“With our product, we have the user in mind, we focus on what the farmer actually needs and wants”.
Here we chat with founder Liam Kampshof about where the idea for Bovonic came from, what sets them apart from the competition and where he sees the company in five years time.
Bovonic is one of the start-ups taking part in our three month Sprout 2021 Accelerator, in the Cohort B intake.
Q. Liam, give us your 30 second pitch - what does Bovonic actually do?
Bovonic develops dairy technology, aimed at ‘every farmer’. Our product QuadSense detects mastitis in cows, and is the first automated inline mastitis detector that is compatible with any existing milking shed - the product is simple to use at a really accessible price.
Q. Where did the idea for Bovonic come from?
I grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato, which gave me a good understanding of farming and the dairy sector. I then went off to University to study medical engineering, and spent some time in London, developing medical devices. Throughout this time I learnt a lot about diagnostics and detecting disease.
I came back to New Zealand at the end of 2020, and decided to do something that combined these two experiences - disease detection, but for the dairy industry.
I did some research and found that mastitis is the biggest disease plaguing the dairy industry right now, and that current detection options are fairly limited for farmers, because they’re often complex and expensive.
That’s where the idea for Bovonic was born.
Q. Tell us about the people behind Bovonic - who makes up your team?
Currently I'm the only full-time team member, splitting my time across all aspects of the business - product development, project management, customer development, etc.
We've expanded our technical team by bringing on Gary Campbell. Gary brings a wealth of experience as a design engineer, previously working at Giltrap Engineering and Scion, the Crown Research Institute. With him on board, we’ve been accelerating the development of QuadSense to be accurate, easy to use, and ‘cow-proof’.
On the business development and capital raising side, we are lucky to have Alex McCall as a key advisor. Alex is an Edmund Hillary Fellow with five years early stage venture experience and was most recently a Special Projects Lead at Halter.
Q. What sets Bovonic apart from the competition?
While we’re definitely not the only ones offering mastitis detection devices, I believe we’re the only ones who are focused on what the farmer actually wants and needs. And that’s what sets us apart.
The other devices on the market are complex and expensive, with farmers often needing to refit their whole milking shed to install them. With our product, we have the user in mind, we focus on what the farmer actually needs and wants, and what works best for them in the shed.
Another key point of difference with QuadSense is that it doesn’t need technicians to install it, it can be purchased in-store and easily installed by the farmer.
Q. What stage of product development are you at?
We finished our first 'proof-of-concept' prototype in April, which proved that the concept could work, but it was fragile, bulky, and difficult to use and manufacture. Since then we have been developing a mass-producible, 'cow-proof' prototype (waterproof, able to resist mechanical impacts like kicks, easy to use for the farmer) to be deployed onto trial farms in early October.
Q. What are your future plans for Bovonic? Where do you see the company in five years?
There are around 11,000 dairy farms in New Zealand, so our first goal is to validate our product here in the New Zealand market.
From there we'll look to global markets. There are about 250 million milking cows around the world, and we think we could really target the EU, the US and obviously, Australia.
Looking at the bigger picture, what we really want to do is revolutionise how farmers control and defeat disease in dairy cows. We want to develop QuadSense into more than just a device, but a diagnostic platform that is incorporated into all milking sheds around the world - the platform would detect and monitor not just mastitis, but a whole range of diseases.
Sprout is looking for start-ups with a disruptive idea in AgTech or FoodTech to join us for our 2022 Accelerator intake. Think you have what it takes?
Find out more about our Sprout Accelerator.