Each month, Crowe Horwath will profile the startups that have been accepted into the 2017 SproutX Accelerator program.
SproutX is a joint venture between Findex and the National Farmer’s Federation. It’s an innovation hub and startup accelerator designed specifically for the Agtech sector- the first of its kind in Australia.
SproutX focuses on nurturing startups and entrepreneurs to help transform the country’s $60 billion agriculture sector by helping solve a broad range of problems in the industry, using innovative solutions.
11 startup teams have been selected to join this year’s SproutX program; each receive $40,000 in capital, access to ongoing mentoring from industry experts and office space for six months.
The core focus of SproutX is about bringing together the entire agtech ecosystem across Australia into one place. This includes government, corporate, investment, entrepreneurs, industry, and of course the most important stakeholder; the farmer.
This month, we introduce you to www.snaptrap.com.au and talk with their founder Kim Khor.
Q. What is your startup and what problem is it solving for the agriculture industry?
‘SnapTrap is a system for remote monitoring of pest insect traps. The first version is specifically aimed at eliminating Fruit Fly, and helping to protect horticulture production.
The SnapTrap system adds a camera and other sensors to an existing trap – in this case, the Lynfield trap, which is used for Fruit Fly surveillance. That augmented trap is connected to the Internet and data is collected from the trap, including photos of the trap contents.
This online system allows growers and trap monitors to review multiple traps from a laptop or smart-phone, at any time convenient to them. Generally this is to detect the presence and timing of pest insects caught in the trap.’
Q. Tell us more about your enterprise and what inspired this idea?
‘We are passionate fruit growers (cherries, apples, stonefruit) and we created this system for our own orchards. There is always something more to do in a farming business. We were struggling to stay on top of monitoring and record keeping, and we weren’t exploiting the data for production improvement. So we thought, why not make a machine do some of the work?
Fruit Fly activity is a major problem for horticulture, and the cause of much lost opportunity. So we made a project of applying our technology to the Fruit Fly situation and set about finding a business case that would increase Australia’s fruit exports.
This process is inspiring because we can feel the enthusiasm around horticulture export opportunity. There is really good engagement and leadership in this space. Seeing the layers of work coming from so many diverse disciplines is energising. It’s a great area to work in.’
Q. What hurdles have you faced and conquered on your startup journey so far?
‘A number of technical challenges have happened as we try to make frugal cost assessments while still improving the capabilities of the product. These are stressful growing stages but it’s just the nature of technology and ongoing improvement.
Funding the project and getting structure around it has also been difficult and distracting. The SproutX accelerator is the most wonderful thing for the Australian agtech sector. This program is giving us structure to create good rigour in our projects, and it is creating opportunities for potential stakeholders to see the achievements and get involved. It’s already a big, strong community.’
How can interested clients, farmers, or investors contact you?
The website has some info and some more articles.
The best way to get in touch is via the web contact form – we are out in the field most of the time.