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Author: AgriFutures Australia

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evokeAG. is the Asia Pacific’s agrifood tech community. Covering three main themes – Food, Farm, Future – evokeAG. explores what’s next in the agrifood tech space. Featuring global leaders, industry experts with the latest in innovation, startups and investments that are impacting farm-gate output and the food-supply chain.
52 Episodes
Today we hear from the Queensland AI Hub about the endless opportunities that Artificial Intelligence offers the Australian tech industry and how we can make the most of it. AI is already creating exponential impact globally, and locally for our food and fibre supply chain, by alleviating workforce and labour shortages – a problem for Australian and global agriculture. Here our evokeAG. contributor Megan Woodward speaks with Queensland AI Hub's CEO, Sue Keay, about how AI and robotics can help take the pressure off the agrifood industry and why it's important the government and industry support the Australian tech industry to become world leaders and firmly plant Australians as makers, not just takers, of tech.We hope you enjoy their conversation. 
With more than 40 years in the venture capital game, Andy Ziolkowski – the Managing Director of US-based food and agriculture-focused venture capital firm, Cultivian Sandbox and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Cultivian Ventures – knows a good investment when he sees one.With evokeAG. 2022 around the corner Andy reflects on the bounty of opportunities in food and agriculture coming out of Australia, the important connections he’s made on his past visits, like the 2020 evokeAG. Investor Dinner, and why co-investing with Australian founders, with local knowledge, has been critical for success.Here he shares his experiences and advice for startups seeking to stand out from the pack, with our evokeAG. contributor Megan Woodward. We hope you enjoy their conversation. 
This week we speak to renowned angel investors Rachael Neumann and Kylie Frazer who joined forces to launch Flying Fox Ventures. After meeting at an industry dinner three years ago, both agree it was professional love at first sight, and the rest, as they say, is history.Flying Fox is an early-stage venture capital firm looking to back early-stage startups to help growth and scale – and for more than a year now, the duo has seen no shortage of capital available or amazing opportunities to back, despite the global pandemic.Their high-conviction and diversified portfolio includes everything from sensor technology for preg-testing cattle to a non-alcoholic beer – but Kylie admits they have a ‘soft spot’ for agritech. Our evokeAG. contributor Megan Woodward caught up with both Kylie and Rachael, to learn more about Flying Fox, what makes a great partnership and why timing is everything.
Plastic is a remarkable material, but the planetary impact has never truly been costed. While its indestructible makeup has served a multitude of benefits, it has simultaneously eroded the health of our environment.An ambitious UK spinout, Xampla has developed a next-generation plant-based alternative to replace single-use plastics and microplastics. The best part is the plant-protein-based plastic is simply metabolised when it hits the ocean or soil, offering a much safer end-to-life story.Xampla CEO, Simon Hombersley caught up with our evokeAG. contributor Casey Dunn to talk about plant protein production, circular economies and what it's like building a business for a post-plastic world in 2040. 
This week, we catch up and explore the collaboration between two agritech leaders; Phil Tickle, Co-Founder of Cibo Labs and David Smith, Co-Founder of Ceres Tag. The pair attended Beef Week 2021, where David officially launched Ceres Tag – the world’s first direct to satellite animal tracking and data platform. Since then, both companies have integrated their systems, to provide livestock farmers with valuable information on the health and location of animals, along with available pasture and feed in paddocks, an area that Cibo Labs specialises in.As Phil says, “Collaboration is the key," when it comes to agritech adoption, in the way technology is being made and being delivered to the end-user.Our regular evokeAG. contributor Judy Kennedy caught up with the pair to learn more about their partnership. Read the full story here.  
This week we take a close look at a fruitful partnership between farmer and agritech founder. Our regular evokeAG. contributor Judy Kennedy speaks with Dan Winson, Founder and CEO of Zetifi a wireless networking startup and Andrew Dumaresq, a broadacre cropping farmer, both based at Wagga Wagga, NSW. It’s a partnership that's evolved and provided a win-win situation for both Dan and Andrew. Dan has been able to test and trial his products on Andrew’s farm, learning along the way and Andrew has been able to solve his initial on-farm connectivity issues, along with adopting new technologies, as a result of reliable connectivity. Here the duo discuss their journey in working together, the importance of connectivity on-farm and how it's helping piece together the puzzle, to support agritech adoption.
