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Applications now open for London Tech Week September 2021

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) is seeking tech companies from Australia and New Zealand who are considering the UK for international expansion. The selected group will join the official hybrid mission to London Tech Week in September 2021.

LTW is Europe’s largest technology festival. The annual event brings together the world’s most inspirational founders, global leaders, senior investors and rising talent. In 2020 the festival was held as a virtual event for the first time, attracting over 20,000 attendees from across the globe. The festival hosted over 700 sessions across 11 days, featuring upwards of 750 leading speakers and innovators.

Australian and Kiwi scale-ups who are considering expansion to the UK can apply to one of the following streams:

  • creative technology (AR/VR/MR, gamification, adtech, media, eCommerce, sportstech, marketing tech)
  • digital health and wellness
  • edtech
  • future technology (AI, cyber, blockchain/distributed ledger, IoT, robotics, big data, space)
  • impact technology (companies making a positive social or environmental impact)

The successful applicants will be invited to join a pre-mission in-person networking event in early September. They will then participate in a series of virtual evening sessions from 20 to 29 September 2021.

Those selected will join a programme curated for ANZ scale-ups. This will include sessions from key players in the UK tech ecosystem, who will provide exclusive insights on market opportunities and guidance on capital raising, R&D and support to set up.

British Consul General and Deputy Trade Commissioner Asia Pacific (Australia and New Zealand), Louise Cantillon said:

The UK tech sector has reached new heights and is the first country in Europe to reach 100 unicorns [tech companies valued at US$1 billion]. This means the UK now has the largest number of tech unicorns in Europe. With a fantastic track record for supporting tech companies and innovation, the UK is the ideal location for Australian and Kiwi tech companies who are ready to expand internationally.

The UK’s Department for International Trade team is delighted to be running this mission again. Despite physical restrictions, this is a great platform for the tech community to come together and for Australian and NZ companies to explore the opportunities the UK market has on offer. Good luck to everyone applying.

DIT’s delegation last year was the largest ever from Australia and New Zealand. 130 tech founders and industry representatives joined the mission.

LTW is part of a broader programme of initiatives to increase digital trade and investment opportunities between the UK and ANZ tech sectors. Earlier this year the UK launched the Digital Trade Network (DTN) for Asia Pacific. The network will support UK-ANZ tech collaboration and support UK tech scale-ups in the region.

The LTW application process is open to Australian and New Zealand companies only. Victorian companies need to apply via the Global Victoria application.

Applications to join the mission will close on Friday 30 July 2021.

Find out more information on LTW and how to apply.

Further information

  • there are currently 100 UK tech companies valued at US$1 billion or more
  • the UK joins China and the US as the only nations to have triple-digit unicorn
  • in 2021, 13 UK unicorns have already been created, compared to 7 in the whole of 2020, and has increased by 127% since 2017
  • the UK has more tech unicorns than Germany (42), France (22) and the Netherlands (18) combined, and is the first country in Europe to reach 100 unicorns
  • the UK’s 100 tech unicorns have raised almost €28.9 billion (US$32 billion) in VC investment, as venture capital reached record highs in the first half of this year

About the UK’s Department for International Trade:

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT):

  • helps businesses export
  • drives inward and outward investment
  • negotiates market access and trade deals
  • champions free trade

Find out more about DIT.

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AgriTechNZ News: agritech impact

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

At the recent Hi-Tech awards it struck me  how many agritech businesses are making an impact. There were notable mentions across many categories, not just the specific Agritech Award taken out by Halter – a worthy winner given their backed vision of disruption. Rocos took away the Most Innovative Hitech Software Award with their visionary robot operation platform. Other champions across the categories on display included WayBeyond, Landkind, Levno, Hectre, Bluelab and Agrisea. All up there was plenty of evidence that agritech is set to be New Zealand’s big export category. More importantly, when you look at what these companies are doing it’s clear that our agricultural innovations can be good for the world.

This week we’ll see the launch of the Technology Investment Network’s (TIN) second Agritech Report. This report serves as an excellent baseline of where our agritech sector currently sits. We know from looking at the global opportunities, levels of investment and performance of similar economies that the potential for agritech from New Zealand to be 5-10 times larger is a viable ambition. We’ll be hosting a review of this report and what it means for the sector on Fieldays TV this week, Thursday 17th 2.10pm

Some of the early activity in the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) is paving the way for this growth. We took note of the improved access to capital since the announcement of the Finestere Aotearoa Fund (an ITP High Impact Project) at a recent event in Tauranga where we brought together Investors and Innovators to discuss what ‘investability’ looks like for agritech, and asked agritech business leaders to share their capital journey stories and insights. A recording of this lively session will soon be available online at and the conversation will continue at a session we’re hosting at the National Fieldays in Mystery Creek on Thursday morning (yes, that’s tomorrow!) Capital games: raising capital for agritech business.  

Another ITP project is being presented by Callaghan Innovation at Fieldays. Their session on Maximising Government support for agritech (also tomorrow) will show how agritech businesses can better tap into government support (across all agencies) to launch their innovations. This flow of funding support from the public sector to private investment is an improved environment for growing agritech businesses. It’s a great start to the ITP. 

