Steve van Slutyer & Oli Madget
Steve van Sluyter has 15+ years’ experience in grape and wine research, working for wineries in Australia New Zealand and California.
Oli Madgett is a grape producer based in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia, and previously worked in a range of different technology and business development positions.
Steve’s and Oli’s original idea was an app to reformat grower data to be machine readable. The premise behind this idea was that most growers have large amounts of historical data, but as it is poorly formatted, they cannot gain much value from it. The business idea was that reformatting historical data would allow growers to use it in Excel (or other, easy to use off-the-shelf or custom apps), which they already use universally, and would accelerate the adoption of emerging data science technology.
Through the program, Steve completed substantial customer research to assess the interest level of growers in this product/service. A key discovery was that their customers (farmers) did not care about yield prediction through historical data as much as they originally thought. Instead, a problem that emerged through interviewing was a frustration with, and mistrust of, weather data.
At the end of the program, Steve was working on a prototype of a product that aggregates weather forecasts across different sources, and provides growers with a rating of the accuracy of the different sources, and an aggregated forecast using the most accurate sources. More recently, Steve decided that the weather problem was not a standalone business, but that the solution he envisioned might be useful to existing agtech companies. He is currently pursuing this commercialisation pathway.