What is your startup and what problem is it solving for the agriculture industry?
Platfarm makes it possible for any farmer to carry out work on their land with more precision, just using the smart phones and tablets that growers already own and understand how to use.
Tell us more about your enterprise and what inspired this idea?
The idea was triggered when one of Platfarm’s co-founders, Oli, became a grape grower in McLaren Vale three years ago. Oli wanted to carry out specific tasks on certain parts of his vineyard to even up the quality and yield of the grapes, but the only options were to either manually tie tape along the vine rows to indicate where to start/stop work, or spend thousands of dollars on the latest precision ag technology. Platfarm was created to give growers an alternative option to perform work on their land in a smarter way, just using their mobiles and tablets.
Platfarm was initially tested and began initial trials on Oli’s own vineyard. We’ve seen a leap in performance on the vineyard, with increased precision over the past three seasons that’s helped to take the blocks from previously being Grade B/C up to all achieving Grade A in 2018, and we now want to share the benefits of the technology with other growers.
What hurdles have you faced and conquered on your startup journey so far?
Platfarm is focused on working just using off the shelf smart devices, and a lot of the challenges we’ve had to overcome are around the device’s GPS accuracy – how to accurately position a user on the correct vine row in a vineyard. Another challenge has been to make the user interface is simple and intuitive, while also still working where there’s no cellular signal.
Platfarm has had a really positive reception in the initial conversations with other grape growers, with successful trials at vineyards such as Coriole’s in McLaren Vale, Taylors and Leasingham in Clare and Torbreck in the Barossa.