There’s a lot of work still to do though, not least in one of the biggest headwinds to these growth ambitions: access to talent. We know this is a significant concern to many of our members and to the wider tech community. We are currently forming an Agritech Skills Reference Group to collaborate with other initiatives focused on skills and workforce gaps. Our intent is to lean into the shared responses and highlight the unique challenges for agritech businesses (like finding talent that translates data science with biological systems). We’ll have more activity in this space over the coming months, and right now we’re working with our partners in NZTech to understand the realities of critical worker border exemptions. If this is an option you have tried for bringing talent to New Zealand, please share your experiences in the NZTech Critical Worker Border Exemption Survey

We’ve also made progress by enabling stronger agritech representation in discussions relating to data use and digital foundations in the primary sector. The Agritech Leaders Data Reference Group will be formalised imminently. This group will expand upon existing work such as discussions relating to data standards and the data that enables Farm Environmental Plans; as well as defining other areas where collaborative effort can strengthen digital foundations for agriculture.

The international teams at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are busy uncovering opportunities for agritech businesses. The team in Japan have established an online business matching platform to provide a convenient gathering ground for Japanese businesses and New Zealand agritech companies to interact and discover where they can best support each other’s needs. You can sign up here and we’ll run some joint webinars in August. The Middle East team are preparing for some specific agritech focus at Expo 2020 Dubai, you can learn more here

We’re delighted to announce that Kenneth Irons, our Chair, signed an agreement with AgTech Ireland to identify collaborative opportunities that will mutually benefit the members of both organisations. Launched in 2021, AgTech Ireland is a membership funded organisation which will act as a single point of contact for government, media, foreign trade missions and research for its industry. Our organisations share the same goals of promoting and advocating for the opportunities and challenges in agricultural innovation around the world.  We look forward to introducing member companies to each other as they explore opportunities in each market, as well as working on matters of common interest in the development of global agritech opportunities.

With all this activity we need some extra hands on deck! Luckily there has been an awesome response to our requests … both for Industry Reference Groups and Executive Council positions. We were delighted to appoint Kylie Horomia and MJ Alavarez to our Executive Council recently AgriTech New Zealand appoints two new Executive Council members and look forward to the upcoming elections for the three elected seats this year. We’ve had 17 nominations across these seats, so we can expect some real campaigning and discussion on what representation looks like. There’s never been a better time to be a member … make sure your membership is up to date to vote, and if you’re not currently a member join up now to get your vote in before June 29, for your chosen representative in each category. 

We look forward to seeing many of you at events over the next week at Mystery Creek.

Ngā mihi Brendan
Chief Executive
AgriTech New Zealand

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AgriTechNZ News: Digital Foundations And Landscapes

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Our most recent tour of the country, discussing the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) elicited some shared discussion and responses. The common themes included: data interoperability, commercialisation (including business support, investment and international opportunity links) and technology adoption.  We’re taking a lead from those sessions and facilitating further activities.

There are a lot of drivers that bring something as boring as data interoperability to the fore. It is part of a broader data sharing and access discussion, with plenty of initiatives underway. However, an industry focus on farm environmental plans highlights the need to ease the process of sharing data once access and use considerations are agreed. For this reason, we are proposing an Agritech Data Forum that will provide input to data interoperability initiatives. We are also collaborating with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Rezare Systems to formalise specifications for interoperable farm spatial data. You can learn more about both of these initiatives at our online workshop on 21 May.

The recent launch of the $42 million Finistere Aotearoa Fund has dramatically changed the local investment landscape. The venture capital fund targets agritech companies requiring Series A and B investment, but what does investability look like? Join us on 9 June when we host investees and investors, to share their experiences. We will be asking agritech business leaders to share their journeys and insights as we discuss the most desirable qualities of investing.

We’ve also reached a milestone with our work on creating a Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries. Initial funding has now been secured and selection of our research provider is underway.  This research will be an independent, pan-sector review of current practice and technology adoption drivers in New Zealand primary production. We’re grateful for the support of our early partners: Zespri International, The Foundation for Arable Research, The Fertiliser Association, DairyNZ and MPI. This valuable research will inform the sector in the coming years and further position Aotearoa as a leader in farming practice.

Later this month, we’re looking forward to joining our friends at LandWISE 21 for their Working Smarter Conference on 19-20 May in Havelock North. We’re also looking forward to Techweek2021 which includes Computer vision AI in horticulture – swipe right for a career in horton 26 May in Auckland and Data Driven Farming on 27 May in Auckland. More events are being added regularly, so remember to keep checking back.

If you enjoy audio insights, be sure to check out these podcasts; Sarah Nolet from AgThentic in Australia recently hosted a show on AgTech so what… exploring changes in New Zealand Dairy. Mark Ferguson from NextGen Agri also hosts regular sessions with industry leaders and commentators on the Head Shepherd Podcast.

It’s also worth noting we have our Annual Meeting and Executive Council elections (three positions available for election) coming up in June… so please make sure your membership is current and consider getting directly involved in driving our shared initiatives.

If you missed our Cultivating Fertile Futures in Japan webinar, you can watch it here.

