Agribusiness Investment Showcase startups vie for investment

Previous companies showcased have been Rockit the tiny apple taking Asia by storm. Here, Phil Alison of Rockit Apples is ...
JOHN COWPLAND

Previous companies showcased have been Rockit the tiny apple taking Asia by storm. Here, Phil Alison of Rockit Apples is pictured with the product.

Agri-entrepreneurs are being given the chance to take part in a form of investment speed dating this week.

Instead of having to make separate pitches to up to 50 institutional or angel investors, startup businesses can make their case for why they might be the next best thing in one room at one time.

The New Zealand Agribusiness Investment Showcase takes place this Thursday as part of a slew of events across the Manawatu region, and sponsored by the ASB and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

Looks like chicken, tastes like chicken - but it's actually an 'analogue meat' produced from pea protein by ...

Looks like chicken, tastes like chicken - but it's actually an 'analogue meat' produced from pea protein by Auckland-based start-up Sunfed Meats which convinced investors last year to back them.

Participants are looking not just for financial capital but for the benefits capital can bring – such as access to new export markets, global supply chains and knowledge.

READ MORE: Agribusiness Investment Showcase connects business to capital

If they impress the investor audience, the startups will be in good company.

Previous companies showcased have been Rockit, the tiny apple taking Asia by storm, the Ubco electric farm bike now fully commercialised and selling in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the United States, Wilding & Co which makes essential oils from wilding pines, and Sunfed Foods which will be hitting the shelves later this year with their plant protein meats. 

The investors will not be passive, but more likely ones who can open doors into the agritech sector.

Besides tapping into investors, the startups will be also be helped to prepare for investment, with the development of a tailored capital plan.

Some are emerging enterprises looking for seed funding and connections, while others are going to market with a commercial product, or are looking to grow exports.

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This year's showcase will feature 12 companies, eight of them identified by NZTE and four by agritech accelerator company Sprout.

Every year Sprout identifies startups and provides them the following cash investment of $25,000 in exchange for equity, expert training and mentorship in all areas of business growth, access to a national and international investor group and the opportunity to raise between $100,000 - $1 million capital.

THIS YEAR'S VENTURES TRYING TO IMPRESS:

* Altus Intelligence uses drones to help manage crops, optimise planting, irrigation, pest control and fertiliser;

*Encounter Solutions allows pest controllers to monitor and control traps within rural and remote landscapes through wireless sensor networks, saving laborious checking;

* Origins Software lets users track and trace honey from the time it is in the hive to when it leaves the processing factory;

* Pastoral Robotics, which aims to reduce nitrate leaching from cows. Each day after grazing cow urine patches are treated with a mix of environmentally-safe products, with the objective of reducing nitrate leaching by at least 75 per cent.

 - Stuff

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