The team of Matthew Huck and Richard Hawkes from Wairarapa have been progressing well with their business Sensee since pitching at the NZTE Agribusiness Investment showcase in March.
We spoke with CEO Matthew Huck about where the company is now, eight months on from finishing the accelerator.
Since completing the accelerator the Sensee team have turned their prototype into a production run of 100 sensors, all mass produced here in New Zealand. They’ve sold 35 sensors and completed two installations on Kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty.
These two customers are paid trials and the results are looking very promising. “One orchard has had good performance from the sensors but the other one had a hardware failure so we had to send replacements,” commented Matthew.
“Overall it’s going reasonably well. We’ve learnt a lot about maintaining quality vs cost and what people’s expectations are of the results. It was obvious with the hardware fail in one of the trials that saving on costs compromised on the quality - lesson learnt! The data the customers are gathering from our sensors is proving to be the main driver of interest and sales. It really excites the customers, which is creating more demand for our products.”
The team have managed to get certification for operating radios in NZ, which is no easy feat. This has allowed them to keep moving their product roadmap forward.
Word of mouth is working well to gain awareness in the industry for Sensee's product. They’re also following up leads from Landcorp.
It’s a slow process.
However, Landcorp want to establish a relationship with Sensee, it's just a matter of working out what this looks like.
Now they can show the value their product offers customers, the company is hoping there might be some more interest in investment, which will also allow them to pull together an Advisory Board.
Matthew said "We're planning to revisit the concept of value pricing and work out the pricing model for commercial purposes. Once this is in place we can talk to those who seriously want to look at using the product."
The Kiwifruit industry presents the biggest opportunity at present. However, there has been another opportunity identified in pack houses.
"The reason we switched from livestock farmers to Kiwifruit was because there was more money attached to the Kiwifruit opportunity. Going back to the livestock enterprises is still something we want to pursue."
The Kiwifruit industry currently have the money to be able to purchase the product. They also had an easy problem to solve and it wasn’t too far from the product Sensee already had.
As Sensee continue on their product roadmap execution journey, we can expect to see significant progress by this time next year. Watch this space.