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  • 17 Nov 2021 4:10 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Joint U.S. Embassy, NZ Defence Force Media Release. 16 November 2021.

    A United States Navy ship is due to visit New Zealand later this month, arriving in Wellington to take part in a range of activities with the New Zealand Defence Force.

    Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), Rear Admiral David Proctor, said the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and RNZN were looking forward to the visit. The vessel will berth in Wellington.

    “New Zealand and the United States (US) share a strong security and defence relationship, close economic links, and shared interests and values. The NZDF and the US Navy have a long history of engagement and working together; the latest example of which was the interaction by HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Aotearoa with US Navy and other partners’ ships off Guam last month”.

    While in New Zealand the ship and her crew will train and interact with the New Zealand Defence Force including taking part in interoperability exercises and official engagements.

    “Ship visits like this are a demonstration of the US’ active engagement in our region. They present opportunities for improving interoperability between our forces and building trust and understanding between partners”, said Rear Admiral Proctor.

    “NZDF ships and aircraft have also regularly participated in US-hosted exercises such as RIMPAC, and it is nice to be able to return the courtesy and show goodwill as we host a US Navy vessel and her crew here in New Zealand again.”

    Further details of the ship and the visit are yet to be released, but the vessel is an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, the same class of ship as the USS Sampson, which visited in 2016 for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th Anniversary and International Naval Review.

    During that visit the USS Sampson became involved in the response to the Kaikōura earthquake.

    “When the US Navy last visited New Zealand, that earthquake had just hit, and the importance of interoperability was underscored in a completely unexpected way. But that’s the reality—tomorrow our navies could well be working together to solve problems that don’t exist today. The friendships and understanding between our sailors and their Kiwi counterparts, matter in everything from crisis response to a routine refuelling at sea,” said US Embassy Defense Attaché, Colonel Ian Murray.

    The ship will have at least 14 days isolation at sea prior to entering New Zealand, and prior to disembarkation all crew will have tested negative for COVID-19 and will be fully vaccinated.

    A visit by a US Navy ship has been under consideration by the US since last year.

    The ship will not be visiting any other New Zealand port besides Wellington.

  • 17 Nov 2021 11:42 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Makers of The World’s Best Heat Transfer Open 5th International Facility in Atlanta, GA.

    Atlanta, GA. November 16th, 2021 – Supacolor, an international leader in the garment decorating industry, is continuing their ambitious expansion efforts with the opening of a third facility in the United States. Responding to booming consumer demand, Supacolor has opened this new facility to better serve the US market east of the Mississippi.

    In addition to improved production and fulfillment capabilities, this milestone also means that Supacolor’ will now employ over 100 people in the United States. “One of our mantras here at Supacolor is that we exist to help people grow”, said Rum Walia, President of Supacolor USA. “Adding this new location not only helps our customers grow by providing them with better, faster service, but it also gives our organization an opportunity to help our employees continue to grow in their careers. We couldn’t be more thrilled about the future of Supacolor right now, and we look forward to being a member of Atlanta’s business community”.

    With five total locations in the US, UK and New Zealand, Supacolor manufactures a proprietary heat transfer product, revolutionizing the garment decorating industry by empowering professional printers, clothing brands, brokers, crafters and entrepreneurs.

    For more information, visit https://supacolor.com/ or watch this video

  • 16 Nov 2021 5:40 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Rocket Lab has made another acquisition with the US$750 million war chest it raised through its Nasdaq listing.

    The Kiwi-American company says it has bought Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC), a Maryland-based spacecraft separation systems, for US$42m ($59.5m).

    The two-decade old PSC has 25 staff, and counts its new owner among its customers - along with Nasa, the United Launch Alliance and Japan's national space agency.

    The deal was announced this morning NZT with the ink barely dry on Rocket Lab's purchase of Advanced Solutions, a Colorado-based maker of mission simulation systems, and navigation and control solutions, for US$40m - plus a potential US$5m on top if it reaches performance targets for this calendar year.

    And last year, Rocket Lab bought Canadian satellite component maker Sinclair Interplanetary for an undisclosed sum to bolster its "Photon" platform for placing satellites into the right orbit around the Earth, or ferrying them between planets.

    Rocket Lab shares fell 0.6 per cent today to US$14.29 but perked up to US$15.00 in post-market trading for a US$6.41 billion market cap.
    The stock is up 50 per cent since its August listing.

