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  • 12 Nov 2021 8:37 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    We’re thrilled to share that Emrod has been accepted as a member of Greentown Labs, the largest Climatetech startup incubator in North America. Greentown Labs’ members, partners, and staff are united by a common mission: solving the climate crisis through entrepreneurship and collaboration.

    We’ll be joining a community of over 190 climate tech pioneers and gaining access to partners, software and business resources, member-only events and Greentown Labs Investor Program, to support Emrod through its next stage of growth. Greentown startups have cumulatively raised more than $1.5B in funding, created more than 7,800 jobs and generated more than $1.56B in regional economic impact.

    We’re excited to become a part of Greentown Labs and to collaborate in working to design a more sustainable world.

    https://emrod.energy/

  • 10 Nov 2021 1:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson has agreed to sell Wellington-based Weta Digital's tech division by the end of the year to a 3D game-development company based in the United States.

    The deal is worth nearly NZ$2.3 billion.

    US-based Unity Software has said it will use the purchase to "unlock the full potential of the metaverse" by making Weta Digital's sophisticated visual effects tools, which it described as currently being "incredibly exclusive", available to creators and artists around the world.

    In a statement released by Unity, Jackson touted the forthcoming sale as "nothing short of game changing".

    "Weta Digital's tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations," he said. "Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools.

    "Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital's technology will be nothing short of game changing, and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life."

    Jackson co-founded Weta Digital in Wellington in 1993 alongside Sir Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk to help bring his special-effects-heavy movie Heavenly Creatures to life.

    Since then, the company has won industry acclaim, including six Oscars for visual effects on movies including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Avatar. The company has also played a large role in digitally savvy remakes of King Kong, The Jungle Book and the Planet of the Apes series.

    In a company blog announcing the acquisition, Unity said today the Weta Digital service teams "will continue as a standalone entity known as WetaFX and will become Unity's largest customer in the media and entertainment space".

    Jackson will still majority own WetaFX, and current Weta Digital CEO Prem Akkaraju will run it.

    Unity, meanwhile, will be the new employer for 275 of Weta Digital's current engineers "known for architecting, building, and maintaining Weta Digital tools and core pipeline" as well as current Weta Digital chief technology officer Joe Marks.

    The company will also control a number of digital effects tools developed by Weta Digital over the years - including Manuka, Gazebo, Barbershop, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid and Koru - and "a foundational data platform for interoperable 3D art creation, making it easy for hundreds of artists to work seamlessly together;".

    Unity senior vice president and general manager Marc Whitten described "the brilliance of Peter Jackson and the entire team at Weta Digital" as "incredibly inspirational" to his company.

    "I remember when the first preview of Fellowship [of the Ring] landed in the theatres — just the preview, mind you, not the actual film — and how the hair on the back of my neck stood up," he wrote today. "It's an experience that I would find myself having over and over again with Caesar, the Na'vi, King Kong, and in many films where I didn't even know Weta Digital was behind the great work.

    "I was a fan before I fully appreciated the genius of Peter Jackson and knew the depth of the expertise and talent housed in this New Zealand-based studio."

    Today's announcement comes amid a flurry of deals over the past year in which New Zealand tech companies were sold to overseas buyers. Just over a month ago it was revealed that Wellington's A44 Games - one of New Zealand's top video gaming developers, founded by Weta Digital alumnus Derek Bradley - was sold to UK-based venture Kepler Interactive.

    Other offshore tech sales this year have included robotics-specialist Rocos' sale to a US firm, the $100m+ sale of EzyVet, plus the sale of Vend ($455m), Timely ($135m), Seequent ($1.45b), mobile gaming outfit Ninja Kiwi ($203m), Education Perfect (in a majority-control deal valuing the firm at $455m) and the $500m Hawaiki Cable, while December saw the sale of local retail hero Mighty Ape to Australia's Kogan for $128m.

    Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/

  • 09 Nov 2021 4:11 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Westgold butter has started rolling off the new line at Westland Milk Products’ Hokitika factory following a $40m investment that has doubled production capacity.

    The company, owned by Chinese dairy giant Yili, produced around 42,000 tonnes of butter annually but following the plant upgrade a greater proportion of this would be high-margin premium grass-fed butter rather than bulk commodity butter – a strategy to manage a future of flat milk volumes.

    Westland planned to increase market penetration of Westgold butter in its existing 20 global retail and foodservice markets and pursue new territories that offered the best value, including potentially the UK in the wake of the recent proposed Free Trade Agreement.

    General manager of sales and marketing Hamish Yates said that the US is a “focus market” for the group, which has annual revenue of around $800m and is about one-twentieth the size of Fonterra.

    The US is one of the world’s largest importers of butter alongside China and Russia, with the trio driving global butter and spread sales from a current estimated $US44tn to a forecast $US59tn by 2025.

    Westland has been in US foodservice since around 2017 largely in the cruise line sector, which meant it side-stepped eye-watering dairy tariffs. After four years of negotiations, it made its entry into retail last year where the margins for premium grass-fed butter are attractive enough to wear the taxes.

    “When you are working with large volume retailers – some of the biggest retailing brands in the world – you have to take time beyond that initial pitch to show them the proposition and gain some trust,” Yates said.

    “You have to be able to offer differentiation from their current product mix and give them confidence around your ability to scale and that all takes time.”

    Westgold is now on the shelf at two mainstream US supermarkets – although contractually Yates is not able to name them – as well as undertaking private label business for some US retailers.

    The focus now was on driving bricks and mortar sales by raising the profile of Westgold with US consumers, who were increasingly informed about premium grass-fed New Zealand butter following the entry of other Kiwi players such as Lewis Road.

    “We are very much focused on the grass-fed element of Westgold… versus what is in the US – a very traditional grain-fed dairy industry,” Yates said.

    “The keto diet has really bought out lots of label reading and people digging in to find out more about their food so having such a high percentage [around 95%] of grass-fed in our raw milk supply means our product can stand out from the rest even some of those long-standing brands that have been in the US.

    A direct-to-consumer strategy was also pencilled in, but not immediately.

    “Like everyone, we are looking at a D2C strategy and how that might work – being in the chilled category is a little bit tougher but people are doing it. It is not part of our short-term strategy but medium term we are keen to get into that, particularly in the US and China where they are massive adopters of D2C.”

    Globally, Yates said the company had a diversified portfolio of markets to protect, although he declined to comment on the balance of the mix or what percentage of sales came from China, where it supplied parent company Yili’s brands, alongside selling direct.

    To this end it has strong markets in unexpected pockets of the world.

    “We have a really large presence have had for a long time in Azerbaijan in Eastern Europe – that is an incredibly important market for us, and we are looking to expand into other regions in Eastern Europe as time allows and the scale we have now got with our new production facility.”

    And the recent proposed free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK means the company is expediating plans for an entry.

    “The UK has been on our radar,” Yates said.

    “The profile of New Zealand as an origin among British consumers is really high, our wine and lamb exports speak to that and the products are really well regarded, but obviously the trade barriers in the form of those tariffs are actually untenable in terms of hitting a retail price point.”

    Post-UK FTA, Westland would be rolling out the strategy “that we know has worked for us” in the US, Australia and Japan, particularly for grass-fed New Zealand origin with a focus on retail butter and foodservice butter.

    Yates said due diligence has prompted the company to start scoping logistics partners and other aspects of route-to-market inside the UK, keeping them in hold mode until the timing of the NZ-UK FTA is confirmed.

    Source:  https://www.foodticker.co.nz/

  • 05 Nov 2021 11:22 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AmChams Urge President Biden to Announce Plans to Join CPTPP

    APEC Ideal Forum to Announce Return of US Engagement on Trade

    5 November -- As leaders of the U.S. business community in key Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries, we see first-hand how U.S. companies, farmers, workers, and investors have been disadvantaged since the United States pulled out of the TPP nearly five years ago.

