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Powered by Place: Growing Great Agritech Businesses

Enjoy more inspiring agritech stories!  Next, we talk to three local innovators about their growth journeys. We learn how they navigated very different strategies to thrive on the global stage.

Building a global business takes more than a bright idea!  A resilient attitude, compelling mission, great team and a strategic approach to fundraising are part of the growth puzzle.  Kiwi innovators CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins, SnapIT’s Chris Rodley and Gallagher’s Lisbeth Jacobs explain how they’re growing great agritech businesses.  View now.

The X Factor

CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins didn’t purposely set out to start a company!  She grew up on a sheep and beef farm outside Taupo and qualified with an agricultural science degree.  While working in business development roles in the primary sector, she was frustrated at the disconnect between research and development, and what farmers were doing. 

Once Bridgit partnered with Massey University to develop sensor technology she soon realised having a great product and good customers in New Zealand wasn’t enough. 

“We got to the point where it was difficult to grow organically at the rate we needed… we realised that we could ruin ourselves and the company by trying to go global,” explains CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins who decided to look for a strategic partner. Read more.

Acquire and conquer! 

SnapIT is another New Zealand company with huge ambitions.  The company has come a long way from Dave Rodley’s garage where his sons Chris and Andrew first tinkered with webcams.  Soon, their high definition cameras caught the attention of tourism operators, the MetService, TV3 weather and construction sites.  But it was Chris who stumbled across an opportunity that changed the direction of the company. 

“I was up a ladder installing a camera when the CEO of one of the largest fishing companies in New Zealand walked past and said, ‘Can you put that camera on a boat?’” says Chris. 

Soon they were in discussions with Callaghan Innovation to develop a marine-proof, AI enabled camera and within ten days they had pitched to ten companies and haven’t looked back since! Read more.

Joining the dots

Gallagher is one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful agritech companies, founded in 1938 to commercialise the world’s first electric fence. 

Since then, the Hamilton-based company has been helping farmers harness the power of hardware, software and more recently data, to make their jobs more efficient. 

“I come from Belgium, another small country and I’m impressed by how close a lot of people in the New Zealand agritech sector are to the land because they grew up on a farm.  There’s an incredible amount of innovation in New Zealand.  What we lack sometimes is the inability to work together.  That’s what we’re looking to do at Gallagher,” Lisbeth Jacobs, Global General Manager Animal Management, Gallagher. Read more.

We’d love to hear your stories!

Is connection to the land important to you? What does ‘place’ mean to you and your business? It might be where you grew up, where your business is based, or the unique characteristics of the region you live in. 

We’d love to hear your stories to help inspire other Kiwi agritech entrepreneurs.  Please contact us.

Ngā mihiBrendan O’Connell

PS: Missed our earlier stories?  Discover Kiwis Going Global and The Future of Farming is Here!  View all our storytelling here.

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