Fonterra is pushing on with a business relationship with Job Done after the digital innovation start-up company won an idea pitch.

Job Done was one of seven teams that pitched their ideas at the first Fonterra Farm Source Activate Event held at the GridAKL, in Auckland’s innovation precinct.

“This is a supplier competition to help our farmers lower input costs, save time, or increase productivity,” explains Simon Paparone, Director Global Systems & Data at Fonterra and one of the judges. “It is part of our strategy to accelerate our digital start-up ecosystem for farm innovation.”

We have transformed our IT operating model, [to] adopt a two-speed model.

Simon Paparone, Fonterra

“We have transformed our IT operating model, [to] adopt a two-speed model,” says Paparone, who is also interim CIO. “Should the innovations be viable, we would fast-track delivery through our agile delivery mode via our digital team.”

The teams spent a month developing prototypes at their own cost with a view to securing future services with the Co-operative to help farmers save time and money.

Each company worked alongside a co-operative farmer who gave practical and honest feedback to guide and shape the ideas and concepts.

Job Done was mentored by Icehouse and founded by Manawatu farmer Nigel Taylor.

They presented their new workforce management and productivity app that allows farmers to track their workers’ location in real time using GPS. This helps with compliance and replaces the need for paperwork such as timesheets.

The winning pitch

Fonterra aims to make the initiative a regular event.

The judging panel was composed of: Miles Hurrell - Group Director Cooperative Affairs; Jason Minkhorst – Director – Farm Source Stores; Paul Grave - Head of Co-operative Affairs, Waikato; Greg Kirkwood – Shareholder Councillor; Ivan Lines – Shareholder Councillor; Matt Pepper – Shareholder Councillor; Matt Bolger - GM, Farmer Innovation & Solutions; Simon Paperone - Director Global Systems & Data; and Dominic Quin - Director Marketing - Planning & Insights.

The participating teams

1. Job Done – mentored by the Icehouse

The pitch: A workforce management and productivity focused app under development by farmers for farmers.

• Nigel Taylor, Founder

• Brani Mead, Creative Developer

• Srinivasa Rao Munagala, Solutions Architect

2. Pastoral Robotics – mentored by the Icehouse

The pitch: Aims to transform unwanted, environmentally harmful nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions into more grass and more profit for dairy farmers.

• Geoff Bates, Founder

• Dr Bert Quin, Founder

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3. Old Yellow – mentored by the Icehouse

The pitch: Optimises feed inputs for dairy farmers and create a farmer to farmer marketplace that provides easy access to best quality feed at competitive prices.

• Barrie Diederiks, Founder

• Maxim Ellison, Founder

4. Senapps Technologies – mentored by the Icehouse

The pitch: A smart monitoring service that collects data on traditional farm systems and devices and then uses analytics to understand the trends, patterns and anomalies.

• Vinoo Jacob, Founder

• Richard Rodrigues, Founder

• Praneel Prasad, Founder

5. Proximity NZ

The pitch: Absorbs the day-to-day challenges and processes for farmers, with particular focus around automation, knowledge and resources.

• Amy Phillips, Director of Direct & CRM

• Wayne Pick, Creative Director

• Gavin Becker, Director Digital Business, Innovation & Technology

6. Spark Ventures

The pitch: Qrious pasture growth is a web application driven by climate input data.

• John Clarke, Head of Strategy & PMO, Spark Ventures

• Alistair Evans, Data Scientist

• Sergei Dumnov, Senior Data Scientist

7. Map of Agriculture

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The pitch: Building software to be able to create insights from collaborative benchmarking to create real actions from it.

• Ben Groundwater, Commercialisation Manager

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Fonterra farmer Olin Greenan says the winning app had great promise.

“Having more instant information and data available for my farm will definitely help me run a more efficient operation,” says Greenan.

“Some of the really important things such as compliance, environmental and employment regulations take a lot of time to track and manage. Time is very precious for farmers.”

Our brief was simple, look for new ways to help farmers with their businesses by reducing input costs, improving profitability and saving time.

Judge and Fonterra Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell welcomes the opportunity to bring more innovation to the farm.

“Our brief was simple, look for new ways to help farmers with their businesses by reducing input costs, improving profitability and saving time,” says Hurrell.

“Fonterra Activate is about exploring solutions that deliver benefits to all co-operative farms, quickly and cost effectively.”

“Job Done has a really strong idea that looks incredibly promising for helping our farmers save time and money.”

All attendees were also invited to vote in a People’s Choice Award, won by Proximity with their Dairy 360 smartphone app. Their solution connects with Fonterra’s existing app Fencepost and helps farmers manage workflow and chip away at the overwhelming tasks such as paperwork.

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