    As President Biden prepares to attend his first Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting hosted by New Zealand, we call on him to announce that the United States will begin the process of joining the CPTPP.

    The CPTPP remains the highest-standard multilateral agreement in existence, a result of being drafted when the United States served as one of the lead negotiators. Even after the United States withdrew from the agreement, the remaining countries kept the cornerstones of the agreement intact by including tough rules of origin, reducing tariffs, making supply chains more resilient, and agreeing on accession procedures for new candidates.

    The longer the United States remains on the sidelines and debates how to move forward on trade, the further it falls behind and cedes leadership in the region as the trade architecture continues to develop, such as with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership coming into force in January with six members of ASEAN joining Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand in approving entry. The more the United States stands on the sidelines, the more U.S. companies face competitive disadvantages on their exports to this fast-growing consumer market, and the more American workers pay for the products their families need.

    During a visit to Singapore in August, Vice President Harris announced the U.S. offer to host the APEC meetings in 2023. Our business associations, based in countries which have all hosted APECs, recognize this rare opportunity for the United States to set the APEC agenda and build consensus on issues that affect U.S. growth, exports, and jobs, as well as influence the region’s trade and sustainability agenda.

    The United States cannot provide this leadership absent from the region’s most important trade agreement. We call on President Biden to announce that the United States will join the CPTPP, with a goal of achieving the necessary domestic and international consensus to do so by the time the United States hosts APEC in 2023.

    Each of our AmChams stand ready to work constructively with the United States government to achieve and demonstrate the benefits joining the agreement will bring to US businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers by ensuring a level playing field, addressing key needs to operate in the digital economy and to conduct business sustainably.

    * * *

  • 05 Nov 2021 10:38 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Fonterra has teamed up with world-leading US biotechnology company VitaKey to develop a portfolio of designer dairy products as part of its drive up the value chain.

    The dairy cooperative has contracted the company founded by biotech entrepreneur and co-founder of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna, Dr Robert Langer, to work on its probiotic strains initially.

    VitaKey specialised in precision delivery of nutrition – an emerging area of research that seeks to deliver the right nutrients, in the right amount, to the right part of the body at the right time. Its Langer Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the largest academic biomedical engineering lab in the world.

    Fonterra said it was looking to design dairy products that incorporated targeted and time-controlled release of specific dairy nutrients, starting with probiotics, but with other additions such as vitamin D also on its radar. The exporter also wanted to extend the shelf life of these products.

    No price was given for the contract.

    The collaboration is part of the dairy giant’s strategic reset, which would see it transition away from its commodity ingredients business and invest in its higher value active living ingredients business.

    As part of its 2030 plan, Fonterra said it planned to increase its investment in research and development by more than 50% to $160m a year by 2030. It earmarked $60m of that to develop active living products for advanced sports, active, healthy ageing and medical nutrition ingredients.

    “By partnering with VitaKey, we aim to ‘make nature better’ by combining the goodness of our New Zealand milk with VitaKey’s technology,” Fonterra’s Asia Pacific region chief executive Judith Swales said.

    “In this way, we can really drive our Active Living business by appealing to the growing health and wellness consumer segment that desire the maximum functional benefits from food and are motivated by scientific credibility.”

    It also allowed Fonterra to do more with less at a time when milk volumes were stagnating, and could possibly decrease in the future.

    “Because the nutrients are encapsulated and highly targeted, it also means we can use less milk in our production, making our milk go further while reducing food waste,” Swales added.

    Fonterra said the first step in the collaboration aimed to stabilise probiotics and deliver them to the digestive tract.

    This would leverage related technology from MIT developed in Langer Lab – the same technology that NASA might use one day to deliver probiotics to astronauts in a planned mission to Mars.

