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 firstname.lastname@example.org / hectre.com