Tamworth company, Feed XL Nano won the pitching competition between six founders of startups to those present at the launch of the UNE SMART Region Incubator (SRI) Outreach Project, held at UNE SMART Farm on Monday morning.
The launch of the outreach project takes the incubator further afield than it has ever been, and makes way for 20 new developers, ideas and/or businesses.
It will stretchout to places like Moree, Mungindi, Croppa Creek, Inverell, Narrabri, Gunnedah and Tenterfield.Adam Marshall
Nerida Richards said she had never pitched before.
“Our business has really grown in a bootstrap way, so we’ve never asked for investment, and I’ve never put it in front of a crowd like this before. It’s kind of cool,” she said.
Nerida said her business idea was not a new one. A lot of what she did was working for feed companies to develop products that could be sold to the end user. It was all about getting the right feed to the right horse.
The problem was feed companies had a big range of products to choose from, which could leave owners very confused about what to feed their horses. She said Feed XL Nano was three quick and easy steps to provide a feed mix for a horse. The owner could then consult with the feed company about what it could provide.
“It’s been thought of a plenty of times, but it’s incredibly expensive to build software like this,” she said.
“We were lucky, the original software developer was the IT guy at UNE many, many years ago, and he was one of the original owners of the company. So, he built the software to support him; to build it would cost millions of dollars from the ground up.
“We’ve been in the market 10 years and no-one’s built a competitor yet.”
Nerida said she was a scientist, and probably what the business really needed some mentoring.
Sarah Burrows from Red Eight Produce was voted in as the runner-up. Dave Ruby from SmartShepherd, Sam Duncan from FarmLab, Ben Wynn of Wynergy and Hamish Webb from Equity Partners also pitched their businesses on the day.
During the past year, the UNE SMART Rural Incubator has assisted 43 local startup companies, businesses developed by locals all trying to get a foothold in the various markets being targeted.
Extra funding worth $300,000 was announced for this outreach project at the beginning of September by the Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall so the incubator could develop ideas from a wider, regional footprint.
“This will enable the SRI to move their reach to the whole New England North West and create 20 extra places,” Mr Marshall said.
“Twenty extra places from outside this area to give them a place, and help them push on and grow local businesses, rather than pulling businesses in from the outside.”