    Fonterra has one of the largest dairy culture libraries in the world with more than 40,000 strains at its Palmerston North Research and Development Centre.

    Two of these strains, LactoB 001 and BifidoB 019, address key health concerns such as digestive issues and immunity and are recognised as being in the top five global probiotics.

    The VitaKey delivery platform has already been shown to preserve and enhance 11 different micronutrients, including Vitamin D, A, B12, and C as well as iron, zinc, niacin, and folic acid.

    Fonterra said it would be looking to use the VitaKey technology across a range of micronutrients, such as Vitamin D, and introduce them into its products.

    Dr Robert Langer has extensive experience in commercialising science, resulting in more than 40 biotech companies worth an estimated market value of $250bn, earning him the reputation of being the founding father of drug delivery and controlled-release technology.

    He said his vision for Fonterra and VitaKey working together was “to do something that really can change the world, rather than something incremental”.

    Source: https://www.foodticker.co.nz/

  • 03 Nov 2021 3:47 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Off the back of impressive growth and an extremely strong market position, Hectre, the New Zealand based orchard management and fruit sizing software company, has just completed a funding round which will see both its team and its product innovation capability expand significantly.

    The NZD$3.5m pre-series A funding round was heavily oversubscribed, testament to the value investors are placing on the agritech startup.

    “It’s a wonderful position to be in. To have that level of support and interest in what we’re achieving, our market position, and our future strategy, is both exciting and truly humbling,” says Hectre CEO and Co-founder Matty Blomfield.

    On a mission to empower the planet’s growers with the world’s simplest orchard technologies and with a pre-money valuation of NZ$18.5m, Hectre’s existing investors took the opportunity to increase their share further during the raise, and a line up of new investors joined as Hectre gets set to scale up.

    New investors include WM Borton Investments LLC, an investment Company for the Borton Family (of Borton Fruit), Count Maximilian Kolowrat-Krakowsky, of the noble Kolowrat family, and Ivan Seselj, founder of global success story, Promapp.

    Borton Fruit has witnessed first-hand the value Hectre’s products deliver, having implemented the Hectre app to support their orchard management and fruit sizing processes across numerous fruit farms in Washington State.

    “Hectre’s ability to create technology at this level, from a modest capital budget, really impressed us. The platform and tools they’ve built support fruit growers of all sizes, from small family farms, to large integrated global fruit institutions. At the farm and payroll level we know what we need today, but Hectre is building the tools and data sets that we hope to utilize on our farms tomorrow. This modernization, paired with amazing scalability, is a rare combination in the agritech space. We believe Hectre’s dedication to constant innovation provides a significant competitive advantage and aligns well with our own approach to business,” says Byron Borton, Chief Visionary Officer at Borton Fruit.

    Hectre’s commitment to clever simplicity – creating meaningful technology with user simplicity at the forefront – is a strong point of difference in the agritech marketplace and has been a cornerstone to their global growth. “In an industry like horticulture, it’s not enough to just create awesome technology. You’ve got to have your eye firmly fixed on the end user, what their level of tech experience may be, what languages they use, and how they learn,” states Blomfield.

    The capital raise will see Hectre expand its talent pool from a current team of 21, to 31, within the next six months and will further support their well recognised pace of innovation.

    “The entirety of our development is undertaken inhouse, enabling us to carefully control and protect the quality and user simplicity of the products we offer to our customers. We’ll be adding further talent to our R&D team, assisting us to increase the speed of our innovation cycle, so we can deliver even more meaningful solutions to fruit growers and packers around the globe,” adds Blomfield.

    For Seselj, who led Promapp, a NZ bred cloud-based business process management software company, from startup to eventual acquisition by software giant Nintex, it’s Hectre’s agritech roots that caught his interest. “I love that Hectre is yet another example of NZ innovators taking it to the world and revolutionising global horticultural practices. Hectre have created clever tech that challenges traditional growing approaches, improves grower yields, supports the success and sustainability of this extremely hard-working sector, and in these times of climate change, assists growers to mitigate the environmental impacts of their operations.”

