the team is looking to expand their software engineers and to employ a full-stack developer.