Agtech visit plants seeds for future innovation

29 Jun 2017

Austrade hosted leading agriculture and food technology early stage investors, Cultivian Sandbox, and Finistere Ventures, in a visit which showcased investment opportunities in Australia’s agtech innovation. From 11 to 16 June the two companies visited Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to scope the agtech ecosystem in Australia through engagement with new and emerging agtech companies, and potential investment partners.

The program also included centres of excellence, universities and research institutions, and industry leaders, such as CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia, and Horticulture Innovation Australia.

In attendance were Ron Meeusen, Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox, and Spencer Maughan, Partner of Finistere Ventures. They were joined in part by representatives from AgFunder, Bayer CropScience, Robert Bosch Australia, Hitachi Australia, Mitsubishi Australia, Mitsui & Co. Australia, Rabobank, and Simplot.

Attendees were impressed with the high calibre of Australian agtech solutions.

‘Australian innovation in the agtech space is a real stand out,’ said Meeusen. ‘Australian researchers are developing robotics technology that I didn’t think I’d see for another ten or fifteen years.’

Maughan said he considers Australia to be ‘one of the five centres of agtech innovation globally.’

Highlights from the visit included pitch sessions in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with Australian agtech startups, also joined by local co-investors and accelerators. The sessions demonstrated Australia’s strength in developing robust and globally scalable agtech solutions, and highlighted opportunities to commercialise Australian agtech R&D.

Ron Meeusen also spoke at the Australian Farm Institute’s Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture 2017 conference in Melbourne.

Australia’s agtech industry is predicted to become a $100 billion industry by 2030, according to the 2016 Powering Growth: Realising the potential of agtech for Australia report.