    The company’s technology solutions are now being used in 11 countries, including leading fruit producers, the US, Spain, and South Africa. In addition to R&D expansion, further capacity will be added to Hectre’s sales and marketing and customer success teams, as they respond to growing market demand.

    The Prague-based Kolowrat family has a long history of investing in agriculture. The Kolowrat estate adopted Hectre in its orchards earlier this year, and Count Kolowrat-Krakowsky was so impressed by the product that he joined Hectre as an investor. “Mounting headwinds - greater yield variability due to climate change, rising operating costs, increasing global competition - are forcing growers and packers to maximize their operational efficiencies. Digital innovation will be the key to overcoming these challenges, and I’m incredibly excited to support Hectre in enabling that transformation.” Given Count Kolowrat-Krakowsky's extensive connections and expertise in European markets, the relationship will yield valuable insights as Hectre continues with its global expansion.

    And as demand grows, so do the accolades, with Hectre recently announced as winners in the global AgTech Breakthrough Awards program. “This awards program recognizes the very best of new innovators and disruptors who are addressing the biggest challenges in the global agricultural ecosystem today,” noted Bryan Vaughn, Managing Director, AgTech Breakthrough. Other winners included Bayer, Semios and Benson Hill.

    “Many of our existing shareholders have been with us on our journey since the outset. We would like to thank them wholeheartedly for their fantastic support and also wish to extend a warm Hectre welcome to our new shareholders, as they join us in our mission to support the success of fruit growers and packers around the globe,” adds Blomfield.

    For more information, please contact: Kylie Hall Hectre Tel: +64 27419 8322 kylie@hectre.com / hectre.com

  • 03 Nov 2021 11:44 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    After making strong traction in the South Australian viticulture industry, Christchurch agritech scaleup Onside is now eyeing up an entry into the huge markets of California and Europe.

    Onside’s digital check-in software was developed in 2016 to connect rural contractors and property managers to improve operations, communications, compliance and biosecurity, and to streamline the flow of information needed for visitor management, health and safety and biosecurity on farms, orchards, ag and horticultural facilities. Onside has now evolved into a comprehensive operations software for rural sectors globally.

    Co-founder and CEO Ryan Higgs says a classic example of the type of challenge Onside can solve played out on a client’s orchard not long ago when bird control was taking place with a shotgun. Incoming staff and visitors needed to know about the danger amongst the trees ahead, and Onside was used to alert all affected parties.

    Other use cases have included Hawke’s Bay winery Regional Field Technician Leigh Penman, who uses Onside to deliver uniform health and safety inductions for a busy rotation of contractors on the estate. Greystone Wines has also been using Onside, in their case employing the app to summarise risks and incidents and capture relevant information immediately when near-misses happen.

    Over the ditch, Tasmania’s Redbank Farming has been using Onside to allow people to sign in anywhere on its vast properties – particularly handy for expansive farms which don’t have their office always manned, and especially relevant during a time of Covid spreading.

    Patchy rural cellular networks are an obstacle Onside has learned to overcome, as the platform has been set up to operate seamlessly offline, store key information on the user’s device, and sync with the cloud when back in service.

    Onside’s main vision, though, is to create a global rural network to revolutionise biosecurity because the data generated by the digital check-in app combines with network algorithms to enable entire industries to get ready for and respond to potentially catastrophic biosecurity incursions.

    Onside can narrow down locations that have a high impact on spreading pests and diseases, so testing and monitoring can be taken care of proactively and so real-time responses to biosecurity predicaments can go ahead. This network science innovation won Onside a Bio-Protection Research Centre Science Award at the NZ Biosecurity Awards 2020.

    The idea for Onside came from co-founders, Ryan Higgs, Juliet Maclean and Michael Falconer while they worked at Synlait Farms, a business Maclean co-founded.

