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Perth agtech startup SWAN Systems has won Rabobank’s global FoodBytes Pitch competition

- December 8, 2020 2 MIN READ
SWAN Systems co-founders Rod Campbell, Tim Hyde and Ivor Gaylard.
Perth-based SWAN Systems, an agtech startup that helps farmers use less water and fertilisers on the crops thanks to data analysis has been named the world’s best startup in the agtech category at Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Pitch 2020 competition.

The company’s cutting edge technology platform, which helps growers schedule, monitor, and optimise management of water, nutrients, and crop health to improve economic and environmental outcomes, impressed the FoodBytes! judges with its potential to have a significant impact on the key issue of water management.

Fifteen food and agriculture entrepreneurs took part in the virtual pitch, which is the culmination of Rabobank’s redesigned FoodBytes! Pitch startup discovery program. Three winners were chosen. Alongside SWAN Systems winning the agtech category, the Consumer Food & Beverage (CPG) category was won by US startup Agricycle Global, while Envara Health from Pennsylvania took out the Food Tech award for its innovation in clinical nutrition. The three winners also received $10,000.

Rabobank’s head of F&A innovation, Anne Greven, said nearly 340 companies applied to be part of the program, with the 15 finalists chosen from a cohort of 45 startups in FoodBytes! Pitch 2020. You can watch a replay of the FoodBytes! Pitch 2020 here.

“Their breakthrough technologies have the potential to help solve major food system challenges, including food loss, malnutrition, and water scarcity,” she said.

“That’s why FoodBytes! Pitch is about so much more than a prize. Rabobank is facilitating productive, lasting connections between startups, investors and large food and ag companies who can help drive change at a global scale together.”

SWAN’s technology transforms historic, current and predictive data from multiple sources into actionable insights – guiding farmers to apply the right amount of water and nutrients, at the right time.

Rod Campbell, executive chairman of SWAN Systems, said water scarcity is a growing problem, and everyone needed to be smarter about how we produce food.

“Rabobank’s validation is a powerful force for engaging new customers and scaling our impact on sustainable agriculture. Our team has been amazed at the quality and breadth of connections we’ve made through FoodBytes! as we look to raise capital, and ultimately expand into North America,” he said.

CEO Tim Hyde said their system takes data from a variety of field devices and converts it to actionable irrigation decisions for optimal plant growth while minimising water wastage and fertiliser runoff.

“Our whole system is about enabling irrigators to make decisions from hard data, not assumptions,” he said.

“Agriculture accounts for 70% of global water withdrawals globally, so it’s critical that irrigators in the sector have a simple, science-backed, and scalable solution to reduce water wastage and minimise harmful environmental outcomes.”

SWAN Systems was founded in May of 2016 by its three founding Directors – Tim Hyde, Ivor Gaylard and Rod Campbell

Before winning the pitch, Rod Campbell spoke to Startup Daily on ausbiz about his company. You can watch it below:

Don’t forget you can turn into the “hour of power” – as our guests have dubbed it – every weekday from 2-3pm on ausbiz.com.au, for the latest news in tech and startups.

If you can’t make it, then you can always catch up on what our guests had to say on demand via the ausbiz site. It’s free once you sign up.