[26 May/ Stuff]

Agri-business start-ups may take eight years before a promising idea progresses to commercial sales. Principal Scientist at AgResearch as well as Chief Technology Officer for Zeakal, Dr Greg Bryan said AgResearch’s idea for growing larger and better crops by elevating photosynthesis might be commercialised. The commercialisation would require a five to six-year breeding programme, meaning it would be eight years until farmer implementation. Elastic Green Founder Keith Morgan said Elastic Green went through the Building Clever Companies’ Sprout programme, which provided mentors and matched innovators with possible investors. Mr Morgan added that 92 percent of start-ups fail, but most problems are avoidable. Both scientists agreed it was essential to get patents to protect investment and attract investors, and noted the lack of venture capital in New Zealand. Mr Bryan added start-up business people needed a thick skin to be at the forefront of a commercial operation.