SOT collaborates to create startup science-business assets for Victorian Government

Announcement by the Victorian Minister for Agriculture:  

“We are excited to announce that Smartsense AgTech will be the first startup based in the dedicated incubation hub here — helping to rapidly improve the use of digital sensing technology across the agriculture industry”.


In a three-year x10 Thinking project (2020-2022), School of Thinking was sought by the Department of Agriculture to help design a growing range of innovative startup science-business assets for the Victorian State Government.

Specifically, the project – called AVR x10 – created the science-business incubation hub at AgriBio which has designed four startups to accelerate commercialisation pathways of their IP assets. The first is Smartsense AgTech, a new business with technology that asks, “What if farms in Victoria were ten times smarter?” It will offer commercial solutions to that question including camera drones for use in photographing soil, earth, water, plants, crops, and agricultural products. It will focus on rapidly improving digital sensing technologies used across a range of agricultural sectors including dairy, horticulture and grains.

There will be more AVR x10 start-ups to follow.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas with Professor German Spangenberg, Head of AVR (Agriculture Victoria Research) at AgriBio.

Minister Thomas announced the State Government is providing $7.5 million funding towards the x10 start-ups that will support “a major development for Victoria’s agtech industry”.

Working in collaboration with Professor German Spangenberg, Head of AVR at AgriBio, Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson of School of Thinking led three 10-week semesters of x10 Thinking for the senior scientists and commercial managers that produced a range of innovative outcomes including the creation of the science-business incubation hub at AgriBio.

Professor Spangenberg has summarised in his letter to Dr Hewitt-Gleeson: “Thanks for all your amazing work in delivering a fantastic AVR x10 project. It has been a genuinely transformative initiative that will have lasting impact – I see the excitement of our AVR scientists in discovering their entrepreneurial skills, learning from each other, getting to know colleagues. Indeed, 5 start-up pitches in Term 1 alone is an exceptional achievement! And more to come in Term 2! Thanks again for making all of this possible”.

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