On Wednesday 20 July, WA company AgriStart hosted the 2022 Agtech Innovation Showcase, which drew the interest of several agtech companies, industry bodies, investors, experts, and government representatives.
The event was led by AgriStart, who initiated the 2022 HARVEST Agtech Accelerator and WA Agtech Meetups, and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Agrifutures.
The showcase was the pinnacle of WA’s leading agtech business development program HARVEST, which featured seven start-ups with new innovations this year, including:
- Technol, technology to identify and manage fires in valuable farming assets.
- S5, user-friendly, non-invasive energy harvested sensors.
- Agriweiss, wireless sensors to work deep in soil.
- Nork Solutions, an innovation to recycle tonnes of food manufacturers’ by-products profitably.
- Eden Towers, indoor metropolitan vertical farms
- Whole, tech for cost-effective, large-scale, non-chemical processing production of plant-based ingredients and flavours.
- Hemp Squared, a fire and termite resistant product that sequesters carbon from the atmosphere.
The program is designed to aid WA agtech startup companies in the development of their skills to commercialise their products, improve their pitching skills to potential investors, and provide access to capital and new markets.
Member of Agricultural Region and representative for the state government Ms Shelley Payne introduced the showcase and emphasised the importance of HARVEST for the agtech sector.
“Innovation and change are needed to address the issues we are facing in the agriculture industry, and this is a driver of the government’s support for initiatives such as the HARVEST Agtech Accelerator,” she says.
A panel was also held consisting of two successful WA agtech business founders, Living Farm’s Frank D’Emden and Swan Systems’ Tim Hyde.
Mr Hyde gave insights into the journey that led him to raise $3 million in a Pre-Series A round, saying it was not an easy process and requires consistent focus to ensure success.
“The venture capitalists don’t want to see anyone else but you, so it must be founder led, it’s nothing other than rolling up your sleeves up and making it happen.”
Mr D’Emden says startups need to prioritise its target audience and spend a fair amount of time with their customers.
“You have to do the hard yards, particularly if you don’t come from an agricultural background, to understand what it is they need, so the user driven development is the key.”
The evening ended off with a series of pitches by the startups from HARVEST 2022 and visits to their booths to increase networking opportunities.
The recorded livestream is available via this link.