    Despite pandemic disruption pushing Rocket Lab to a wider loss this year, investors have cheered developments including a fatter pipeline of contracts, an expansion of space systems manufacturing capacity, its US$45m acquisition of Colorado mission simulation and guidance system maker Advanced Solutions, and Rocket Lab securing US$24.35 million ($34m) in US military funding towards development of the crew-capable neutron, which will be able to lift an 8-tonne payload into space (or around 20 times the payload capacity of the Electron).

    Founder and CEO Peter Beck told the Herald in August that while some of the cash from the listing would go towards developing Rocket Lab's new, much larger Neutron rocket, some of the funds were also earmarked for acquisitions to expand the company's space systems business - or making satellites and spacecraft.

    Rocket Lab's aim is for space systems to generate 40 per cent of its revenue by 2027 - a year in which it has forecast operating earnings of US$505m on US$1.57b turnover.

    Beck told the Herald that the space systems sector was ripe for consolidation, with dozens of players who were capable, but also small, slow and financially inefficient.

    Being rolled into Rocket Lab gave them scale, and reduced lead times for the Kiwi-American company, which is aiming for a full-service space transportation offering.Meanwhile, Rocket Lab's latest launch - which will include helicopters shadowing the falling first-stage in preparation for a mid-air retrieval - was had to be abandoned last Thursday. The company says with weather around Launch Complex 1 at Mahia improving, it should be able to have another shot tomorrow.

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

  • 12 Nov 2021 12:11 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    QJumpers, a cloud-based Sourcing and Applicant Tracking System founded in New Zealand and growing in the US and Australia, have won the title of ‘Most Innovative Recruitment Software Provider – USA’ in the 2021 New World Report Software and Technology Awards. Simon Oldham, Co-Founder, talks about his first-hand experience of the business’ success.

    “Utilizing the innate culture of New Zealand, QJumpers use a collaborative approach to understand and deliver client needs. Company values are centered through this collaborative model, and I have seen the positive effects this culture has on the business.”

    “Clients come first, and we do whatever we can to ensure that our customers feel that they are listened to. This carries over to the recruitment of our own team – nurturing our strong company culture is essential. We look for people who work well in our team, where they support others and go out of their way to get a successful outcome. We want open communication so that nothing is swept under the carpet. Everyone in our team contributes to innovation and so we look for people who are happy to talk openly about their ideas or find ways to improve what we do.”

    With the onset of the COVID pandemic, adaptations needed to be made in the way that the world recruited. Remote hiring technology became essential. QJumpers was already designed for remote hiring and collaboration but to stay ahead of the competition, QJumpers made significant changes to improve the services offered to clients. Simon explains, “Being able to recruit for skilled candidates from anywhere and ensure that they are a good match for their business is more critical than ever – but now it also needs to be done remotely. AI, automation, and collaborative tools are essential to enable this, so during the global pandemic we released our new product – AI Talent Sourcing.”

    “We wanted to make finding and hiring talent as fast and painless as possible for clients through AI and automation. Competition for top talent is hotter than ever so having technology available to source those roles that can’t be filled by traditional means or finding people who are not already in your existing database is now key.”

    “During this time, we also developed new (patent pending) technology to collect confidential candidate information to make it easier to onboard new employees remotely and we enhanced our employment agreement/offer letter electronic signing module.”

    Always on the lookout for new opportunities for betterment, QJumpers ensure new ideas are embedded into their business to constantly evolve. Ultimately, QJumpers are a perfect example of a honed and perfected collaborative business culture.

    ENDS


    ABOUT QJUMPERS

    Hailing from down under, QJumpers’ cutting-edge technologies blaze new trails in the search of the best global talent. We are on a daring mission to make the job of filling jobs as sweet and smooth as a New Zealand pavlova (the best dessert on the planet). Backed by our technology and tenacity, you can find tomorrow’s candidate today. With customizable workflows, seamless system integration, and an intuitive interface, we make collaborative, remote hiring a breeze. When it comes to the best candidates, we put you first in line.

    ABOUT THE NEW WORLD REPORT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

    New World Report is a US based insights and information business news platform, providing readers throughout the Americas with business advice to aid business progress, success stories aimed to inspire and trends and innovations to support business growth and continuity.

    Their Software and Technology Awards look to acknowledge the efforts of the pioneers and disruptors of modern technology, as well as those who have sustained excellence and exhibited long term dedication to their commitment to the development and advancements in technology.

    https://www.qjumpers.com/

  • 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