Otago Daily Times

$2.5m raised for over­seas ex­pan­sion

- JAMIE GRAY Business · Oceania News · Investing · New Zealand · Australia · United States of America · Callaghan Innovation · Greater Auckland · Orion · Miller Genuine Draft

AUCK­LAND: Christchur­ch­based On­side, which has de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy aimed at al­low­ing farm­ers and or­chard own­ers to keep track of who is on their prop­erty, has raised $2.5 mil­lion for over­seas ex­pan­sion.

On­side has come up with a dig­i­tal check­in so­lu­tion for the ru­ral sec­tor.

It is a mo­bile­based dig­i­tal reg­is­ter which al­lows ru­ral prop­erty man­agers to know with far greater ac­cu­racy who is on site and their spe­cific lo­ca­tion and pur­pose, while also en­sur­ing vis­i­tors are aware of po­ten­tial haz­ards.

The fundrais­ing was led by Hamish Kennedy, founder of pack­house tech­nol­ogy firm Com­pac, and sup­ported by other in­vestors in­clud­ing K1W1, New Zealand Growth Cap­i­tal Part­ners (NZGCP) and Ice­house Ven­tures.

The com­pany was founded in 2015 by Juliet Ma­clean, who at the time headed Syn­lait Farms, Michael Fal­coner, chair­man of Orion Health, and On­side’s cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Higgs.

The founders re­main the ma­jor­ity own­ers of the com­pany af­ter the cap­i­tal rais­ing.

Mr Higgs said the On­side prod­uct formed a ‘‘vir­tual bound­ary’’, or ‘‘ge­ofence’’, around the prop­erty via an On­side app.

‘‘When peo­ple come and go, they can check in and check out.’’

The prod­uct pro­vided vis­i­tors with a map and high­lighted any po­ten­tial health and safety is­sues.

‘‘A big part of it is about mak­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions seam­less and a sim­ple way of shar­ing in­for­ma­tion across a broad range of peo­ple.’’

At present, On­side had the cap­i­tal for the next phase of the busi­ness, he said.

In gen­eral, peo­ple did not ap­pre­ci­ate how so­phis­ti­cated some ru­ral op­er­a­tions had be­come, Mr Higgs said.

‘‘What we are see­ing is a gen­eral digi­ti­sa­tion of these busi­nesses.

‘‘There are a lot of cool tools out there to make busi­nesses run more ef­fi­ciently, so that’s the theme that we are see­ing.’’

On­side said it was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing 20% rev­enue growth month on month, and had more than 20,000 reg­is­tered users in New Zealand.

The aim was to ex­pand into Aus­tralia next, and ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est in the tech­nol­ogy had been shown in the United States, Mr Higgs said.

‘‘In­vestors be­lieve On­side’s highly scal­able tech­nol­ogy can cap­ture sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties in­ter­na­tion­ally by in­tro­duc­ing op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies to how large, com­plex farm­ing and hor­ti­cul­tural busi­nesses com­ply with a range of health and safety reg­u­la­tions,’’ the com­pany said in a state­ment.

Large ru­ral prop­er­ties had long grap­pled with main­tain­ing ac­cu­rate vis­i­tor records for work­ers and sup­pli­ers, and en­sur­ing vis­i­tors con­sis­tently re­ceived safety brief­ings, it said.

‘‘Mod­ern farms, vine­yards and or­chards are fast­mov­ing, com­plex busi­nesses spread over mul­ti­ple prop­er­ties vis­ited by hun­dreds of em­ploy­ees, con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers daily.

‘‘We want On­side to be­come the stan­dard for dig­i­tal check­in on ev­ery ru­ral prop­erty, and are gear­ing up to lever­age the R&D de­vel­oped in New Zealand into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets,’’ Mr Higgs said.

The com­pany, which has 18 staff, has re­ceived sup­port from Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion and AgMardt, a trust spe­cial­is­ing in fund­ing in­no­va­tion in the pri­mary sec­tor. — The New Zealand Her­ald

❛ We want On­side to be­come the stan­dard for dig­i­tal check­in on ev­ery

ru­ral prop­erty, and are gear­ing up to lever­age the R&D de­vel­oped in New Zealand into in­ter­na­tional

mar­kets

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand