UK agtech firm Deep Planet sets up HQ in Australia’s wine capital

17 December 2021

Deep Planet has set up its Australian headquarters in Adelaide, South Australia. The UK agtech firm will have access to the state’s renowned wineries, skilled workforce and research institutions that specialise in its key technologies. 

A home in Australia’s wine capital

Deep Planet’s VineSignal platform monitors vineyards at scale. The platform helps growers and viticulturists to manage vine health, predict grape maturity and forecast yield. It can also be used to optimise irrigation scheduling and identify problem areas. 

As the historic heart of Australian wine, South Australia is the ideal home for Deep Planet. The state is home to renowned regions and wineries and some of the country’s oldest vines. 

‘We commercially launched our VineSignal platform in Australia last season,’ says Sushma Shankar, Deep Planet’s CEO. ‘We saw an exceptional level of uptake of our technology. This has given us the confidence to make this investment into South Australia.’ 

Leveraging Australia’s space and machine learning expertise

Deep Planet’s platform is built on satellite imagery, computer vision and machine learning. South Australia has a thriving technology sector with research institutions and experts in these areas. 

The state is home to the Australian Institute for Machine Learning and the Australian Space Agency. There is also a skilled workforce from which Deep Planet can find local staff. 

‘The South Australian Government clearly demonstrated the skills and knowledge across the space, machine learning and wine sectors that we can leverage, making it a natural fit for us,’ says Shankar.

VineSignal_DeepPlanet

Government support

Deep Planet received support from the South Australian Landing Pad to set up its HQ. This program supports companies making their first investment in Australia or South Australia. The company’s investment must help stimulate the local economy, create jobs and grow new industries. 

Deep Planet also received help from Austrade. The agency worked with Innovate UK EDGE on its Global Business Innovation Program to Australia. Austrade organised for Deep Planet to attend the evokeAG2020 conference in Australia as part of a UK delegation. evokeAG2020 is the premier agrifood event in the Asia Pacific region. 

Austrade also connected Deep Planet with a variety of Australian organisations, delivered a pre-departure briefing and facilitated introductions to state governments. These activities accelerated Deep Planet’s investment journey into Australia. 

‘Innovate UK EDGE is proud to support companies such as Deep Planet and celebrate their continued successes in Australia,’ says Bradley Rowley, Global Innovation Programmes Manager, Innovate UK EDGE. ‘Sushma and the team took full advantage of the opportunities presented through the Global Business Innovation Programme. With support from Innovate UK EDGE, Deep Planet is now reaping the rewards. We look forward to building on our relationship with Austrade and others. Together, we can help UK companies to explore the opportunities in the Australian market. This will help build partnerships and collaborations for the benefit of both countries.’ 

My colleagues and I in the South Australian Department for Trade and Investment were glad to provide ongoing support to Deep Planet. This includes site visits in Australia and the UK, follow-up information and advice, introductions to specialist industry consultants like Matthew Moate, and guidance on applications,’ says Henry Lawton, Investment Director for the Government of South Australia. 

‘This collaboration will further enrich South Australia’s booming tech and innovation ecosystem. It is already having a positive financial impact for South Australian grape growers large and small. It is a win for this key South Australian export to the UK too, as growers can optimise their production.’

Jennifer Mackinlay, Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner at Austrade UK, says: ‘Our Austrade team was pleased to facilitate vital connections with institutions and state governments for Deep Planet in Australia. We were also pleased to work alongside Innovate UK to help UK firms explore exciting business opportunities in Australia. This is a fantastic example of how Australian and UK businesses, governments and institutions can collaborate to future-proof traditional industries. Together we can build a sustainable, resilient future with innovative technology.’ 

Potential benefits of a new Australia-UK FTA

Deep Planet sees the Australia-UK FTA as a key opportunity to ease mobility of their staff and increase collaboration on R&D, which will help grow their business in Australia.

‘An example of this is the opportunity we see in environmental conservation with global cross-border collaboration of soil carbon baselining for the wine industry,’ says Shankar.

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