Ngā mihi

AgriTech New Zealand

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AgriTechNZ news: Celebrating agritech

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

During the last few months, I’ve been travelling the country hosting the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) update roadshow with David Downs from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). In total, we’ve hosted over 600 attendees and received valuable feedback on what is most important to our agritech community. The touring has also enabled me to visit with local innovators across the regions.

Throughout Aotearoa, there is great work being done by a diverse range of people, all translating the potential of technology for the benefit of agriculture. I’m reminded of the phrase coined by John Deere, “Feet on the ground, eyes on the horizon” and think of the role we play in enabling innovative technology solutions. It’s an interesting combination of inspiring possibilities and realising opportunities. Each of us is part of this technology community, with shared interests in the wider primary industry sector. We are agritech!

The roadshow has also highlighted the importance of links to global opportunities, support and approaches to enabling commercialisation of great ideas, plus the sector demands for greater levels of data interoperability. These topics are too vast to detail here, but remain a key focus as we work with our agency partners to benefit from the ITP.

Meanwhile, AgriTechNZ members and participants are well represented at this year’s Hi-Tech Awards. Bluelab, Hectre, AgriSea, Levno and Way Beyond are all 2021 finalists. Congratulations on the recognition and the growing role of agritech in our national tech ecosystem.

We are delighted to partner with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) to host an insightful webinar, Cultivating Fertile Futures in Japan on 27 April. This session will explore new agritech opportunities in the world’s third biggest economy.

Looking ahead to next month, Techweek2021 includes the 2021 Rural Connectivity Symposium on 25 May in Hamilton and Computer vision AI in horticulture – swipe right for a career in hort on 26 May in Auckland. More events are being added regularly, so remember to keep checking back.

However, before Techweek2021 we have the final two ITP sessions in Tauranga on 28 April and Tairāwhiti Gisborne on 30 April.

I’m also looking forward to E-Tipu 2021 – The BOMA NZ Agri Summit on 11-12 May in Christchurch. It’s an exciting lineup of speakers and events. We still have exclusive member discounts available, so please contact us for your promo code.

Ngā mihi

AgriTech New Zealand

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AgriTechNZ news: Opportunities to engage and shape our ecosystem

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

After another hiatus, I’m grateful that we can return to the events and engagements that help shape our agritech ecosystem.

These days, we may be building businesses, developing knowledge, raising money, collaborating or selling online, but there really is something about meeting with key people in our industry, face to face.  This is especially true when there is so much activity in developing policy and the shared conditions that will enable progress for our sector.  Whether you are looking to build your network, keep informed, find solutions, get inspired or influence, the next few months are full of opportunity.

Next week, we continue the kōrero on the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), its purpose and progress.  David Downs and I will be in 
New Plymouth on Monday 15 March and Nelson on Thursday 18 March.  We’ve also rescheduled the Hamilton and Tauranga events to April 13 and 28, respectively.  We have also added an event in Tairāwhiti Gisborne on 30 April.  These sessions are popular and helping shape some of the next steps in the ITP projects and workstreams.

One of the current projects related to the ITP is the activation of Agritech Story.  If you haven’t checked out the available materials, take a look here.  We are collaborating with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation on workshops to co-create a campaign  and the evolution of these materials.  If you are currently telling your own story internationally and would like to participate in any of these workshops, please contact us.

MobilTECH Ag 2021 is coming soon on 23-24 March in Rotorua.  It’s not too late to secure your ticket using our member discount code.  This is a valuable industry event with a focus on agritech providers and this year’s theme is smart data innovations.

On 14 April, we are partnering with the New Zealand IoT Alliance to host an event highlighting the progress and potential for connected agritech solutions in our primary industries.  While rural connectivity remains a constraint to the wider deployment of sensor and connected devices across Aotearoa, there are some markers of progress that we want to highlight and discuss.  I’m expecting some very good discussions, so please come along if you’re in Auckland.

We’re also looking forward to participating in the New Zealand AgriFood Week running 3-9 May in Palmerston North.

Also, coming soon is E Tipu 2021: The Boma NZ Agri Summit.  The two day event hosts local and international speakers, interactive workshops, valuable cross-sector networking and more. AgriTechNZ is an E Tipu 2021 Partner, so we are pleased to share special ticket pricing, valid until 19 March.  Contact us for the discount code to save $100 off early bird tickets.  Registrations are also open for Fieldays Innovations Awards 2021, so consider joining this important showcase.

As I said, there is no shortage of opportunity to engage and shape the ecosystem.  I look forward to seeing you out there.

Ngā mihi

AgriTech New Zealand

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AgriTechNZ News: Valuable opportunities to engage

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

This month we are covering a lot of ground and gathering in a lot of insights.

As we ‘go to press’ (hit send) on this newsletter, we will be in the middle of our 
Agritech Digital Innovation Week in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our colleagues in AusAgritech.  It’s not too late to join us, you can still book your place for the remaining sessions.  This is the first of many initiatives we hope to run with our Trans-Tasman cousins at AusAgritech as we seek to lead the world with a globally competitive and connected agritech ecosystem. The AWS team  have brought together global experts, to guide us through the art of the possible, shared through the real customer experience to optimise crop yields, predict equipment failures, improve food traceability, model genomics and improve worker safety.

