Pahiatua Company Announced as NZ Innovators Awards Finalist
Pahiatua Company Announced as New Zealand Innovators Awards Finalist
Pahiatua company, DTexH2o, has been named as a finalist in the Innovation in Agriculture & Environment category of the prestigious New Zealand Innovators Awards.
The company’s innovative product, DTexH2o, is an in-line electronic probe that detects the difference between milk and water in the cowshed milk line.
Founders of the company, Graeme and Alison Franklin, said the DTexH2o uses an alarm to stop farmers spilling milk down the drain or getting water in the milk vat during wash-down.
“When a farmer washes-up the milk line, water is pumped through the pipes, pushing the last milk through into the vat. The farmer must manually turn the valve to re-route the water to stop it going in the vat,” Alison said.
“If the farmer rotates the valve too early, the milk goes down the drain. If the farmer rotates the valve too late, water goes in the vat, which can mean reduced milk quality and fines from the dairy company.
Alison said, prior to now, farmers often place their hand on the pipe to gauge when the cold water passes by.
“The DTexH2o is installed in the pipeline, and sets off an alarm when water passes by the probe, giving the farmer a pre-set amount of time to switch the valve,” she said.
"Losing milk and money down the drain is no longer an option.”
The couple says that their success can be largely attributed to the support they have received from Waikato business incubator, SODA Inc.
“Earlier this year, we and nine other finalists were selected by SODA to pitch live to more than 130 investors and business leaders at the Innovation Den at this year’s National Fieldays in Hamilton,” Alison said.
“We were thrilled to take-out the SODA Inc. Most Viable Business prize; a business incubation package worth $15,000,
SODA partners and funding typically subsidise business incubation programmes heavily, however the Franklin’s prize meant they received the service for zero cost to them.
“The prize enabled us to take part in SODA Lift, a 12-week business development programme designed to accelerate the process of taking the product to market and scale fast.
“Over the 12 weeks, with feedback and mentoring from SODA, we have further developed our idea and business model,” Alison said.
“We have learnt about market validation, all legal requirements including intellectual property, accounting and finance, business planning; the works. We have been blown away by what we have learnt through SODA’s assistance,” she said.
Since this year’s National Fieldays, 36 DTexH2o devices have already been installed in milking sheds.
“We attribute a huge amount of our success to SODA. Without them, we wouldn’t know half of what we know about how to continue on in our business success. The training has been worth its weight in gold,” Alison said.
SODA business growth manager Petr Adamek said the Franklins deserve every success in the New Zealand Innovators Awards.
“Right from the beginning, DTexH2o stood out because they thought about the business aspect, rather than just the invention.
““As they have progressed through the SODA Lift programme, they have continued to make excellent progress in developing and growing their business. The Team at SODA will be cheering them on at the awards and are crossing our fingers they win.”
The winners of the New Zealand Innovators Awards 2014 will be announced at the awards ceremony and cocktail evening held at SHED10 on Wednesday October 15. For more information or to purchase tickets to the awards event, go to www.innovators.org.nz