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Aquaculture Sensor Startup Raises $2.5m from Bosch after Launching Oyster Product

April 28, 2016

Tasmanian agtech company The Yield has closed a $2.5 million investment led by global technology and services provider Bosch Group. Existing shareholders are providing an additional $1 million in this round, which closes at the end of May.

The Yield offers sensors, data management platforms, and mobile apps to producers in the agriculture and aquaculture industries. This IoT approach allows clients to improve on-farm productivity, reduce the cost of complying with food safety standards, increase shelf life, and provide better risk management, according to the company.

The startup will use the funding to scale up operations, develop a microclimate sensing system, and add a few key hires to the team. Also, as part of the deal, Bosh and The Yield will enter into a global licensing deal.

Founded in 2014, The Yield operates out of offices in Hobart and Sydney. In an earlier seed round, it raised $1.7 million and captured $1 million in funding from a government-backed Accelerating Commercialisation grant. The company also partners with Microsoft and Intel on technology-based efforts.

“I was introduced to the CEO of Robert Bosch Australia by Dr. Mike Briers, who is a Director of The Yield,” Ros Harvey, CEO of The Yield told AgFunderNews. “Bosch was looking at agtech as a strategic industry in which its technology and services can be utilized. They are one of the world’s biggest sensor manufacturers and have developed IoT solutions for industrial applications.”

In January, the company released its first product for the oyster industry, offering an environmental data service to help track and control Pacific Oysters Mortality Syndrome (POMS), a disease that poses a serious threat to the industry.

As for being a startup in Australia, Harvey describes the country’s agriculture sector as open with high-cost structures and significant environmental constraints due to its dry climate.

“This has driven innovation and high productivity growth to be able to compete for twice the rate of the global average.” She also sees China’s growing middle class, which is hungry for safe, high-quality food, as a potential market for Australian agriculture companies.

“The capital markets for startups are not deep,” she adds. “Proposed changes to the Australian tax law are designed to help create a higher level of indigenous capital.”

Based in Germany, Bosch has maintained a presence in Australia since 1907 when it opened its first wholly owned subsidiary, Robert Bosch (Australia). The company operates in a wide variety of fields including household appliances, security technology, power tools and accessories, engineering services, parts and equipment for auto shops, motorsports, and more.

Harvey and Briers have also worked together on a project called the Food Agility, which is an industry and research consortium. The goal of the consortium is to help Aussie ag professionals achieve growth using digital technologies. The Yield and its technology partners are key participants in the project.

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