Next week, we are hosting the team from Finistere Ventures who will provide an update on the current global agritech investment landscape. Globally, investment in agritech is continuing apace and in this session we’ll explore exactly what’s driving that and which areas are securing funding. You can book your place here.  I’m looking forward to an insightful session with the team.

As we continue collaborating on the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), as always, we’re focussed on the real conditions of change and opportunity for our sector collectively. A recent discussion emphasised the meaning of ‘transformation’ by highlighting it is not an ‘incrementation plan’. We’re seeking to raise the ambition and find the connections to enable 1+1=3!

Over the next  three to four months, we will be creating opportunities to join interactive sessions around the country. These sessions will provide progress updates on ITP work and seek to identify areas for further collaboration and engagement. The first two sessions are confirmed for: 

26 November
2.00 – 4.00 pm
Register here

27 November
12.00 – 2.00pm
Register here

We will roll out other sessions throughout New Zealand, after we’ve all taken a well earned breather and put some of the bizarreness of 2020 behind us.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you and exchanging ideas.

Ngā mihi

Interim CEO
Agritech New Zealand

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July Newletter – Unleashing New Zealands Agritech Innovation

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Welcome to perhaps the busiest month for New Zealand’s agritech sector this year! Get your diary ready to lock in July’s significant dates.

The New Zealand Agritech Story Workshops

If you haven’t registered to attend yet, free seats are still available on 15 July in Auckland16 July in Hamilton and 21 July in Lincoln. One of the key priorities of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) is to ensure New Zealand’s Agritech Story reflects the global agritech landscape post COVID-19. We are hosting three workshops over the next two weeks to provide industry with the opportunity to input directly into that Story.

Fieldays TV

While the traditional National Fieldays was cancelled, the team at Mystery Creek are hosting a free event, Fieldays Online, 13-26 July. We have partnered once again, hosting four Fieldays TV programmes on 13, 15, 20 and 22 July. Each session is broadcast live from 2.00pm – 2.30pm. Once registered to attend Fieldays Online, you can access these sessions from any digital device.

Monday 13 July – The launch of the Trans-Tasman Water Challenge

Learn more about this initiative which is bringing together key researchers and startups from both sides of the Tasman, to address the critical issue of water and its impact on agriculture.

Wednesday 15 July – The launch of the TIN Agritech Report

The Technology Investment Network (TIN) are releasing their first ever analysis of the size and scope of New Zealand’s agritech sector. Who are the major players, their revenues and areas of expertise?

Monday 20 July – The Agritech New Zealand Practitioner Working Group

Learn more about the significant work being undertaken by the Practitioner Working Group, including its focus on developing agriculture data standards and regulation fit for purpose.

Wednesday 22 July – The future of on-farm Robotics and Automation

Tune in for a fascinating panel discussion on how robotics and automation are set to transform many on-farm and on-orchard agricultural and horticultural processes.

The Formal Launch of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP)

We are delighted to host the formal launch of the Agritech ITP in Tauranga on Tuesday 21 July. We will be joined by Ministers Phil Twyford and Damien O’Connor as industry celebrates this major milestone.

This occasion will also see the launch of our major research report, Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed. The report analyses the impact of the agritech sector on the country’s economy. It contains a number of recommendations to significantly lift the productivity, size and profitability of the sector.

Techweek 2020

Agritech New Zealand joins Techweek2020, 27 July-2 August. 

Tuesday 28 July 2.00pm – 2.30pm
Following its launch, what does the Agritech ITP mean for the sector going forward? Featuring David Downs, Agritech ITP lead and myself. This session will be broadcast live on Techweek TV.

Wednesday 29 July 11.00am – 12.00pm
Global head of Agritech at AWS, Elizabeth Fastiggi, will discuss Digital Innovation in Agriculture: AWS Customers Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future. Please register to attend.

Thursday 30 July 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Join this exclusive New Zealand and Singapore sponsored session as we hear from industry experts, technology providers and food producers on the role of technology for improving yields, optimising production methods and reducing waste, predicting demand, and safeguarding supply chains.
Please register to attend

It’s quite a list! I hope you can join us as we navigate the next three weeks. There are numerous opportunities to engage with, or simply listen to, global thought leaders in our space. Our time has come.

Ngā mihi

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand

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June Newsletter – a collaborative strategy for our future

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

I hope this newsletter finds you safe and well. Last month, we held our annual meeting and I would like to congratulate the newly elected members of our Executive Council. The platform that has been developed over the past two years provides a very significant opportunity for our members going forward.

In particular, I would like to thank the departing members of our Establishment Council for their immense contribution. They have provided me with invaluable support and advice during the past two years as we have grown into a significant industry sector organisation. Their contribution has been immense and the platform that has been established provides a very significant opportunity going forward.

My immediate focus is on the plans for the delivery and implementation of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). To further emphasise the Agritech ITP’s importance, Agritech New Zealand is publishing Aotearoa Agritech Unleashed. This research report provides a detailed analysis of agritech on New Zealand’s economy and the opportunity for increased productivity and export growth.

One key element of the Agritech ITP is the ongoing development of the New Zealand Agritech Story. Closed borders now present a particular challenge when addressing offshore opportunities.

