CropLogic slashes staff, decamps to Australia

More grant funding for R&D available in Australia, company says

New Zealand agricultural IoT company, Crop Logic is to cut head office staff by more than half, wind back R&D and relocate its head office to Australia, following a listing on the ASX in mid 2017.

It has justified the move in part on the availability of grant funding for R&D in Australia.

The move follows the resignation a week earlier of managing director Jamie Cairns. In a brief statement announcing his departure, the company gave him minimal credit for his achievements, saying only: “During the time that Mr Cairns was managing director the company achieved a milestone acquisition in the US and a capital raising pursuant to the listing of the company on the ASX.”

CropLogic collects field sensor data, climate data and aerial images and process the data in the cloud to deliver optimised, daily input prescriptions to growers in the format of their choice. It claims that its services are underpinned by “30 years of scientific research in forecasting plant growth by Plant & Food Research, New Zealand's premier national food research company.”  

The company was recognised as one of the most promising early stage technology companies at the New Zealand 2017 TIN100 Awards.  

Justifying the move to Australia in a statement to the ASX, CropLogic said: “A relocation of the head office to regional Australia will allow greater ease of access to CropLogic executives and staff to key revenue partners and potential clients. It will also, where appropriate, make available certain grants and rebates such as the research and development grant.”

The company said its main focus in the lead up to and after the ASX listing had been to grow through acquisitions, and in this it had been successful establishing ‘beachheads’ in the USA market and “potentially now also Australia.”

It now plans to diversify its commercialisation strategy. “Acquisitions will continue to be under consideration, but an equal or greater focus will now be given to commercialisation via direct sales and / or partnerships,” the company said.

It is also winding back internal R&D saying a greater focus will be given, where possible, to undertaking this research and development in partnership with appropriate institutions and in countries and regions that are key revenue targets such as Australia and the USA and in countries and regions that offer research and development incentives, such as the research and development grant available in Australia.

CropLogic said it would continue to research and develop cutting edge technology but “with greater emphasis on partnering with research institutions, industry bodies and agricultural commercial enterprises around the world.”

“This refocus of the research and development strategy, will see the in house technical team reduced and relocated,” it said.

“As a result of this change, CropLogic will be able to support all revenue generating technologies whilst allowing it to maximise shareholder return on future research and development.”

Recently appointed chairwoman Cheryl Edwardes said head office and technical staff would be reduced from 13 to five. “Every business from time to time needs to be looked closely at how it can best deliver on providing shareholder value.

“It is through this refocus and reinvigoration that the business can align its executive and management team on the main game of delivering business opportunities and revenue from the key focused markets in Australia and the US.”

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