South Australian agtech startup Optomni, has raised $200,000 in a Seed round led by Skalata Ventures to optimise the fresh food supply chain.
Founder and CEO Murad Mekhtiev said around 45% of total fruit and vegetable production in Australia is wasted and nearly half of that happens in the supply chain.
Optomni aims to reduce supply chain losses by 25%, saving 500,000 tonnes of food from landfill annually, worth an estimated value of $400 million
“There’s a misconception that food wastage only happens in households neglecting their fruit bowls, or in supermarkets,” Mekhtiev said.
“But in reality, 20% of produce is lost before it even hits the shelves, with a major factor being supply/demand mismatches.”
Optomni’s AI-driven wholesale trading and optimisation platform helps growers and wholesalers reduce waste through demand prediction and automated supply matching.
“In agriculture you can’t ever fully control the supply side, because you have to account for disruptors like weather events,” Mekhtiev said.
“But with AI, you can more accurately make predictions around supply – and have a clear picture of demand – to match it up based on the right specifications.”
The startup has already secured early traction, signing a group of growers as early adopters to its OmniOrder platform.
Mekhtiev’s ambition is now to lure the 15,000 Australian growers and 1,500 wholesalers to the platform to benefit from reduced wastage, as well as streamlined inventory management, fulfilment, and ordering processes, saying Optomni is an enabler rather than a “disruptive revolution”.
“We need to focus on making technology really easy for primary producers to implement, and ensure it can operate efficiently in the background rather than it just being ‘tech for tech’s sake’,” he said.
Skalata Investment Manager Tom Smalley is inspired by Optomni’s passion to reinvigorate the sector.
“Agriculture is in Australia’s DNA. We have a huge opportunity to become world leaders in greener, more efficient, more advanced farming,” he said.
“The key to unlocking that value is not producing more, but wasting less. Optomni will help us achieve that.”