Overnight I received an email from a well-known AgTech ecosystem player, based in San Francisco. He advised that folks had been approaching him to put together a new fund to invest across AgTech opportunities. Would I be interested in taking part?

For the past two weeks, I have been putting together a re-designed website for Wharf42. A combination of a so-called Premium WordPress theme (it’s amazing what you can get for $45) and some rusty html mark-up coding mean that I have just about finished a home page (of sorts) and the navigation. It has been the navigation that has been the most challenging.

Fieldays is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event

Fieldays is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event

It has made me think about the business and just where we are heading. 2015 has been an interesting year. In New Zealand, WNT Ventures has advanced strongly, building great relationships with Universities, Crown Research Institutes and the private sector. Because of the nature of much of the research work being undertaken by these entities, AgTech has featured highly. We (WNT) have made our first investments in the space.

Over in Silicon Valley, I have been surprised at just how quickly AgTech has become regarded as a ‘hot’ investment opportunity. During my recent three months there, I spent an increasing amount of time talking to key AgTech innovators and investors in the region. I became very aware of what the locals were doing, plus the Israelis, plus the Dutch, plus the Irish. Kiwi AgTech though was rarely mentioned.

It took me back to several conversations during Bill Reichert & Adiba Barney’s visit to New Zealand back in May. They said very much the same thing. They were surprised that New Zealand was not taking a stronger thought leadership position in the AgTech space offshore. We love to talk about it at home. Maybe, they thought, we are just too shy and modest a people to brag about it to the rest of the world. Great innovators. Just poor at commercial execution.

So this morning, I have been thinking about both Wharf42’s focus for 2016 and that email that came into my Inbox overnight. The two are linked. Over the coming weeks, I hope to finally publish a new re-designed Wharf42 website and share with you just how we plan to address the AgTech challenge. I do not intend to don gumboots in Palo Alto. That’s so 1990. Building New Zealand’s reputation as an AgTech hub in Silicon Valley and elsewhere will mean focusing on just what we doing to leverage digital technologies that will revolutionise the ‘Farm of the Future’.

That challenge is providing the focus and the copy that will go into that new WordPress theme.