Ag Tech News

Agtech startups Boosting Harvest in Australia

Australian technology companies have made their mark in the business-to-business market, with the likes of Atlassian, Aconex and Wisetech Global turning heads globally but there are other sectors that could yet blossom.

Adelaide-based agtech betaworks Availer’s co-founder Andrew Grant says that Australia is on an upward trajectory in terms of joining the dots between high-quality research coming out of the universities, the generational knowledge on the ground and technology entrepreneurs.

“This is a market that has been relatively untapped, especially when you see some of the other sectors and the funding going into them, and has been sitting there waiting there for entrepreneurs and the technology to come along,” he said.

Founded in 2016 by Grant and Remo Carbone, Availer is helping start-ups by commercialising research and working with agtech start-ups to understand and cater to the needs of the broader agriculture sector.

“Our model is process-driven and from day one our approach is to engage with industry participants, understand their pain points and see what solutions are out there.

“The start-ups we co-build share common factors: they solve a global industry problem, have groundbreaking IP from research, have co-created product with industry partners,” he adds.

Recent research on the sector has shown a 29 per cent increase globally in year-over-year funding. However, seed stage funding has dropped by 27 per cent in 2017, along with a 28 per cent decline in the number of companies funded.

According to Grant, the data highlights the opportunity Australia has in making a mark at a global level, because as overall seed funding starts to dry up globally it gives Australian businesses a better chance to leverage their natural advantages.

Globally 2017 has been an interesting year for agtech with capital starting to flow into more mature late-stage concepts. Rounds valued at over $US25 million accounted for 61 per cent of all 2017 venture capital invested through to August 25. However, betaworks like Availer and specialist accelerators have a big role to play. One such food and agtech accelerator, based in Orange in NSW, is SparkLabs Cultiv8, which is part of the broader South Korean start-up accelerator SparkLabs.

Cultiv8 MD Guy Hudson said that there was a lot more to agtech than sensors and analytics.


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