Otago Daily Times
$2.5m raised for overseas expansion
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