Adelaide agtech betaworks Availer has appointed former Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) managing director Tony Schultz as its first chairman.
Schultz, who has also worked with the likes of Westpac, Halliburton, and Duke Energy, will work with cofounders Andrew Grant and Remo Carbone to develop and commercialise technology for the food, wine, and agriculture industries.
The appointment comes more than a year after Schultz first began working with Availer through a link up with the University of Adelaide’s Center for Nanoscale Biophotonics (CNBP).
“Having now spent over 12 months getting to know the team and understanding the business I felt there was a big opportunity in agri-food globally that Availer was looking to address with their unique laser spectral analysis and software technology,” he said.
“The growth of agtech both in Australia and overseas has skyrocketed, and Australian industry has a golden opportunity to make its mark on several multi-billion dollar markets.”
Given his background, Schultz said he hopes to bring an investor’s perspective to the business as it looks to raise capital and focus on commercialisation.
Beyond that, he added, “I really just want to support the growth of what is already an amazing team with an exciting opportunity.”
The opportunity, according to cofounder Grant, is significant; the ultimate goal for Availer, he said, is to contribute to providing a safe, nutritional, and affordable global food system. How?
“Availer’s mission is bringing real-time continuous information into the global food system to improve quality and transparency,” he explained.
“We provide solutions between farmgate and retailer, and focus on global, known pain points. Our goal is to find spots where the customer will help fund and develop the solution, because once developed it will add real value to their business.”
Among the spin-outs Availer has developed so far are the blockchain-focused T-Provenance and MEQ Probe, which has created a solution to measure the eating quality of meat.
With its technology using nanoscale biophotonics to measure the marbling and tenderness of meat, MEQ Probe last October received $500,000 in funding from industry partners including Meat & Livestock Australia and meat processor Teys Australia to run two trials in southern Australia.
T-Provenance also last year raised funding to run a trial of its technology; it has been working with mango producers Growcom and Manbullo Limited to look at the applications of its technology to ensure food safety, quality, traceability, and authenticity throughout the supply chain.
With Schultz on board, Grant said Availer is excited to see the impact that his knowledge will have on the team’s ability to further develop its technology.
“His expertise and international experience will be a huge asset to helping Availer take Australian agtech innovation to global markets,” he said.
Image: Remo Carbone, Tony Schultz, Andrew Grant. Source: Supplied.