In April 2016, on a mission to promote their world- leading position, 23 New Zealand agritech businesses travelled to California on a week-long, Callaghan Innovation-led venture.
New Zealand has had great success in developing agri-technologies thanks to a unique combination of geographic, human capital, regulatory and economic advantages. In April 2016, on a mission to promote this world- leading position, 23 New Zealand agritech businesses travelled to California on a week-long, Callaghan Innovation-led venture.
The week gave participants a solid insight into the state of agritech in California, to help them to validate the New Zealand technology and product offering, and better understand the needs of the US market.
The anchor event for the mission was a one-day conference called ‘Transforming Agtech’, developed by Callaghan Innovation for a US audience. Through a combination of the immersion programme and the conference, participants had excellent opportunities to make connections and meet potential partners, which was one of the key objectives of the mission.
Connections were made with venture capitalists and other investors, for example, large corporates interested in strategic partnerships such as Intel, Monsanto Growth Ventures and IBM Ventures, and potential innovation partners such as the THRIVE AgTech accelerator and the Innovation Center for US Dairy.
Most valuable was being able to interact with other New Zealand agritech companies on neutral territory where competitive barriers were not an obstacle.
Steve Brooker, Gateway Data Services
Bridgit Hawkins from effluent management company ReGen reported that “the exposure to noteworthy US agritech businesses, such as Climate Corp, was really valuable and gave us a great benchmark for assessing our strengths and weaknesses”.
The participants deemed the mission a success, having an impact on their innovation and business strategies as a result of the connections they made that will help them to develop their products in the future. The event created momentum for the local agritech sector (including organisations that were not directly involved with the mission), a real sense of collaboration and an acknowledgement of Callaghan Innovation’s commitment to the sector.
Many participants reported gaining deeper connections with other players in the New Zealand agritech sector, as well as insights into how our businesses measure up against their US counterparts. As Steve Brooker of Gateway Data Services says, “Most valuable was being able to interact with other New Zealand agritech companies on neutral territory, where competitive barriers were not an obstacle to real discussions about how we can all benefit from working together to help the New Zealand agritech market grow and develop.” Of the 23 businesses that went on the mission, all have reported that they made new or stronger connections to help them develop their products. In addition, 14 businesses indicated that they had plans to do further R&D as a direct result of having participated in the mission.
Updated: 7 October 2016