    Synlait had 13 farms, 13,000 cows and hundreds of people coming and going from the properties each day. “We couldn’t find a simple way to know who was on our properties, what they were there to do, how to get in touch with them and how to easily provide information about the property including hazards, so we decided to develop something that would work in the agri sector,” Higgs told NZ Entrepreneur.

    The biosecurity technology has been built with US-based scientist Hautahi Kingi, who Higgs met in a very Kiwi way: while playing a game of touch rugby. This occurred while the pair were studying towards their Ph.D’s at Cornell University in New York. Kingi, whose day job is a research scientist at Facebook, continues to develop Onside’s algorithms in collaboration with Onside’s Christchurch-based R&D team.

    Falconer and Maclean continue on Onside’s board of directors, alongside Neil Fletcher, CEO of Invert Robotics, plus revenue growth expert Fallon Savery, who has worked with Vend and Auror.

    Today one of Onside’s most rewarding avenues of growth is the viticulture sector of South Australia – a strong result considering Onside only launched in Australia in July 2021.

    After Australia, Onside will likely bring its solutions to the growing areas of inland California, from where billions of dollars of crops are produced – for example, the industry for almonds alone is worth $US6bn.

    The problem Onside is solving has been validated by the recent KPMG agribusiness agenda which for the 11th year in a row, highlighted having a world-class biosecurity as the number one priority for industry leaders. “The global agricultural sector is as big as transport, it’s worth trillions, it’s massive,” Higgs says.

    “There are billions of dollars of people’s livelihoods that need protecting, which is what we are inspired to do.”

    Onside is finding itself warmly welcomed into the market for solving such problems, Higgs says. “We’ve been surprised how keen the Australians are to put tech into their viticulture businesses.”

    Public and private supporters certainly see the merit in Onside’s business case. The company has received competitive grants from Callaghan Innovation and AgMARDT, recently raised $2.5m in investment capital, doubled its revenue in the past 12 months and now has over 12,000 properties in NZ, the UK and Australia ‘onside’ – with expansion into America and Europe the next markets after that.

    Story created in partnership with NZ Growth Capital Partners.

    Source: https://nzentrepreneur.co.nz/

  • 31 Oct 2021 6:07 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Off the back of impressive growth and an extremely strong market position, Hectre, the New Zealand based orchard management and fruit sizing software company, has just completed a funding round which will see both its team and its product innovation capability expand significantly.

    The NZD$3.5m pre-series A funding round was heavily oversubscribed, testament to the value investors are placing on the agritech startup.

    “It’s a wonderful position to be in. To have that level of support and interest in what we’re achieving, our market position, and our future strategy, is both exciting and truly humbling,” says Hectre CEO and Co-founder Matty Blomfield.

    On a mission to empower the planet’s growers with the world’s simplest orchard technologies and with a pre-money valuation of NZ$18.5m, Hectre’s existing investors took the opportunity to increase their share further during the raise, and a line up of new investors joined as Hectre gets set to scale up.

    New investors include WM Borton Investments LLC, an investment Company for the Borton Family (of Borton Fruit), Count Maximilian Kolowrat-Krakowsky, of the noble Kolowrat family, and Ivan Seselj, founder of global success story, Promapp.

    Borton Fruit has witnessed first-hand the value Hectre’s products deliver, having implemented the Hectre app to support their orchard management and fruit sizing processes across numerous fruit farms in Washington State.

    “Hectre’s ability to create technology at this level, from a modest capital budget, really impressed us. The platform and tools they’ve built support fruit growers of all sizes, from small family farms, to large integrated global fruit institutions. At the farm and payroll level we know what we need today, but Hectre is building the tools and data sets that we hope to utilize on our farms tomorrow. This modernization, paired with amazing scalability, is a rare combination in the agritech space. We believe Hectre’s dedication to constant innovation provides a significant competitive advantage and aligns well with our own approach to business,” says Byron Borton, Chief Visionary Officer at Borton Fruit.