To help gain a better understanding of how the sector will manage in the current environment, we are hosting New Zealand Agritech Story workshops next month. The workshops will be held on 15 July in Auckland16 July in Hamilton and 21 July in Lincoln. It’s critical that the sector is provided with the collateral and assets it needs to be able to navigate the emerging ‘new normal’. Please reserve your free seat at these workshops because your input is highly valued. 

In 2019, Agritech New Zealand hosted a major one day conference at National Fieldays called Agritech Unleashed. I’m delighted to announce that Agritech New Zealand and National Fieldays are once again partnering to provide exciting online content for Fieldays Online between 13-26 July. Agritech Unleashed 2020 will include five daily sessions on Fieldays TV, focusing on key themes including; building New Zealand agritech sector’s global footprint, attracting skills and talent, the rise of robotics and automation, creating new ag data standards and regulation, and how New Zealand researchers and startups can engage with the trans-Tasman Water Challenge.

Later next month, during Techweek 2020, we are hosting Elizabeth Fastiggi, global head of agritech at Amazon Web Services. We are also hosting a major New Zealand – Singapore online food safety workshop; a key element of the Enhanced Partnership agreement signed by both Governments in 2019. If you are involved in any aspect of food safety, research or commercialisation, this is one event you will not want to miss. More details coming soon.

Whilst some sectors of our economy face significant pressures, I believe that the future of agritech in New Zealand is bright. We have developed a focused strategy to improve productivity and grow long term exports by bringing together our major stakeholder groups; industry, research and Government. 

Last month’s Budget announcement of $11.4m funding to support the delivery of the Agritech ITP was a massive vote of confidence in the sector. Next month’s New Zealand Agritech Story workshops are the key first milestone in its implementation.

I hope to see as many of you as possible in Auckland, Hamilton & Lincoln.

Until then.

Ngā mihi

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Have your say on drone adoption within New Zealand agriculture. Please complete our member Aeronavics’ quick survey to help formulate the best strategy for drone use on farms. There is also an opportunity to be considered for a trial site installation.

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May Newsletter – accelerating our purpose, funding support and offshore collaboration

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Kia ora,

As New Zealand’s agritech sector settles into life in Alert Level 2, I wanted to share news of our substantial progress. The contribution so many of you made during the Government’s Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) consultancy process was rewarded last week. The 2020 Budget announced $11.4M funding support for the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan. This is a fantastic achievement and will cover implementing large parts of the Plan over the next two years.

Looking ahead, the delivery of the Agritech ITP is even more strategically important than ever before. Some of its mission may have to be re-prioritised as we accelerate its purpose, but the collaborative framework it created between industry and Government is enduring. In my view, the Agritech ITP offers the best hope we have for a reinvigorated and stronger New Zealand agritech sector.

What are the next steps? The Agritech ITP taskforce is developing a robust project management process for the Plan’s delivery. Industry will play a central role and its input is critical for the Plan’s long term success. Agritech New Zealand is establishing working groups to map the Plan’s work streams and I am currently drafting Terms of Reference for these groups to ensure maximum industry input.

However, for many of our agritech businesses, I am very aware of just how challenging the current COVID-19 climate is. From the outset of Alert Level 4, we knew it was important to gain a better understanding of our sector’s business continuity planning. We conducted a major survey and three immediate challenges were identified: access to funding, markets and customers. While New Zealand’s borders remain closed, the opportunity for new early stage company funding is grim. I’m not sugar coating this. Anecdotal feedback supports early assessment by Callaghan Innovation that up to 50 percent of pre-revenue agritech companies are likely to fail. It is imperative that every opportunity is taken to increase your visibility. For example, if you haven’t already, please create a free profile on Scale-Up New Zealand.

As we progress through COVID-19 alert levels, our agritech sector needs to embrace a new way of thinking and test new opportunities. For example, increased collaboration with Australia’s agritech ecosystem. Given the impact on global supply chains, the importance of developing regional supply chain platforms is likely to increase. For Agritech New Zealand, it also means changing the way we work. Traditional events have been replaced by digital events. During Alert Level 4, we established a webinar series that hosted over 2000 attendees plus local and international thought leaders. In case you missed it, the AgriTechNZ Insights webinar series is now available on demand.

During the past seven weeks, I have also been speaking to our global network to help ensure the world knows that New Zealand agritech is still open for business. Even though individual travel is not possible, it further underscores one of the immediate priorities of the Agritech ITP schedule; to further promote New Zealand’s Agritech Story offshore.

There is one specific offshore opportunity that is occupying my focus; the potential creation of a Trans-Tasman agritech bubble. As co-founder of the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council we work with the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) who are currently advising on the practicalities of opening our mutual borders without the need to quarantine. We have identified a major opportunity for both country’s ecosystems to collaborate at an entrepreneurial and research level. Our hope is this may form the basis of a longer term collaboration model across our region as we navigate our new normal.

Introducing the 2020 Bridge Hub Water Challenge

Water is our most precious natural resource and the entire agri food supply chain needs to increase its efficiency and resilience. Bridge Hub, an Australian partner of the ANZ Agritech Council, launched its 2020 Water Challenge to address the issue. Now, New Zealand experts, innovators and researchers have been invited to participate. Please email me to learn more.

