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SWAN Systems, a precision irrigation and fertiliser platform founded by Western Australian farmers has won the global agtech category of international start-up competition, FoodBytes! Pitch 2020.
SWAN Systems and NSW ag-tech startup ProAgni were among the 15 finalists selected from an original field of nearly 340 applications from across 14 countries, based on their innovative solutions to major food system challenges. ProAgni produces antibiotic-free feed supplements for cattle and sheep that significantly improve productivity.
The SWAN platform helps growers schedule, monitor, and optimize management of water, nutrients, and crop health to improve economic and environmental outcomes. The technology transforms historical, current and predictive data from multiple sources into actionable insights – guiding farmers to apply the right amount of water and nutrients, at the right time.
The FoodBytes! judges recognized the cutting- edge nature of SWAN’s technology and its potential for significant impact on the key issue of water management.
“Water scarcity is a growing problem, and we need to be smarter about how we produce food, so this honour from FoodBytes! Pitch is about much more than an award to us,” said Rod Campbell, executive chairman, SWAN Systems.
“Rabobank’s validation is a powerful force for engaging new customers and scaling our impact on sustainable agriculture. Our team has been amazed at the quality and breadth of connections we’ve made through FoodBytes! as we look to raise capital, and ultimately expand into North America.”
The virtual pitch competition marked the culmination of Rabobank’s redesigned FoodBytes! Pitch startup discovery program, which helps entrepreneurs scale their impact in solving food system challenges through mentorship and connections to corporate and investor members – who in turn gain access to a vetted pipeline of startups aligned with their innovation goals. Winners received a cash prize of $10,000 and consulting support to contribute to their business growth.
Rabobank Australia Head of Innovation, Knowledge & Networks Nathalie Gibson said SWAN Systems stood out from a strong global field of applicants, based on the “innovative solutions they had developed to contribute to a more sustainable and efficient food supply”.
“I’m thrilled that the SWAN Systems team is being recognised on the global stage for its data insights around water, helping deliver smarter resource management to growers and irrigators in Australia. I wish them all the best with growing their business internationally with a focus on the important topic of water management to help our food supply,” she said.
This year’s winner of the Consumer Food & Beverage (CPG) Award was Agricycle Global (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) for Innovation in Food Loss Mitigation and the winner of the Food Tech Award was Envara Health (Wayne, Pennsylvania) for Innovation in Clinical Nutrition.
The 15 FoodBytes! Pitch finalists participated in a series of mentorship sessions before the pitch competition where they received deeper mentorship and connection opportunities with FoodBytes! Pitch corporate and investor members, as well as Rabobank experts. All 45 FoodBytes! Pitch startups now become a permanent part of the FoodBytes! network of 350+ startups – with ongoing connections to corporate leaders and investors, and support from Rabobank.