Ag-tech companies to watch in 2018

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Cally DupeCountryman

The launch of WA’s first ag-tech accelerator program has ushered in a new era for agricultural innovation.

Nine ag-tech companies, ranging from small to medium size enterprises, were almost midway through the nine-week HARVEST Agtech Accelerator program this week, which started on March 2.

Founded by Perth-based business Agristart, owned by Cunderdin-born Natasha Ayers and her business partner Peter Rossdeutchser, the program aims to help companies understand the needs of the broader agricultural sector and develop their product.

It was designed to fast-track businesses with an agriculture-related technology idea.

HARVEST participants spend one day a week in Perth, attending seminars and workshops with a range of experts in export pathways, digital marketing, investment, and more.

These are the nine HARVEST participants selected to take part in the free program.


Representative: Gavin Stack

Perth-based industrial intelligence company Convergio claims to apply the latest technology in computer vision, machine learning and data analytics.

The company develops next-generation solutions for virtual simulation and economic modelling. It has platforms suitable for operations, metallurgy and process optimisation.

The company hopes to help farmers improve yields, extend capacity, diversify products, enter new markets and create employment in regional areas.


Representatives: Chris Baudia and Barath Vasudevan

GeoMoby is a cloud-based location intelligence solution provider, which couples real-time data with accurate position information.

The company prides itself on analysis of large amounts of geo-spatial data.

The company has several applications including livestock tracking, fencing automation, lone worker tracking and farm mapping.

Grubs Up

Representative: Paula Pownall

The entrepreneur behind WA’s first edible insect farm hopes to provide an alternative protein source for human food and animal feed.

Ms Pownell plans to use the course to help her scale up her insect farming operation.

The business aims to be sustainable with a zero-waste system and minimal environmental impact.


Representative: Sophie De Meyer

Based at Murdoch University, MALDIID is a root nodule bacteria identification service for farmers and institutes alike.

Scientists work to identify and test for rhizobial bacteria in legume pastures — essential to provide nitrogen to the soil.

Rapid and efficient rhizobia identification removes the need to culture the bacteria, allowing farmers to manage legumes more efficiently.


Representative: Mehdi Ravanbakhsh

Mapizy’s machine learning platform processes satellite, drone and terrestrial imagery data to create an inventory of crops, trees, weeds, pests and diseases.

The company, based at UWA School of Computer Science, is focused on change detection through image data.

P&A Pan

Representative: Vange Panagiotidis

A second-generation, family-run business, P&A Pan has traditionally grown fruit and vegetables in WA.

Its new venture involves soil-less micro herbs grown in a sea container in a controlled environment, with the goal to be chemical-free and to use less water.

Precision Agronomics Australia

Representative: Frank Emden

Precision Agronomics is focused on improving agricultural practices by developing customised soil mapping, data processing and machinery control solutions to help solve the practical problems for the world's farmers.

The business hopes to help farmers reduce input and labour costs, optimising crop yield and quality, while minimising adverse environmental effects.

Scientific Aerospace

Representatives: Geoff Trowbridge and Josh Portlock

Scientific Aerospace is focused on designing and producing world-leading high precision aerial surveying solutions.

Aerial surveying of soil and crop health will help farmers to identify plant vigour, pests, diseases and soil water content.


Representative: Joshua Letcher

A wind turbine manufacturer, Windturbine produced its first prototypes in 2016.

It aims to solve issues with remote water pumping requirements for agriculture, using renewable energy sources. The Windturbine solution combines wind and solar, along with battery storage, to provide a 24-hour “pump on demand” solution to remote irrigation.

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