Finally, our Annual Meeting is next week. Special thanks to the Establishment Council for their on-going support, input and energy since the organisation was formed two years ago. I look forward to working with the newly elected Executive Council who will be announced at our Annual Meeting.

Ngā mihi,

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Fieldays Online Innovation Awards applications close on 15 June.

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April Newsletter – new initiatives to support our agritech ecosystem

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Kia ora,

We are on the home straight! That was the opening sentence in last month’s newsletter. Little did I know that we would soon be embarking on several weeks of COVID-19 lockdown. I hope your family, friends and neighbours are safe, and remain well.

Over the past two weeks, the team has focused on rebuilding our programme in the age of coronavirus. It is made up of three parts;

  • Part One: Connecting and supporting a strong national agritech ecosystem
  • Part Two: AgriTech New Zealand Insights webinars
  • Part Three: Insights and Applications Data Standards webinars

Part One: Connecting and supporting a strong national agritech ecosystem

As we begin to experience a rapidly evolving business landscape, it’s crucial we understand the short, medium and long term impacts on our wider agritech ecosystem. As a result, in association with the Government’s Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) taskforce, Agritech New Zealand is conducting a major online survey of the sector. 

The purpose of the survey is to gain a better understanding of the sector’s resilience and business continuity planning during the current lockdown and beyond. The results of this survey will help both ourselves and the Government’s ITP taskforce identify new measures that might assist businesses navigate this challenging period. To guarantee confidentiality, the survey results will be anonymised. 

Please complete the survey here. Your input is vital and urgent with survey responses required by Monday 6 April. The first analysis will be ready by Easter, so the taskforce can review and determine the next steps. 

Of course, COVID-19 knows no national borders and during the last fortnight, we have seen significant engagement with our offshore partners and friends. This is an important component of the second part of our programme. 

Part Two: AgriTech New Zealand Insights

I’m excited today to announce the formal launch of AgriTech New Zealand Insights, a webinar series providing new ideas and developing new market opportunities for New Zealand’s agritech sector. It’s purpose is to create global agritech connections and promote New Zealand agritech to the world. Please register today to join our inaugural presenters on this inspiring new platform. It’s free and is an excellent opportunity to connect with world leading agritech thought leaders:

Arama Kukutai, Founder and Managing Director, Finistere Ventures Arama.
Topic: Current global agritech investment landscape and its impact on local agritech companies.
Wednesday 15 April 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Register here.

Vic Crone, CEO, Callaghan Innovation and Simon Yarrow, GM Agritech.
Topic: New initiatives to support early stage businesses in the current environment.
Friday 17 April 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Register here.

Dennis Donohue, Director, Western Growers Technology & Innovation Center.
Topic: Stateside challenges and how New Zealand agritech businesses can help solve them.
Tuesday 21 April 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Register here.

Claudia Roessler, World Wide Director, Agriculture, Microsoft.
Topic: Microsoft’s investment in agriculture, the role of agritech and how local companies can partner.
Thursday 23 April 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Register here.

David Downs, New Zealand Government Agritech Industry Transformation Plan Taskforce.
Topic: Supporting the growth and scaling New Zealand’s agritech sector – an update on the planned delivery of the agritech ITP.
Wednesday 29 April 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Register here.

Adrian Percy, former Global Head of R&D at Bayer CropScience.
Topic: The role of major agri corporates, early stage collaboration and the impact on innovation.
Thursday 30 April 9.00am – 10.00am.
Register here.

Confirmed speakers with dates to be advised include;

Alexey Rostapshov, Head of John Deere Labs.
Topic: Discover John Deere’s vision for the digital farm of the future.

Michael Robertson, Deputy Director, Agriculture & Food Division, CSIRO.
Topic: Collaborating with the New Zealand research community.

Richard O’Gorman, Director, Rabobank Food & Agriculture Fund.
Topic: The evolving global landscape for agritech venture investment. 

Agritech New Zealand Insights is a major initiative designed to provide New Zealand agritech companies with an opportunity to learn and develop. I am deeply grateful to all the presenters who have agreed to share their knowledge, expertise and time with us. You are awesome!

Part Three: Insights and Applications Data Standards webinars

With the recent integration of the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ) with Agritech New Zealand, we are transitioning the planned “Insights and Applications” workshop at MobileTECH online. This workshop follows February’s workshop on Ag Data Standards and Interoperability. During the recent ITP workshop roadshow, data interoperability created perhaps more interest than any other.

The good news is we have now confirmed four webinars. The series will be led by international ag data standards expert, Jim Wilson, CEO of Open Applications Group and CTO of AgGateway, USA. The webinars will be moderated by Kenneth Irons, AgriTechNZ and PAANZ board member and CEO of Precision Farming, and other key players in the PAANZ team.

The Ag Data Standards “Insight and Applications” webinars are as follows:

Reasons and benefits for standards including influencers and competitive advantage.
Tuesday 14 April 12.30pm.
Register here.

Business processes and message data standards – a global perspective with implications for NZ. 
Tuesday 21 April 12.30pm.
Register here.