    Hectre’s commitment to clever simplicity – creating meaningful technology with user simplicity at the forefront – is a strong point of difference in the agritech marketplace and has been a cornerstone to their global growth. “In an industry like horticulture, it’s not enough to just create awesome technology. You’ve got to have your eye firmly fixed on the end user, what their level of tech experience may be, what languages they use, and how they learn,” states Blomfield.

    The capital raise will see Hectre expand its talent pool from a current team of 21, to 31, within the next six months and will further support their well recognised pace of innovation.

    “The entirety of our development is undertaken inhouse, enabling us to carefully control and protect the quality and user simplicity of the products we offer to our customers. We’ll be adding further talent to our R&D team, assisting us to increase the speed of our innovation cycle, so we can deliver even more meaningful solutions to fruit growers and packers around the globe,” adds Blomfield.

    For Seselj, who led Promapp, a NZ bred cloud-based business process management software company, from startup to eventual acquisition by software giant Nintex, it’s Hectre’s agritech roots that caught his interest. “I love that Hectre is yet another example of NZ innovators taking it to the world and revolutionising global horticultural practices. Hectre have created clever tech that challenges traditional growing approaches, improves grower yields, supports the success and sustainability of this extremely hard-working sector, and in these times of climate change, assists growers to mitigate the environmental impacts of their operations.”

    The company’s technology solutions are now being used in 11 countries, including leading fruit producers, the US, Spain, and South Africa. In addition to R&D expansion, further capacity will be added to Hectre’s sales and marketing and customer success teams, as they respond to growing market demand.

    The Prague-based Kolowrat family has a long history of investing in agriculture. The Kolowrat estate adopted Hectre in its orchards earlier this year, and Count Kolowrat-Krakowsky was so impressed by the product that he joined Hectre as an investor. “Mounting headwinds - greater yield variability due to climate change, rising operating costs, increasing global competition - are forcing growers and packers to maximize their operational efficiencies. Digital innovation will be the key to overcoming these challenges, and I’m incredibly excited to support Hectre in enabling that transformation.” Given Count Kolowrat-Krakowsky's extensive connections and expertise in European markets, the relationship will yield valuable insights as Hectre continues with its global expansion.

    And as demand grows, so do the accolades, with Hectre recently announced as winners in the global AgTech Breakthrough Awards program. “This awards program recognizes the very best of new innovators and disruptors who are addressing the biggest challenges in the global agricultural ecosystem today,” noted Bryan Vaughn, Managing Director, AgTech Breakthrough. Other winners included Bayer, Semios and Benson Hill.

    “Many of our existing shareholders have been with us on our journey since the outset. We would like to thank them wholeheartedly for their fantastic support and also wish to extend a warm Hectre welcome to our new shareholders, as they join us in our mission to support the success of fruit growers and packers around the globe,” adds Blomfield.

    www.hectre.com

  • 31 Oct 2021 3:24 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    IP-licensing company, Hammerforce, has signed a multi-million dollar exclusive global licencing agreement with a FTSE100 company that will lead to the design and delivery of a range of fully customised end-products that use Hammerforce’s ground-breaking valve technology.

    Hammerforce CEO, Andy Coster, talking from the London office, said “Securing another multi-year partnership deal with a leading global company in a completely different industry is further proof that our novel valve technology is transforming the way many industrial sectors operate.

    “Hammerforce’s patented valve system has novel features which allow improved designs in two distinct types of valve application. The first is in flow control valves where the unique balancing and compact size allow cost effective applications in situations where there are ‘difficult’ constraints in controlling the flow of gasses or liquids in industrial processes. The second type is pulse flow valves where the technology allows significant performance improvements over current options within a simple, durable design. The performance benefits and high efficiency of the pulse flow valve system allows it to be paired with a very high-pressure gas source such as compressed air enabling applications into piston and launcher applications, particularly those requiring remote or portable deployments.

