Wagga Wagga wi-fi startup Zetifi lands $12 million Series A with Telstra helping farmers connect

- December 7, 2022 2 MIN READ
Zetifi founder Dan Winson
Zetifi founder Dan Winson & team. Photo: Jackie Cooper
A regional NSW startup that’s extending the range of wi-fi on farms has raised $12 million in a Series A.

Telstra, and GrainCorp through is recently launched $30 million GrainCorp Ventures fund, led the round in Wagga Wagga-based Zetifi, with support from existing investors including Cultiv8 Funds Management, the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) GrainInnovate fund, and Artesian.

The fresh cash will see Zetifi double its software and product teams and scale manufacturing with the goal of tackling the US market within the next 12-18 months.

The startup’s long-range wi-fi coverage extension products are designed to tackle a major barrier to digitalisation in the agriculture sector.

Zetifi took part in Telstra’s now moth-balled startup accelerator program muru-D in 2019, followed by EvokeAg’s SparkLabs Cultiv8 Accelerator Program. The venture scored $500,000 after winning US food and ag-tech competition, Grow-NY two years ago as well as NSW and federal government grants for its wireless network, which delivers faster and more reliable internet and Wi-Fi to regional areas served only by satellite or ADSL

CEO and founder Dan Winson said that the last few years confirmed that the ag sector is eager to adopt digital technology and automation if they have the connectivity to support it.

“We approached the problem from the farmers’ perspective and the ability to be on-farm testing our ideas within a few minutes has accelerated the development of our products and technology,” he said

“It’s allowed us to rapidly iterate and refine the scalable applications of our technology that we’ll now be preparing for the mass-market.”

Telstra’s head of innovation Luke Harwood said they were “thrilled to see the progress” made since muru-D.

“There is massive opportunity for technology to help Aussie farmers boost agricultural output and play a bigger part in Australia’s growing digital economy,” he said.

“Innovations like those developed by Zetifi and our other agtech investments that leverage our network and scale for the benefit of farmers, local jobs and local communities are great examples of the solutions we want to support.”

GrainCorp CEO Robert Spurway said connectivity is a key enabler for modern agriculture.

“Australian growers are early adopters of technological innovation on-farm, and it’s a credit to their resilient nature that they continue to lead the way on digital advancements,” he said.

“GrainCorp Ventures focuses on identifying and accelerating the next generation of technologies that will keep growers ahead of the competition, and that’s what we see in Zetifi. Many of the people at GrainCorp also live and work alongside growers and our customers in regional communities and experience connectivity issues firsthand, so partnering with Zetifi will help to unlock significant value for the agricultural sector.”

Jonathon Quigley from Cultiv8 Funds Management,  said they doubled down on Zetifi, in part because of his own first-hand experience with their products.

“Dan participated in our SparkLabs Cultiv8 startup accelerator in 2019 and as a trial I had the very first ZetiRover installed in my ute,” he said.

“The device has allowed me to stay connected throughout my regional travels using it for video conferences, phone calls, emails, messages, and even delivering my primary work internet service during COVID lockdowns.”