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Fruit-packing robots and nanobubble farming: 5 local agrifood tech startups pitch for the future

Asia Pacific’s agrifood tech event, AgriFutures evokeᴬᴳ⋅, is fast approaching. We take a sneak peek at the startups that will be vying for investor attention with some of the most innovative ideas in farming and sustainability today.

From February 21 to 22, the 2023 evokeᴬᴳ⋅ Down to Earth event will bring together local and global investors, researchers and farmers to collaborate on the future of sustainable agrifood tech at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Kickstarting the official event program, evokeᴬᴳ⋅ 2023 launches with The Investor Pitch Dinner on Monday, February 20. This networking-based dinner gives five investment-ready Australian and New Zealand agrifood tech startups an opportunity to pitch to a room full of local and global investors.

Having previously raised capital in successful funding rounds, each startup has already established themselves in the growing market. To push their momentum further, each will present their solutions for several pressing issues that address sustainability and the longevity of our current agrifood tech industry.

More after video…

The 2023 participants represent some of the most innovative ideas in agrifood today. Each of the five startups features a female founder, as well. Let’s meet them.

Geora: Bridie Ohlsson and Cadel Watson

This New South Wales-based startup offers blockchain-based solutions for supply chains everywhere, unlocking sustainable agribusiness. Co-founded by Bridie Ohlsson and Cadel Watson, Geora uses secure data technology to track and finance local and global supply chains across the agrifood industry.

Bridie and Cadel’s practical application of tech is set to assist farmers in unlocking sustainable agribusiness, so they can focus on what they do best. Bridie, co-founder and CEO of Geora, has used her background in law and early development startups to grow her latest venture.

Nanobubble Agritech: Lauren Oehme and Leon Power

Nanobubble Agritech is a game-changing startup from New Zealand, developed by Taranaki co-founders, Lauren Oehme and Leon Power. Lauren and Leon discovered huge potential for cutting-edge nanobubble technology to be applied across agricultural irrigation systems.

Further developing the technique of pressurised dissolution of gas into liquid, Nanobubble Agritech targets irrigation water by infusing supersaturated levels of oxygen. This ground-breaking method allows the water to hold up to eight times more oxygen than usual. Using this technology for crop irrigation across the agricultural industry, can improve the growth rates and yield of produce, stretching limited resources further. In short, Nanobubble Agritech is disrupting conventional irrigation.

Eighth Day Foods: Jen Drew and Roger Drew

Founded by Jen Drew and Roger Drew, Eighth Day Foods is a Victorian-based startup developing the latest in plant-based protein technology. The company focuses largely on producing the lupin-based protein, LUPREME, a versatile and cost-effective meat alternative. This protein alternative can be grown simply, essentially using one ingredient, posing no significant supply chain demands. 

Joining the other pitching startups at this year’s Investor Pitch Dinner, Jen and Roger are looking to secure investments from like-minded partners passionate about improving food sustainability. In addition to a successful $1M seed funding round in 2022, Eighth Day Foods’ LUPREME was awarded the title of best World Plant Based Food in 2021.

LYRO Robotics: Dr Nicole Robinson, Dr Juxi Leitner and Norton Kelly-Boxall

The co-founders of this Queensland early-stage robotics company have combined their scientific knowledge and passion for sustainability to improve the post-harvest packing of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The startup is tackling the rising toll of inflation on the agricultural industry, as well as labour shortages across the country. With efficiency and round-the-clock implementations, LYRO Robotics is ready to introduce its solution to address the enormous post-harvest food wastage seen across Australia each year.  Its low-friction technology ensures food products are not damaged or wasted throughout its supply chain journey from farm to shelf, relieving people of tedious tasks.

The Leaf Protein: Fern Ho and Connor Balfany

Fern Ho and Connor Balfany’s Victoria-based protein company, the Leaf Protein Co is determined to solve the lack of biodiversity in the plant protein ingredient market. By exploring the potential of leaf protein in fuelling the population, Fern and Connor envision a future in which sustainable food sourcing will significantly impact our global food security.

By partnering with Australian farmers, The Leaf Protein sources large volumes of leafy by-products that would otherwise go to waste, mindfully extracting the protein ingredients for wider use. They combine innovative technology with a grounding belief that the most sustainable answer to the global food crisis lies within the Earth’s most abundant, yet untapped, source of protein- green leaves.

View the full two-day 2023 program here, including all speakers, partners and networking events. Tickets are on track to sell out. Purchase your tickets here.

If you are an investor who would like to attend the investor-only event please reach out to Lauren Sharkey (lauren.sharkey@agrifutures.com.au). 

This article is brought to you by Startup Daily in partnership with AgriFutures.

Feature image: AdobeStock

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