StrongBó, an Irish agritech start-up and client at The Forge at McMaster, announced that it has closed a €750,000 seed funding round to enable the company to commercialize its Automatic Animal Weighing device, a hardware-enabled software solution, poised to revolutionize the beef production sector.
The investment was led by Gallagher, a global leader in animal management solutions, based in New Zealand. Other investors in the round include Enterprise Ireland via the High Potential Start-up (HPSU) programme, the 519 Growth Fund and the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), both based in Canada.
StrongBó’s cutting-edge hardware automatically collects Frequent Animal Weights, which are then analyzed to provide the farmer with a business intelligence platform and decision support tool.
This data is then used by the farmer and their advisors to make smarter decisions about their livestock on a daily basis, but also allows them to plan with greater certainty into the future.
Micheál McInerney, co-founder and CEO, StrongBó, said, “We are delighted to secure this funding round with such a significant mix of globally recognized industry players and seasoned investors like Enterprise Ireland. Our latest innovation allows farmers to gain new insights into how their animals are actually progressing. StrongBó provides average daily gains so farmers can see how much the animals are growing, and how much weight they’re putting on. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Sarah Adams, General Manager of Strategy and New Ventures for Gallagher Animal Management, believes the partnership reflects Gallagher’s commitment to addressing some of the core pain points farmers face, while also enabling innovative technology to come through.
She said, “Now more than ever, farmers are looking for technologies that enable them to farm more efficiently and profitably. Being able to regularly weigh livestock while in the paddock can mean real savings in labour output and potentially down the track it may enable them to track the more feed efficient animals and lower greenhouse gas emitters. Remote weighing also keeps cows on-feed 24/7, allowing them to maximize weight gain, therefore reducing the need and stress from traipsing up to the yard for weighing.”
She added, “We had been investigating adding remote weighing into our suite of animal management offerings for a while. It’s always been our preference to scan the market for potential partners first before starting the development process from scratch and the team at StrongBó were the ideal fit for this.”
McInerney, designed StrongBó’s hardware in Ireland to address concerns that the digital revolution had in some ways left the beef production sector behind. Despite sweeping advancements in farm automation with systems that can control feed input, few advancements have developed to enhance what farmers know about the animals involved.
Together with co-founder Ivan Wahlrab, StrongBó has created a software architecture that utilizes big data and real-time animal performance monitoring in order to modernize livestock management and sustainability practices.
StrongBó is currently based at NovaUCD in Dublin after recently securing funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) as a part of the ESA BIC Ireland programme.
Since designing and testing the device on Irish farms, StrongBó has expanded internationally with an initial focus on the Canadian market. It was there that Marty Metzger, of Metzger Veterinary Services, joined the core team as an additional co-founder. StrongBó now operates a subsidiary in Hamilton, Ontario.
Co-founder and CTO, Wahlrab says the team is excited to partner with Gallagher not least because it gives them a heightened opportunity to introduce the benefits of remote weighing into New Zealand’s pasture-based farming systems.
He said, “We’re really proud to be aligning with Gallagher in this way, it’s partnership that has already been hugely beneficial for us as we’ve gained enormous insight into the global agribusiness sector and what is involved in taking an innovative, technology-driven idea into the prototype phase, and ultimately out to the wider market.”
StrongBó also worked closely with the ifac food and agribusiness advisory team to complete this round of funding.
The Forge at McMaster is an entrepreneurial hub backed by McMaster University, catering to startups in the Hamilton, Greater Toronto, and Niagara Regions. Established in 2015, they actively engage with entrepreneurs, providing them comprehensive support in transforming their business concepts into thriving ventures. Regardless of industry, The Forge offers cohort-based programs to facilitate idea development, validation, and ultimately, sustainable growth.
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