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Peter Wren-Hilton

Calling all NZ agritech start-ups and producers: Apply to enter the evokeAG Pitch Tent.


Calling all NZ agritech start-ups and producers: Apply to enter the evokeAG Pitch Tent and if selected, get all your travel and accommodation costs to Melbourne covered.

Introducing one of the most exciting Trans-Tasman agritech initiatives currently underway; evokeAG.

evokeAG is about connecting people who are serious about embracing the practical application of new technologies to solve real problems in the real world. Its vision, as set out by the event’s main organisers, AgriFutures Australia, is that this event will showcase, inspire, connect and power growth and opportunity for people involved in food and agriculture in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

I sit on the event’s steering committee. I am spending part of today talking to the team in Australia, identifying potential New Zealand speakers and panellists. Next week, we will be speaking again as we seek to finalise the content and line-up of the two day programme.

evokeAG takes place in Melbourne on 19-20 February 2019. You can find out more details at the event website:

New Zealand agritech companies looking to attend and exhibit at the event are being supported by NZTE & Callaghan Innovation. If you want to apply to Join the evokeAG Pitch Tent, you can do so right now, here.

What is evokeAG. Pitch Tent?

Pitch Tent will provide a dynamic showcase of the agrifood tech ecosystem at evokeAG. by:

  • Providing opportunities for start-ups (across three different stages) to pitch in front of a captured audience that may assist in furthering their idea/product/service/problem;
  • Showcasing a group of high quality start-ups that are addressing key problems in the agricultural and food industries to delegates; and
  • Showcasing a variety of innovation cultivators.

There are three different streams, with five finalists selected in each stream to present to a panel of judges at evokeAG. on 19-20 February 2019 in Melbourne. 

Key Dates:

  • Monday, 10 September 2018: Applications open
  • Friday, 28 September 2018 at 11:00pm AEST: Applications close
  • Tuesday, 13 November 2018: Finalists announced
  • 19 – 20 February 2019: Pitch Tent presentations at evokeAG.

 The three streams are:

  1. Producer Problem: This stream is for primary producers to pitch their industry problem to the audience and judges. a. Eligibility criteria: You must be the primary producer (such as a grower, farm manager etc.) with an agricultural challenge that you face in your daily operations that there is currently no solution for. b. Prizes: The winner of the Producer Problem Stream will receive $5,000 AUD in cash and additional in kind prizes.
  2. Seed Funding: This stream is targeting those entrepreneurs seeking seed funding/partnership to commercialise their idea. If you are entering this steam, you will not yet be in market (i.e. no paying customers) however you may have a prototype and/or be market testing. a. Eligibility criteria: Your start-up must be looking to solve an agricultural/food problem; you are currently not in market; you have a prototype and/or have been market testing; and you are seeking seed investment/partnership to commercialise your idea. b. Prizes: The winner of the Seed Funding Stream will receive $10,000 AUD in cash and additional in kind prizes.
  3. Investment Ready: This stream is our showcase pitch! Participants will be high quality and looking to scale globally. If you are entering this steam, you must be in market and post seed funding stage. a. Eligibility criteria: Your start-up must be solving a global agricultural/food problem; you are in market; you are ready to scale beyond your own geographical market; and you are available to participate in Start-up Alley should you be chosen as a finalist. b. Prizes: The winner of the Investment Ready Stream will receive $20,000 AUD in cash and additional in kind prizes.

Why apply?

Opportunity to pitch in front of and network with global VCs, start-up ecosystem leaders and program directors, corporate decision makers, industry influencers across agricultural and food industries;

  • One on one mentoring for finalists from ecosystem leaders;
  • Pitch Tent is open to start-ups and producers all over the world;
  • Interstate and New Zealand-based finalists receive domestic (or international if ex-New Zealand) travel to Melbourne and minimum 3-star accommodation for up to 3 nights for one person, plus two delegate tickets to evokeAG. in Melbourne (terms and conditions apply).;
  • Press and social media opportunities; and
  • Prizes including cash and experiences to assist you on your journey.

When John Harvey, MD of AgriFutures Australia, came over to New Zealand in July, we sat down and talked about ways in which both our agritech sectors might collaborate more effectively. One of the biggest immediate impediments we identified was the lack of real visibility of both our respective communities to each other.

Together, we believe that evokeAG can provide the platform to get a better understanding of our respective strengths and generate new opportunities. In a global market dominated by major international players, that collaboration is going to be essential if we as a region are going to reach out, connect and help feed the world.

Peter Wren-Hilton Peter is Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand and founder of Wharf42 in Tauranga. Peter helps organise major agritech conferences in New Zealand and offshore and connects early stage New Zealand agritech companies with international markets.