Reference data, data ownership and moving data around.
Tuesday 28 April 12.30pm.
Register here.

Application and benefits for New Zealand (and Australia) alignment with the agritech ITP
Tuesday 5 May 12.30pm.
Register here.

Over the past few weeks, I have continued to have regular contact with the Government’s Agritech ITP taskforce. While some of the immediate launch plans have had to be delayed, the drive to support the delivery of the Plan remains focused and for us, centre stage.

A significant amount of input came from Agritech New Zealand members during the consultation process and it will be those same people who will help implement many of the Plan’s key findings.

Over the coming days, we have further meetings with key members of the taskforce as we process forward. I will share details of what those steps might look like in the coming weeks.

Given the significant amount of digital work we are putting in place, I’ll be publishing a second newsletter after Easter. It will contain the confirmed dates for our next set of webinars and the first analysis from our COVID-19 survey. 

Having spoken to a number of members over the past few days, I’m very aware of the pressures that many are facing. It’s against this back drop that I hope the initiatives we are announcing today will help begin to address some of these pressures, as well as assist develop new pathways for the future. 

Until next time. Be calm, be kind, stay at home. We can break the chain.

Ngā mihi,

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand

AgriTechNZ Executive Council nominations

A reminder that nominations for the AgriTechNZ Executive Council are currently open. All AgriTechNZ member organisations can nominate a representative. Submit your nomination using the online form here. The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Thursday 9 April. Online elections will follow and the new Council will be announced at our Annual Meeting on Thursday 14 May. Please register if you want to attend the Annual Meeting – note this is a member only event.


Visit the Government’s new website for the latest updates and everything you need to know (including financial support).

Stay vigilant to avoid COVID-19 scams including malware and phishing. If working from home, step up your cybersecurity.

Learn more about the Government’s COVID-19 economic support package, including wage subsidies, business cashflow and tax measures.

COVID-19 is changing our everyday life. Even if you are not sick, you may feel anxious and this is normal. Know how to manage your wellbeing, read more.

Techweek2020 has been rescheduled and is going digital. The new dates are 27 July to 2 August and all events will be entirely online. This is an opportunity to be a platform for positive regrowth, economic stimulation and connections during our COVID-19 recovery phase. Please submit your digital events here.

The 2020 Diversity Awards celebrate the organisations championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Enter now.

Read the AI Forum’s report on AI for Agriculture in New Zealand. Have you joined the free online platform Scale-Up New Zealand?

Posted in Archive

March Newsletter – connecting local and global opportunities

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Kia ora,

We are on the home straight! Yesterday, David Downs and I delivered the final Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) workshop.

Over 200 people have attended the three workshops focused on ITP delivery in Auckland, Hamilton and Lincoln. After almost nine months of consultation with industry, research and support service stakeholders we are now less than four weeks away from the official launch of the ITP.

At MobileTECH Ag 2020 on 7 April in Rotorua, Ministers Twyford and O’Connor will release the full Plan. Two Ministers. One Plan. I think this confirms the priority the Government is placing on this significant initiative.

During the workshops, I outlined the role that industry would play in the delivery of the six workstreams and three High Impact Projects identified in the Plan. Agritech New Zealand will be establishing formal working groups to map each workstream and High Impact Project. Our members will be able to participate in as many working groups as appropriate. To date, the focus of our work has been on Government consultation however, from April our focus will be on delivery.

Workstream One in the ITP is simply called Global. One of its key actions is ‘Connecting the New Zealand agritech ecosystem to global opportunities’. Last month, we practiced what we preach in Australia during the evokeAG 2020 conference. Over 100 kiwis attended and it’s fair to say that New Zealand’s agritech sector is highly regarded on the other side of the Tasman. This is not hearsay, it’s supported by research! The United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney published a report prior to the conference, Isolated Agtech in Australia? A social network analysis of an innovative sector. It compares the connectivity of New Zealand’s agritech sector with that of Australia and makes an interesting read!

Following the conference, an Australia New Zealand Agritech Council breakfast was held in Melbourne. We were joined by Dame Annette King, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, together with other New Zealand diplomats based in Australia, including representatives from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Callaghan Innovation, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). The New Zealand team was mapped with a similar representative group from Australia Inc.

The meeting was designed to identify opportunities for the two countries to collaborate on the global stage. Promoting the region as a significant global agritech hub is a key strategy to attract inward investment and offshore interest. Expect more updates on the Council’s important work in future editions of this newsletter.

Returning to the ITP, Workstream Four is focused on Data Interoperability and Regulations. This is a hugely important topic for the sector to address. Immediately following MobileTECH Ag 2020 on 9 April, a free half-day workshop is being held, Ag Data – Insights and Applications. There are a limited number of seats left, so please reserve your ticket.

As Agritech New Zealand gears up to address some of the significant opportunities now facing the country’s agritech sector, we are beginning the process of holding new elections for our Executive Council. With the recent integration of the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ), every member can take part in the election process. Details of how to engage in the process will be sent to all members soon.

Finally, as we prepare to support the delivery of the ITP we are keen to fully engage the widest representation of the sector. Opportunities like this one do not come around too often. If you have not already signed up, membership details can be found here.

I hope you can join us on this journey.

