Agribusiness GrainCorp is co-leading a $12 million investment round into rural connectivity business Zetifi, to help plug the gap in digital connectivity for farmers in rural Australia.
Zetifi is a Wagga Wagga-based company that seeks to eliminate coverage gaps by extending the use of existing Wi-Fi networks, with a specific focus on regional and remote areas.
The investment into Zetifi’s Series A funding round is co-led by Telstra and GrainCorp’s venture capital fund, GrainCorp Ventures.
Zetifi CEO Dan Winson said the team has moved quickly since the company’s inception to connect remote locations with resilient hardware.
“Our experiences over the last few years confirm that agriculture and the ag services sectors are eager to adopt digital technology and automation, as long they have a connectivity solution that supports it,” said Zetifi CEO & Founder, Dan Winson.
Dan credits their focus on the unique connectivity needs of agriculture and remote areas, and proximity to these customers from their regional base, for much of their success to date.
“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,” said Dan.
“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.
“This will involve doubling our software and product teams, scaling manufacturing to support demand in Australia, and taking on the US market within the next 12-18 months.”
GrainCorp CEO Robert Spurway said the technology is a critical factor to the resilience and advancement of agriculture in Australia.
“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,” Robert said.
“Many of the people at GrainCorp also live and work alongside growers and our customers in regional communities and experience connectivity issues first-hand, so partnering with Zetifi will help to unlock significant value for the agricultural sector.”
Working closely with farmers around their regional base in Wagga Wagga has enabled Zetifi to narrow their product offering and refine scalable applications of their Wi-Fi technology, which will now be prepared for mass-market launch.
Zetifi is a regionally based technology company that provides last-mile connectivity solutions for vehicles, machinery, and farms via long-range Wi-Fi.
Our products employ core innovations in remote deployment, smart power management and software-defined networking to eliminate coverage gaps by extending and optimising the use of existing LTE (4G) and satellite networks.
We enable farmers, agribusiness, and essential service providers to unlock the power of connected digital technology in areas where mobile phone coverage is unavailable or unreliable – the highways, the byways and all the places in between.
ABOUT GRAINCORP VENTURES
GrainCorp Ventures is a $30 million corporate venture capital fund with a focus on investing in start-ups that help build a sustainable future for the Australian agriculture industry.
GrainCorp seeks to invest minority stakes in early-stage seed to Series B opportunities across AgTech, animal nutrition and food innovation.