Simon Burt and Ray Kwon
Hatch TEK Program 1
8 Aug 2022
LB Agtech was founded by Simon Burt a cabinet maker and entrepreneur with a passion for delivering applied technical solutions and positive environmental impact .. and … Ray, a global business development professional with a passion for technology and farm-to-consumer connectivity. Simon and Ray had been working on several commercial opportunities unrelated to Agrifood and founded LB Agtech upon identifying a gap in sourcing and marketing certified Australian honey for export.
Honey is the outcome of essential work that bees undertake in facilitating pollination. Unadulterated, natural honey is a premium product and ensuring its authenticity enables sustainable returns to this critical circular farming economy. Early on it became apparent that customer problems are ‘product’ based and building a solution needed to be “production centric’ and by addressing these two problems they could enhance the honey value chain.
Working with apiarists, Simon and Ray determined there were several pain points in domestic honey production including; time and resource inefficiencies, low levels of field enable technology, paper based compliance and hives prone to theft. Commercial sales, especially international sales are seen to be undervalued, open to product substitution and consumer doubt about honey origins and authenticity.
The solution is a platform that addresses resource efficiency, enables hive management, location & environmental monitoring and one that leverages technology attributes to certify and guarantee honey provenance. The platform is known as BeeSTAR (an acronym of Bee + Smart, Telemetric, Analytics & Remote).
Hatch TEK Journey
Simon and Ray proved from day one that bees, apiarists and premium quality honey are their passion. They were keen to share experiences, were active in the program and highly coachable participants. Their platform is designed to solve numerous honey production pain points and enable ‘verifiable’ produce origins. The solution is an evolving “whole of chain” system, possessing an expanding number of supply chain touch points that would interact along the honey supply chain. Narrowing the field of focus and gaining clarity was important to the outcome of the program. As they worked through the TekLAB sessions the team gained clarity and were able to simplify approaches to activities in two key focus areas;
-Deployment and scale of BeeSTAR platforms to enable honey production and Bee management environments.
-Advancing sales through consumer verifiable packaging and QR codes linked to production data and honey provenance 'fingerprinting’.
Via their MVP the team have been able to prove a working model that is gaining traction with the honey production sector and a growing number of industry segments. This will be further validated by participation in a Queensland trade delegation visiting Korea in early October. Additional insight from this delegation will further assist the team to refine their market approach and assumptions detailed in the teams Lean Canvas’s.
BeeSTAR is addressing a market problem in need of a practical technology solution, one that addresses inefficiency and improves the honey farming circular economy. In doing so they have the added advantage of applying a novel approach to improved production revenue outcomes and developed a model for Hive-to-Consumer connectivity, easily replicable in other industry verticals. Industry support continues to grow as does confidence as the platform accelerates from MVP to 1st Generation field units. As the team moves into the next phase of executing their value proposition, they hope to measure initial success by increased sales channels for verifiable and certified Australian honey.
This program was a fantastic launching platform I wish I found it earlier.
Over the next 3 months LB Agtech will continue to develop plans and strategy to advance their consumer connected certified honey along with deployment of its first field ready units. 3 x 1st Generation BeeSTAR platforms will be moved into field use whilst addressing lead times for components required for additional unit assembly. Further market validation will be undertaken via international trade mission participation to Korea in October and preparation for evokeAG 2023 in Adelaide as category winners of the Australian Bee Tech Challenge in June 2022.