    “As well as performance advantages, Hammerforce’s valve solutions have inherent size and cost benefits, while the ‘green’ air-powered piston and launcher devices also have compelling ESG, sustainability, safety, and supply chain benefits that ‘dirty’ legacy power sources can’t match.

    “We are currently working with companies across a diverse range of industries and we’re really excited to be partnering with this company to develop a range of fully customised end-products,” said Mr Coster.

    https://www.hammerforce.com/

  • 27 Oct 2021 4:45 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Tauranga-based company’s natural pharmaceutical products to hit shelves in all 50 US states.

    Kiwi natural pharmaceutical company, TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals (formerly HoneyLab), will see its products sold across all 50 states in the US as part of its licencing deal with Taro Pharmaceuticals. This deal is a key contributor to TRG’s 10-20 fold increase in sales this year.

    Launched under the brand Bee RX, the range includes topical kānuka honey based cold sore, acne, and rosacea treatments. First launched online at Target, the first drop of product sold out within hours. Bee RX will also be sold in major pharmacy chains, in total representing more than 21,000 stores and giving TRG a strong foothold across every state in the US.

    The brand is being fronted by Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress and singer, Mandy Moore, well-known for the TV show ‘This is Us,’ and Erika Thompson of Texas Bee Works is the Bee RX ambassador.

    TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals CEO, Anthony Lawler, says seeing stock on international shelves is a huge achievement for the business.

    “Seeing our products on shelves in the US has been a key milestone for TRG. To see Bee RX selling out within hours of going on sale has surpassed our expectations.”

    Mr Lawler says the business has navigated the unique challenges of a global pandemic on supply chain management, and business development.

    “We have faced our fair share of Covid-19 induced setbacks. Not only have supply chain issues impacted our manufacturing capacity and product distribution timelines, but closing deals and building important relationships with distributors such as Taro can be difficult when you can’t meet face-to-face.”

    Diving back into global business

    With international travel off the cards for the last 18 months, founder Dr Shaun Holt is travelling to the US in August for two months to support TRG’s rapid expansion into the market. He will also visit Europe until year end to open the door into these territories.

    A medical doctor and natural health expert, Dr Holt recently featured on Netflix’s documentary (Un)Well, bringing much international attention as well as praise for his innovation in the health and wellbeing retail space. He was also a finalist in the 2019 EY New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

    “While we have built strong relationships with licensing partners virtually, video calls can only get you so far. It’s vital for us to continue building relationships and meeting potential new licensing partners face-to-face,” Dr Holt says.

    “TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals has ambitious plans to continue expanding globally, and I look forward to showcasing our scientifically-proven New Zealand natural healthcare products in person.”

    The evolution to TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals

    HoneyLab has changed its name to TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals, having greatly evolved in the past decade. Starting out as HoneyLab and specialising in pharmaceutical-grade, clinically proven honey-based healthcare products, the company is currently best known for its cold sore product, Honevo.

    While honey is still important for TRG, the company is now developing other natural ingredients to create clinically proven natural healthcare products.

    “The name TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals comes from the airport city code for Tauranga where the company was founded. We needed a name that better aligns to our future plans.”

    “The name change represents a need to convey how the company has expanded and to better reflect the pipeline of products currently in development. We look forward to sharing these in due course, Dr Holt concludes.

     

    About TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals

    TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals (formerly HoneyLab) is a New Zealand pharmaceutical company developing health products from natural sources. The company has undertaken the world’s largest programme of medical honey research. Their patented topical honey formulation, Honevo, is proven in the treatment of cold sores, rosacea and acne, with clinical results published in the acclaimed British Medical Journal Open.

    The licence agreement with Taro Pharmaceuticals, TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals’ first large-scale deal, covers the territories of USA, Canada and Israel and covers eight products: the topical kānuka honey range Honevo, the bee venom-based cosmetic range Kanu, and Rubeeven, a natural topical treatment for joint and muscle pain.