Central Hawke's Bay Software company AgRecord, a Sprout & BCC mentored start-up, has secured investment to assist it with its New Zealand growth. The investors are Dannevirke businessman Peter Clayton and Craig Boyden, directors of For Farms (NZ Ltd) plus Peter also has farming interests.
Gretchen King (nee Bunny) came to the Sprout team in November 2014 seeking advice in business growth and investment, having launched Cloud Farmer earlier that year.
After working on the business plan with Gretchen, it was evident she required three core areas of support: capital, a sales channel and a team. To start the process of identifying the right partners Gretchen was invited to pitch at the 2015 NZTE Agribusiness Showcase. While the showcase didn’t result in the identification of investors itself, the Sprout team worked closely with Gretchen to keep up the momentum and identified a potential strategic investor.
Over the subsequent six months, Gretchen and the Sprout team built a relationship with Peter and Craig, and developed a win/win term sheet for all parties. The agreement includes that the AgRecord business get the technology to a scalable stage; a sales team to put the product in front of customers and a team of experienced business partners, who can work with Gretchen on the growth of the business.
“AgRecord has a strong base of influential farmers across New Zealand and has just started working with some influential users overseas as well,” Gretchen says.
“Until now growth has been organic and mainly driven by recommendations from current users to other farmers. The investment in the business will enable the company to develop a world class mobile platform for collecting data while out the back of the farm, regardless of reception. The information collected will then feed directly into the main Cloud Farmer system. Like the core system, the app has been specifically designed with the needs of farmers first, with an emphasis on simplicity and usability. We have the proven product, now we can fast track our growth.”
The next generation software known as Cloud Farmer was released in 2014 by AgRecord, which is owned by Porangahau farmers Gretchen and Leyton King. Cloud Farmer helps farmers and their staff share, organise and collect information about their farming operation and be more efficient.
Pages on Cloud Farmer include weekly planner, farm diary, stock records, health and safety, chemical inventory, rainfall and many others. The system encourages best practice and has been particularly popular for assisting with compliance requirements.
Gretchen and Leyton are farming a 1000ha sheep and beef property near Porangahau. Cloud Farmer was designed as a way to get rid of the inefficiencies within the day to day operations of sheep and beef farming practices while better allocating staff and resources.