Australia’s booming agtech scene is attracting attention from domestic and international investors. With its disruptive approach to logistics and the supply chain, AgriDigital may be the first local start-up to scale into a globe-straddling behemoth.
Although they’ve proved serviceable for millennia, agricultural supply chains have their shortcomings. Four years ago, three farm-owning serial entrepreneurs decided to harness an emerging technology to address just that.
“In late 2015, my co-founders and I were looking to start a business that could solve a large problem,” AgriDigital’s Emma Weston says. “Collectively, the three of us have 85 years’ experience working in agriculture and are all too aware of supply-chain issues such as transaction security, payment security, lack of digitisation, data fragmentation and food fraud.”
“Then there are the related issues, such as most farmers (and many SME traders and site operators) being unfinanced or underfinanced because the way traditional supply chains operate makes it difficult for them to provide timely financial data to lenders.”
Weston and her partners, Bob McKay and Ben Reid, suspected an emerging technology that was starting to attract a lot of attention could prove to be a magic bullet.
“The standard way of handling transactions,” Weston explains, “has been for buyers and sellers to each separately record details of transactions using ink and paper. Or, more recently, an Excel spreadsheet or bespoke software program. This involves a lot of data replication and reconciliation, as well as opportunities for mistakes or mendacity to creep in.”