Kiwi agriculture startup wins IBM competition

Kiwi agriculture startup wins IBM competition

Crown Research Institute-spin off CropLogic wins mentorship and access to Big Blue software and services.

Christchurch-based CropLogic won IBM's startup incubation competition, SmartCamp Australia New Zealand, IBM announced last night. Of the five finalists CropLogic was the only New Zealand-based company.

CropLogic was incorporated in late 2010 and is a commercial spin off from the Crown Research Institute, Plant and Food Research, with a mix of private and public funding.

CropLogic has an exclusive licence to use Plant and Food's research data commercially. Its 'Potato Calculator' crop management software combines the research with local weather and soil information to help farmers schedule nitrogen and water doses, and predict crop yields.

The startup has customers in New Zealand, Australia, and the US. According to CropLogic its biggest customer is Conagra, which is one of the world's largest potato processors.

Jane Hill, CEO of CropLogic, says the SmartCamp win comes as a boon to CropLogic which is heading into a new round of raising funding.

"The timing was perfect," says Hill.

The connections and critique garnered from the mentors at SmartCamp, which include technologists, business experts, and venture capitalists will help it in raising further funds she adds.

"It was an absolutely high class group of mentors and judges. Already the feedback through intensive sessions yesterday was invaluable," says Hill.

CropLogic's prize for winning SmartCamp is three month mentorship from IBM, access to IBM software and services, and networking through IBM's global business partners. In addition CropLogic moves onto the next round of competition when it faces off with companies from across Asia at a SmartCamp event in Beijing later this month.

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