By Ian Reilly - Agersens
Agersens shareholders accepted an offer from Gallagher Group to acquire the remaining Agersens shares, finalising the transaction before June 30.
I launched the agtech startup Agersens in June 2014 to bring to life eShepherd, the world’s first virtual livestock management system (virtual fence) for beef and dairy cattle. I first saw a need for an automation tool for livestock farmers after hearing a Queensland beef producer talk about the challenges of managing his grazing cattle to maximise productivity. While I had the support of some true believers, I also faced many skeptics and detractors along complex array of technical, financial, market and regulatory barriers. But I saw those barriers as opportunities open to anyone with the courage and conviction to take up the challenge.
Seven years later we’ve overcome the challenges and taken advantage of the opportunities. Licencing some little known patented CSIRO technology, we built a company with a sensational, world first, advanced technology product and opened the door to a new world in livestock farming.
Today beef producers in Queensland are using eShepherd to manage their grazing cattle, reduce their labour dependence, improve their productivity, and free up their time. Today eShepherd is reducing nutrient run-off onto the Barrier Reef, managing cattle in New Zealand, and the first trials are running in the UK, United States and Brazil.
Agersens now employs around 35 people in our HQ in Melbourne and R&D farm in Queensland, and following our lead there are competitors popping up in different parts of the world trying to emulate our success.
It has been a privilege to the opportunity to make a significant, positive contribution to providing for a better future - a world with more productive and sustainable agriculture, more resilient to economic and climate uncertainty, with healthier and happier farmers, and animals in their care.
Gallagher came on board as cornerstone investors in 2016 and have been a great partner through the journey. The Gallagher acquisition of Agersens values the company at around $40M. While the chapter of Agersens as an Australian agtech success story is closing, a new chapter is opening as Gallagher now take eShepherd to the global market – a market eager for automation tools to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agri-businesses.
And while my personal journey with Agersens is drawing to a close I express my deep thanks to our committed, talented and capable team who not only built a great product but also made Agersens a great place to work and flourish, and to our current CEO Dr Jason Chaffey who supported me at the start and lead to the team to the finish line. And a special thanks to my family and friends who had the courage to support me on the journey, especially Phil and Nancy Reilly who from North America put their heart and soul into making this journey a success.
If you would like to hear more about the Agersens journey please get in touch …E: [email protected] P: +61 439 352 887