This week, we speak to Emma Weston, CEO and Co-Founder of AgriDigital about blockchain technology, how it’s evolved and used across agricultural industries today, specifically grains, and how it’s empowering farmers to access value beyond the farm gate. AgriDigital’s recent integration of its farmer product, Waypath with Geora, a blockchain solutions-based company, is supporting this goal. The integration enables growers to generate a digital record of their grain inventory on the blockchain when they make a delivery, which provides greater traceability and finance security.   Our regular evokeAG. contributor Judy Kennedy caught up with Emma Weston to learn more about the partnership between AgriDigital and Geora and how tech stack integrations like this, are helping to ease the barriers to adoption – and at the end of the day, solve problems across the supply chain.  We hope you enjoy their conversation.  
This week we speak with George Peppou, the Co-Founder and CEO of Vow, a Sydney-based cultured proteins startup – cultivating a new food category. Vow is building a library of cells from a range of exotic animal species, both domesticated and undomesticated, to mix and match properties to explore what flavours, textures and nutritional profiles might best appeal to consumers. George openly discloses, he is a meat eater and enjoys a steak every once in a while. But Vow doesn't intend to copy the most commonly eaten meats: chicken, pork and beef. He concludes, “It’s about giving consumers options.” Our evokeAG. contributor Judy Kennedy caught up with George, to talk about the cultured meat revolution, the startup's global production plans and how COVID-19 has helped to accelerate biotech innovation. Read the story here. 
Two years ago, Batlow, NSW was devastated by one of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons on record. Our evokeAG. host and fellow farmer, Stephen Honner caught up with Ian Cathels, Manager of Ardrossan Orchards, at their Woodburn orchard, in the middle of their fruit picking season – to see firsthand their progress and how new technology is driving on-farm efficiencies. Stephen and Ian speak about the season,  the challenges of adopting new technology, and the lessons about a new app Ian is using called Phytec that’s helping Ian make better on-farm decisions around irrigation and ensuring he stays on track to hit his targets for the fruit market.
As the Managing Partner of Omnivore – the largest and oldest player in the Indian agritech venture scene – Mark Kahn understands what it takes to really ‘make it’ after building a venture capital firm from the ground up that’s pioneered agritech investing in India.Omnivore boasts a portfolio of more than 25 agritech startups in an economy where agriculture and agribusiness account for a quarter of India’s GDP. There are around 130 million farmers in India – and while some challenges may differ to here in Australia, India's agritech boom offers great opportunities for Australian startups to work with India on agritech, related to water and drought resilience.Our evokeAG contributor, Megan Woodward caught up with Mark to learn more about the Indian landscape and advice for Aussie startups looking to export. Read the story here. 
Did you know $20 billion of food is wasted in Australia every year? Globally, that figure is closer to $1 trillion. But how can we improve supply-chain management if we don’t know what, or where the problems are?Australian agritech startup, Escavox has a solution. It's a little blue box tracker, described as CCTV for food, that’s placed in a fresh food carton at the point of packing and travels through the supply chain capturing data on dwell time, temperature and location.It uses real-time monitoring that’s helping to cut food waste, protect premiums and improve market access for Australian farmers.Escavox’s focus to date has been on Australia, starting with horticulture in 2019, moving into the meat sector in 2020 and early seafood trials starting in 2021. Now they’ve set their sights on expansion into international export markets like southern Africa and South America.We caught up with Luke Wood, CEO, and Co-Founder of Escavox, to learn more about this technology, the wide-reaching benefits for our agricultural sectors and what the next phase of growth looks like. Read more here. 
This week, Oli Madgett, grape grower and Founder of Platfarm, talks with Sarah Nolet from AgThentic about the future forces impacting agriculture, taking a longer look at how climate volatility will not only usher in migration of people, but also shifts in growing regions and methods for production.While no one can predict the future, AgriFutures Australia, Agthentic Advisory, and the Institute for the Future have teamed up to release a report that explores what Australian food and fibre production and consumption might look like in a future shaped by the growing trends and potential disruptions that are already taking hold today. Learn more about the possibilities and our ten-year horizon for Australian agriculture here.