Ngā mihi,

Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand


Register for the NZ Hi-Tech Awards finalist events on 25 March. Save the date for the awards gala dinner on 22 May in Wellington.

Meet The Digital Council for Aotearoa New Zealand. Register for Future Government 2020 on 25 March in Wellington.

Interested in FinTech? Join FinTechNZ at Opportunities for New Zealand and the United Kingdom on 23 March in Auckland.

Techweek2020 is still accepting event submissions. TW20 runs 18-24 May and this year’s theme is connecting our future. Techweek is a nationwide series of events, showcasing and celebrating our tech innovation. Check out the first #Techweek2020 events

Meet Hayes Raffle on 19 May in Auckland for Adventures in Tech. Attend Where’s my Jetpack on 21 May in Auckland. Join the Christchurch Startup Weekend, 22-24 May. This year’s Code Camp Christchurch is 23 May.

The 2020 Diversity Awards celebrate the organisations championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Enter now.

Join the Edmund Hilary Fellowship’s New Frontiers 2020: Weaving Visions for a New Economy on 11-13 October in Auckland.

Have you seen the AI Forum’s report on AI for Agriculture in New Zealand?

Applications for the 2020 National Fieldays Innovations Awards close 30 April.

How connected are you? Techweek 2020 wants to know how you use tech in your everyday life.

Posted in Archive

February Newsletter – Driving Productivity, Profitability and Sustainability

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Welcome to the first AgriTech New Zealand newsletter of 2020 and what a start to the year!

Yesterday, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) published the final draft of the ITP document to their website. You can view and download it here. The recommendations contained in the final draft were due in part to the extensive feedback received from a number of regional industry workshops organised through 2019. This matters. Transformation of the country’s agritech sector will only happen if industry, the research community and the Government work together.

The ITP taskforce and AgriTech New Zealand are now planning three new workshops to share details of the actions and initiatives. Taskforce lead, David Downs, will facilitate the workshops, seeking industry input into how best to deliver the recommendations. I will share some insights of the next phase of the plan’s delivery and how AgriTech New Zealand will be supporting it.

If you want to be part of the Agritech ITP and engage directly, I strongly urge you to register for one of the three FREE workshops on 3 March in Auckland9 March in Hamilton and 10 March in Lincoln

Over the past month, the team has been working hard to build on 2019’s major achievements. The integration of the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ) into AgriTech New Zealand is well underway. We have also been developing significant new initiatives to help scale and promote the sector.

Later this month, we will publish our calendar of monthly member events which AgriTech New Zealand will be hosting across the country. In April, we will be releasing a major research report, New Zealand Agritech’s Competitive Advantage. We will also be attending the MobileTECH 2020 conference from 7-8 April in Rotorua as the key Strategic Partner.

Next week, I will be joining over 100 Kiwis travelling to Melbourne for the 2020 evokeAG conference. Building international connections is one of the key themes identified in the ITP document and as a member of the evokeAG steering committee, we have worked hard to build a significant trans-Tasman flavour. Special thanks to AgriFutures Australia for helping facilitate this. It’s also significant that four government agencies have come together to support the New Zealand delegation; Callaghan InnovationNew Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and MBIE.

The evokeAG conference also provides a unique platform for the recently formed Australia New Zealand Agritech Council to bring together industry and government representatives to identify joint opportunities to collaborate on the global stage. 

Next month, I am attending the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco. This is a key event on the international agritech calendar. I will be joining our partners from Farm2050 and taking the opportunity to meet senior representatives from another key global partner, Western Growers. Deepening these relationships not only provides New Zealand agritech companies with better access to globally connected capital and new market entry channels, they also position our sector as a global thought leader. 

It’s been quite a start then to 2020. The team is working to not only accelerate our mission to build on the purpose and opportunity provided by the ITP programme, but also to support New Zealand farmers and growers adopt the agri-technology that will help drive productivity, profitability and sustainability.

We look forward to working with you on this journey.

Wishing you a happy and relaxing festive season.

Ngā mihi,
Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
AgriTech New Zealand


Techweek2020 is now accepting event submissions. TW20 runs 18-24 May and this year’s theme is connecting our future. Techweek is a nationwide series of events, showcasing and celebrating our tech innovation.

Local tech companies are forecast to rapidly expand in 2020. Learn how FinTech can help tackle climate change. In case you missed it, read the AI Forum’s report on AI for Agriculture in New Zealand.

Entries for the NZ Hi-Tech Awards close 2 March. Save the date for the awards gala dinner on 22 May in Wellington. Applications for the 2020 National Fieldays Innovations Awards close 30 April.

Join FinTechNZ and BlockchainNZ on 26 February in Auckland and 27 February in Wellington. Connect with BioTechNZ on 28 February in Auckland.

Save the date for RegTechNZ’s State of the Nation event on 11 March in Auckland. The IoT Alliance meets on 12 March in Wellington.

Apply for Lighting Lab Tourism 2020 by 14 February. Entries for the 2020 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards close 28 February.

Join the Edmund Hilary Fellowship’s New Frontiers Summit, 24-26 February in Auckland. Register for Future Government 2020 on 25 March in Wellington.

Posted in Archive