Vision. Execution. Impact.
Established in 2012, Wharf42 was built on the premise of delivering Impact.
At the time, Jacqui and I were living in Silicon Valley where Impact is a core part of the region’s DNA. When we returned to New Zealand in 2013, we engaged with key entrepreneurs and investors in the Bay of Plenty to co-found WNT Ventures, one of Callaghan Innovation’s 3 accredited technology incubators. For the record, we are the ‘W’ of WNT.
With WNT locked and loaded, we returned to Silicon Valley in the summer of 2015 to learn more about the growth of the region’s agritech ecosystem. We had recently hosted Bill Reichert of Garage Ventures & Adiba Barney of Silicon Valley Forum and they had expressed surprise that New Zealand’s agritech sector was not playing a more significant role globally. Within a week of their departing New Zealand, Jacqui and I had booked our flights to San Francisco to find out why. The rest as they say, is history.
Fast forward 5 years. We have successfully established Agritech New Zealand to become the voice of the New Zealand agritech sector. In 2019, following an approach from the ANZLF, we worked with partners and friends in Australia to establish the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council.
The arrival of Covid-19, closed borders and significant geo-political disruption has however changed everything. For Jacqui and myself, it has meant a total stock-take of just what our priorities are and how we can support the wider New Zealand agritech sector navigate some very challenging times.
We are going back to our roots. Having spent the best part of 25 years living in the UK, USA, NZ & India, we know a few things about the importance of global connectivity. With New Zealand agritech companies unable to travel offshore, leveraging that global connectivity and revisiting our own global networks is today our number one focus.
In September, we were approached by the Australian Agritech Association to become their ‘Senior Advisor’. It supported our ambition to help build more trans-Tasman collaboration in this space.
In November, we were approached by nascent AgriFood Tech Singapore Association to help build a collaborative ecosystem within the country. Today, we are part of the official Establishment Committee.
This is just the beginning. To leverage these networks to the full, we are establishing a programme called Wharf42 Insights. This is designed to not only provide information about changing market dynamics, it’s also designed to address the ongoing challenge of capability in our sector. Providing market insights is one thing. Incorporating them into a coherent and effective marketing and sales strategy is another. Without this capability, the successful adoption of tools intended to support the sector will fail.
At a time of significant global disruption, the need to re-think how we operate in an evolving offshore landscape is critical.
It’s against this dynamic backdrop that Jacqui and I are now focused.