Food, Fibre and Agritech Awards Serves Up Tasty Selection

FFA Challenge finalists and programme facilitators

Last week saw the culmination of an eight week accelerator journey for our Food, Fibre and Agritech Supernode Challenge participants. The programme was designed and supervised by Dr Rachel Wright at University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) and was co-presented by ThincLab advisors Paul Spence, Geoff Brash and Neil Hamilton with the support of facilitator Michelle Polglase and back office crews from UCE and B.Linc.

The grand finale offered up a diverse selection of early stage companies with an amazing array of skills and technologies. All of the company founders in the programme will be offered pathways to continue their learning and to receive further support within the Canterbury innovation ecosystem.

Category winners on the night were as follows:

Clarospec | Founder, Cameron Craigie, AgResearch

Clarospec enables measurement of meat quality information for feedback to producers to optimise lamb supply, and processors and exporters to differentiate lamb products for key markets.
Overall winner, On-Farm Systems ($13,000) and Research Grand Prize ($30,000)

KarbenFibre | Founder, Maryam Shojaei, University of Canterbury

Flow batteries are one of the most promising technologies for large scale energy storage due to their long life, simplicity, and flexibility. KarbenFibre utilises the chemistry and texture of natural fibres to produce optimised electrodes that have the potential to reduce the capital cost of flow batteries by 30 percent.
Overall winner, Value-Added Product ($13,000) and Research Runner Up ($15,000)

Genesmith | Founder, Dr Mark Ferguson, neXtgen Agri Ltd

Genesmith is on a mission to deploy facial recognition and machine learning to the global livestock industry. They are starting with kiwi sheep farmers with a focus on unlocking the latent potential in the industry by identifying and selecting the animals that are best suited to the farming system.
Enterprise Grand Prize ($30,000)

Happy Cow Milk | Founder, Glen Herud

Happy Cow Milk Co is developing a milk factory in a box! This internet enabled device will allow farmers to become fully compliant milk processors. This enables farmers to sell their milk directly to their local community using 100% reusable packaging.
Enterprise Runner Up ($15,000) and Top Small Business Award ($5,000)

Lateral | Founder, Lisa Lewis, Ecolibrium Biologicals Ltd

A novel, bacteria-based bioprotectant that controls caterpillar pests in a range of crops. It has a dual mode of action which will improve efficacy and mitigate resistance, as well as being safer for the user, environment and food chain.
Out of Canterbury Award ($5,000) and Sprout Prize (return trip to the Sprout partners’ accelerator selection event)

MET System | Founders, Aidan Smith and Connor Read, Starc Developments

Agricultural output is heavily dependent on favourable weather conditions, too often we see weather spikes decimate yields. The MET (Measure, Evaluate, Trigger) System enables set and forget automation of weather-dependent tasks eliminating the damage caused by unforeseen weather.
Winner Enterprise Commendation ($5,000)

Beever | Founder, James Sunshine

Beever is an application that connects farmers with casual and relief workers. Beever provides a streamlined way for farmers to quickly organise a job at the touch of a button.
Top Tertiary Team Award winner ($2,000)

The Food Fibre & Agritech Supernode Challenge is brought to you by:

ThincLab Canterbury is a founder-led business incubator that supports ambitious founders to validate, build and scale business ideas and to commercialise new knowledge and create extraordinary economic value across the region. Companies from within the universities, CRIs and private enterprise across the region are welcome to apply.