A startup looking to bring the abattoir to the farm gate has won top honours when the 2017 SproutX cohort took to the stage to deliver their pitches for the first time.
Eleven ag-tech entrepreneurs awoke to their name in the news this week, with SproutX revealing the line-up of start-ups accepted into its first accelerator program.
SproutX is Australia’s first agtech accelerator and is a partnership between the National Farmers’ Federation, financial services provider Findex, and RuralCo, Australia’s second largest ag retailer.
A highlight of the start-ups first week in the programme was a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition, held in Melbourne last night. The crowd of 300 agtech enthusiasts were joined by people from across Australia via live broadcast on the Stock and Land website.
After eleven polished (albeit nervous) pitches, the judging panel and crowd were asked to cast their vote - with both the people's choice and judges award going to Farmgate MSU. Farmgate MSU is a team including a farmer, vet, chef and educator looking to disrupt the red meat supply chain by slaughtering cattle on-farm in a mobile abattoir.
Other pitches included a direct-to-the-consumer flower-selling model, a system to improve irrigation efficiency and new monitoring systems for cattle growth and health tracking. All ideas showcased at these first pitches will now be further developed through the accelerator program.
Each member of the 11-string cohort will receive about $40,000 from SproutX in exchange for an 8% equity stake.
The six-month accelerator program focuses on financial modeling, marketing, legal and intellectual property issues distribution partnerships to help start-ups solve their biggest issue; getting their products into the hands of customers.
Start-ups will either be based at the accelerator’s co-working space in Melbourne or will be flown in every five weeks for a one-week intensive work session.
National Farmers’ Federation President and SproutX Board Member Fiona Simson said the unveiling of the first cohort was a milestone for the company and for Australian agtech in general.
“Under the leadership of SproutX General Manager Sam Trethewey, we have been working towards this day for two years.
“The application of new-technologies to agriculture has the potential to boost productivity and eanr efficiency gains for farmers – and in some industries significantly change the way business is done.”
Ms Simson said the challenge was turning sound ideas into reality.
“SproutX is breaking down these barriers, providing a leg up to start-ups who need mentoring and frankly, a cash injection, to take their idea to the next level.”
Start-ups also gain access to potential follow-on angel and later-stage venture capital funding of up to $1 million through the SproutX Venture Capital Fund.
The fund will provide follow-on funding for chosen start-ups alongside a network of external investors, expediting funding rounds and reducing pressure on start-up founders to spend time away from their core focus of growing their business.
Read on to learn more about each of the start-ups in the 2017 SproutX cohort and their ideas.