Friday, 14 June 2024 11:55

Blender backs agri-tech startups

Written by  Staff Reporters
Throughout Fieldays, several experts from Blender will be available at their stand in the Innovation Hub to offer advice. Throughout Fieldays, several experts from Blender will be available at their stand in the Innovation Hub to offer advice.

Product design and development consultant Blender says as part of its commitment to fostering innovation in agriculture and technology, it’s sponsoring the prototype category of the Fieldays Innovation Awards for the third year in a row.

“New Zealand is globally recognised as a leader in agriculture and technology, known for our problem-solving ingenuity and sustainable practices,” says Oliver McDermott, co-founder of Blender.

“We saw an opportunity to help innovators in this space take their ideas from prototype to market. Our goal is to support the commercialisation of New Zealand’s rich IP, putting it on the world stage.”

Blender says its involvement in Fieldays underscores their passion for supporting agri-tech startups.

“We believe in the power of New Zealand’s agri-tech sector to solve big problems relating to our food systems and climate,” McDermott says.

“By supporting the Innovation Hub, we aim to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to showcase their solutions and receive the support they need to succeed.”

Throughout Fieldays, several experts from Blender will be available at their stand in the Innovation Hub to offer advice, discuss ideas, and provide insights into the product development journey. Visitors will have the opportunity to consult with Blender’s team, which specialises in everything from product strategy and innovation consulting to design, engineering and manufacturing.

Bovonic will be showcasing their product at this Fieldays after more than two years of development with support from Blender – an innovative solution for detecting mastitis in dairy cows. Developed by Liam Kampshof, Quadsense uses advanced sensors to measure milk conductivity from each teat, providing precise health insights. Initially showcased at Fieldays, the prototype is said to have received overwhelming interest from farmers, validating its market potential.

Partnering with Blender, Bovonic transitioned from a crude prototype to a polished, market-ready product. Blender guided them through design, testing, and manufacturing processes, ensuring the device’s reliability and usability in real-world farm conditions.

“Blender had the manufacturing and production capabilities, as well as the expertise we needed. I had no idea how to even begin contacting manufacturers around the world, let alone ask the right questions or negotiate terms on minimum order quantities and pricing,” says Kampshof.

“The idea of having a partner that can guide you from start to finish has been a huge positive.”

With Blender’s support, Quadsense is now poised for a broader market release, bringing a transformative tool to dairy farmers.

Blender Design supports the Fieldays Innovation Prototype Award, given to applicants with early-stage prototypes that address potential agricultural market issues and have a solid business plan.

The award includes $10,000 cash, a machine learning kit, and $5,000 worth of product design and development services from Blender.

“To us, Fieldays is not just about showcasing what’s new in the market; it’s about peeking into the future of agriculture and technology,” McDermott says.

“We invite everyone to visit us in the Innovation Hub to explore the cutting- edge solutions being developed right here in New Zealand.”

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