Kiwi agritech startup, Hectre, has been named a winner in the 2021 AgTech Breakthrough Awards.
The global awards program seeks out innovative solutions and companies that address a true need, solve a complex or critical problem, or seize an opportunity and create or revolutionize a new market or industry.
“With over 1,500 nominations this year coming in from all over the world for the AgTech Breakthrough Awards, the competition was extremely fierce,” noted Bryan Vaughn, Managing Director, AgTech Breakthrough. Other winners in this year’s awards include Bayer, Semios, Benson Hill and more.
Hectre’s commitment to clever simplicity – creating meaningful technology with user simplicity at the forefront – is a strong point of difference in the agtech marketplace and has seen uptake around the world. The company’s technology solutions are now being used in 10 countries, including leading fruit producers, the US, Spain and South Africa.
“In an industry like horticulture, it’s not enough to just create awesome technology. You’ve got to have your eye firmly fixed on the end user, what their level of tech experience may be, what languages they use, and how they learn,” says Matty Blomfield, CEO and Co-founder at Hectre.
Their latest innovation is Spectre – a computer vision and machine learning AI solution, focused on delivering the fastest, simplest to use, most accurate early fruit sizing data, straight from an iPad/iPhone. Spectre has two clear use cases for the fruit growing industry:
- In the field, Spectre enables fruit growers to quickly, accurately and simply assess how well pickers are picking to the brief during harvest, so the pick can be adjusted, reducing wastage and improving returns
- In the packhouse, Spectre provides accurate fruit size distribution data on receiving in fruit warehouses, within seconds, providing massive increases of QC sample sizes with improved accuracy and immediacy, leading to improved decision making regarding key packhouse decisions such as storage, packing and sales and reducing wastage and costs.
Spectre’s technology stack includes an impressive 54 tools and technologies, which support its creation, development and delivery, but it’s the end user simplicity that keeps shining through.
Ian Albers, Managing Director of First Fresh New Zealand, the country’s largest citrus supplier to the domestic market, and first in the world to secure Spectre for Citrus, says the simplicity provided by Hectre’s technology is crucial. “When we evaluate new technology, simplicity of use is high on our list of desirable attributes,” Albers explains.
Sam McCoy, CIO at Borton Fruit, one of the largest single growers of apples, pears and cherries in the US, agrees. “Many times IT solutions pitched in a boardroom don’t pan out as expected. It’s extremely important to consider the people who will be using the new technology.”
Fruit innovator, Rockit Global, based in NZ’s Hawke’s Bay region, uses both Hectre’s Orchard Management Software and Spectre, enabling end to end data insights from harvest through to packing. “A big part of our innovation strategy is being able to get reliable, useful and timely information to decision makers. Hectre gives us this with advanced size, colour and quality information which allows both feedback to the growers for future picking and to the packhouse, allowing more targeted batch selection for a given market,” states Stuart Dykes, Innovation & Performance Manager at Rockit Global.
Hectre is now expanding its team further to meet market demands, as they head into another exciting growth stage. Apples, oranges, lemons and mandarins are all covered by Spectre with cherries, pears and avocados well underway.
Adds Blomfield, “Being named a winner in a global awards program such as the AgTech Breakthrough Awards is fantastic external recognition for our talented team and the commitment they bring to our mission every day. We feel extremely grateful to have them with us on this journey.”
All AgTech Breakthrough Award nominees were evaluated by an independent panel of experts within the AgTech industry. Adds Vaughn, “This awards program recognizes the very best of new innovators and disruptors who are addressing the biggest challenges in the global agricultural ecosystem today. Congratulations to each and every one of our 2021 AgTech Breakthrough Award winners.”