This week we speak with Robert Waterworth, CEO of FLINTpro; a new venture that is leveraging a growing pool of innovative environmental data technologies to help its users rapidly calculate, track and forecast greenhouse gas emissions from changes across the global land sector. In a time where natural capital accounting is becoming hugely important in addressing the challenges of climate change, FLINTpro’s software simplifies data presentation and empowers policymakers, business leaders, and investors to take action.Our evokeAG. contributor Oli Madgett caught up with Robert to discuss the FLINTpro journey and find out why now is the time for FLINTpro. 
We follow Flurosat’s journey into the US with CEO and Founder Anastasia Volkova, a young and vibrant aeronautical engineer, 2019 evokeAG. speaker and all-around star for Australian agriculture. She talks us through their market approach and early learnings, requiring a swift expansion of crop varieties to meet US farmers’ needs – now capable of monitoring any type of crop grown on Earth. The Australian crop monitoring startup now covers 10 million hectares in 45 countries – a huge uplift from 15 countries in 2019,  but it hasn't been without its challenges. Anastasia's number one tip for startups is to be targeted. “Don't tackle the US as one country, think of it as 50 different states.” Read more about her experience and opportunities in the US here. 
Ceres Tag’s world-first direct to satellite smart ear tag will equip farmers with sophisticated data to better manage their livestock, reduce risk and confidently finance agriculture. With a head start on trials in the US, Canada and Switzerland, a global e-commerce launch around the corner and SVG Ventures’ THRIVE Australia Challenge 2020 award under their belt – the sky’s the limit for the Queensland-based startup. CEO & Co-Founder David Smith speaks with us about its potential, advice for startups, and the benefits farmers can expect – who eagerly await its rollout. Read the full story here. 
Perth agritech startup, SWAN Systems’ innovative approach to water management has received global recognition as Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Pitch 2020 agtech winner. The multi-faceted solution provides a ‘data playbook’ for users across the globe to save precious resources year-on-year and achieve better yields at lower costs. We caught up with SWAN Systems’ Rod Campbell to learn more about the tech, what the award means for business going forward and what opportunities exist for expansion in the US. Rabobank’s FoodBytes!’ Nathalie Gibson also joins the conversation to talk global agritech trends, rising investment amid COVID-19 and opportunities for startups.  Read the full story here. 
Wilmot Cattle Co’s pioneering carbon credit deal with Microsoft has caught the attention of farmers, investors, corporates and everyone in between – proving that carbon farming can in fact be profitable, when measured. Stuart Austin shares his advice for others seeking to monetise their natural capital and reduce on-farm risk.Read his story here.  
Back in 1975, intangible assets accounted for 17% of corporate value, today they account for 90%. To paint a rich picture of the largely unknown world of intangible assets, we dive deep into conversation with EverEdge Assets Managing Director, Michael Masterson, Tim Hyde, CEO and Founding Director of Swan Systems and Massimo Garbuio, Associate Professor of Sydney University’s Business School to explore the risks, rewards and real-life viewpoints.We find out what intangible assets really are, how they’re valued and why agrifood companies need to safeguard these assets. 
Dynamic duo: Zetifi and AuctionsPlus, join forces to change the way livestock auctions are run, that’s fetching higher prices in the saleyards and greater productivity in the paddock. We catch up with Angus Street, CEO of AuctionsPlus, Australia’s go-to online auction platform for agricultural and livestock sales, and Dan Winson, Founder & CEO of Zetifi, a wireless networking startup, based in Wagga Wagga, where they design and manufacture long range wireless repeaters. Together, they're offering greater connectivity for users across regional Australia.  
We caught up with Ben Wynn, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Wynergy, a Tamworth-based solar energy startup, on a mission to transform Australia's solar power industry with its unique agrivoltaic design.With the innovative design, farmers will be able to run livestock and plant pastures in and around their solar panels. It's a partnership between solar companies and farmers that helps to solve the land use conflict by allowing both industries to co-exist.
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