This AgTech firm aims to save farmers money and time.
AgVis, based in Oranmore, Co. Galway is developing and commercialising a smart connected cattle monitoring solution, for total herd insights, to bring value to the farm on a 24/7 basis. It’s a significant advance in precision livestock monitoring, using diagnostic sensors in an IoT device, allied with embedded artificial intelligence. AgVis founder and engineer, Denis Healy provides some background behind this exciting Agtech startup.
I have over 15 years of innovation and problem-solving experience with my existing company OSTC. Most of our work is within the medical devices sector, working with some of the leading global brands. We offer a full-service engineering approach with product design, 3D printing, production, quality control equipment and services.
“A typical Irish dairy farm with 100 cows, is incurring associated opportunity losses, in the region of €30,000 per year.”
Why transition from Medtech to Agtech?
As a team we have powerful, hands-on experience and background in livestock farming – as well as real understanding and expertise of the myriad of technologies available today. We also believe that our track-record and domain knowledge will allow us to overcome any challenges that we may face along the way.
What problem are you solving on the farm?
Our focus is to assist livestock farmers within the calf, beef and dairy sub-sectors. The problem to be solved is opportunity loss, which is currently being absorbed by all farms today. In an Irish context, a typical Irish dairy farm with 100 cows, is incurring associated opportunity losses, in the region of €30,000 per year. The improvements we offer enhance animal welfare, food quality, sector sustainability, operational efficiency and profitability for all stakeholders, within the farm to fork value-chain.
The principal behind AgVis is the provision of a miniature multifunctional sensor in one piece, which is unique in the marketplace. From a components perspective, the sensor is our custom design and patent, built to medical device standard.
“Our product essentially frees up the farmer by providing full-time automated monitoring of every animal within the herd.”
Each animal in the herd has a sensor which monitors the animal’s vital signs and transmits the data back to our cloud IoT platform, where it is analysed. In the event of a change to the animal’s condition, an alert is sent to the farm device. This, in turn, allows for early identification and isolation of an animal with a problem – sometimes perhaps days ahead of human observation. Early isolation can also minimise any treatment if required – resulting in a potentially faster return to full health and productivity of the animal, while also minimising the risk of illness, spread amongst the herd.
Frees up the farmer
Our sensors effectively monitor the animal’s primary clinical signals and merge those with the digital world. This affords rapid, proactive decision-making with meaningful data so that the farm can be alerted – with smart, actionable data in real-time. We are currently estimating a 5 x return to a farm as against the cost of AgVis, helping farmers address, current opportunity losses on the farm. Our product essentially frees up the farmer by providing full-time automated monitoring of every animal within the herd.
The bigger picture for AgVis is the potential to create meaningful data. We expect enriched meaningful data to be valued at a premium. We can anonymise and export this data in real-time, by parameters such as breed, sex, age and location. Ultimately, we plan to have a data share agreement whereby Agvis and the farmer will share any monetary returns from the data. The more meaningful the data – the more value it has. This value does not just stay at the farm gate, but can now continue through the value chain, all the way to the final consumer.
We have an innovative digital platform to allow other value-added resellers to integrate within the AgVis ecosystem and platform. Our business model is based on a HaaS model of ‘hardware as a service’ which removes several barriers to growth helping to scale our business.
Route to market
Our route to market is a very important consideration, particularly as we aim to sell globally. One route would be through artificial Insemination companies and veterinary practices – worldwide every commercial farm that we may wish to sell to today is serviced by a veterinary practice. Another sales channel would undoubtedly be through agribusinesses and coops.
PTC, a NASDAQ quoted company, have already invested in our initial seed round. The seed round provided us with a very strategic partner and backing, along with huge IoT expertise, which has helped increase our innovation capabilities. We are also just launching our series A round, and this is expected to close this year.
Farmers are our ultimate customer. We are well aware that initially, farmers are not interested in what the technology does per se or how it operates – but instead focus on ease of adoption and the significant benefits the technology can provide, to their farming operation. With this in mind, AgVis has been designed to scale across all livestock farms; the goal is to become market leaders in this field – with potential revenues of €200m over the next five years.
Article by Brendan Byrne.