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 successfully established Agritech New Zealand in 2018 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 could support the wider global agritech sector navigate some very challenging times.
We went back to our roots. Having spent the best part of 25 years living in the UK, USA, NZ & India, we knew a few things about the importance of global connectivity. With agritech companies unable to travel offshore, leveraging that global connectivity and revisiting our own global networks i=was our number one focus.
In September 2020, we were approached by the Australian Agritech Association to become their ‘Senior External Adviser’. It supported our ambition to help build more trans-Tasman collaboration in this space.
In December 2021, we began work on co-hosting the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in Glasgow. Uncertainty around just what the event might look like meant we had to pivot. We replicated the proposed model and the 2035 Oceania Summit became a reality.
On 10-11 October 2022, we finally got this across the line. Despite COVID, border closures and a postponement from April 2022, hundreds of delegates joined us at the Aotea Centre in Auckland to deliver the first major climate-focused AgriFoodTech event in the Southern Hemisphere. You can learn more about the Summit and its outcomes at www.2035.ag
In the first half of 2023, we worked with our friends at Western Growers to co-host the 2023 Salinas Biologicals Summit in Salinas, North California. We have already announced the dates of the 2024 Summit – 25/26 June 2024.
Today, we are preparing for the launch of a new global platform for specialty crop biologicals. We will be formally launching Platform10 at the Organic Growers Summit in Monterey at the end of November.
If you want to join us on this journey, please bookmark this website. It’s a journey we hope you can join us on.
Global Agritech Evangelist