AN agri-tech firm from Moone looks like they might have just tapped into the word market jackpot after getting the chance to pitch the firm to a global agricultural conference in Kentucky last month.
Terra NutriTech, established just eight years ago by brothers Padraig (39) and Tom Hennessy (43), was just one of 10 firms invited from 251 applicants from 53 countries worldwide to pitch their brainchild at the Alltech Ideas Conference in the Lexington Convention Centre in the capital of the Bluegrass State.
The company got to pitch to more than 3,000 attendees from over 70 countries, including some of the premier global leaders in the agriculture sector, and even shared the stage with motivational speaker Bear Grylls.
Terra NutriTech, set up in just 2012 after the brothers spotted a Eureka-like niche in the market, specialise in the smart supplementing of nutritional additives to all species of livestock through their water systems.
“Our unique, and award-winning technology means animals can receive the precise daily dose of any liquid supplement leading to healthier stock and better returns,” said Padraig.
“It had to be precise, be able to deal with fluctuating consumption – our ‘secret ingredient’ – and be easy to use,” he said.
“Additionally, our technology can generate data for both producer and supplier on an easily understood dashboard for the most accurate and timely nutritional decisions,” he added.
The system monitors consumption on a herd basis, and sends updates to the farmer’s phone or computer every 15 minutes.
“Oh, it was huge, from Canada, the US, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Morocco and Italy,” said Padraig, of the worldwide interest acquired at the Kentucky conference from some of the biggest agri-nations on the world.
“Oh, there’s nothing guaranteed, but there’s plenty in the pipeline to work on. There’s huge potential,” he continued.
“And all of this from little, rural Moone?” enquired the Kildare Nationalist.
“From little acorns…,” he smiled.
The firm now employs 21 people, and recently announced a €2m investment in research and development and global expansion – a factor the Kentucky invite will only bolster.
Last year they reached five per cent penetration of the Irish dairy mineral market and a multimillion-euro level of turnover, and have a number of initiatives which the brothers hope will lead to a significant boost in job numbers over the course of the next 24 months, with a potential of 40 jobs by 2021.
The invite to Kentucky came about after the firm was one of just 10 worldwide to be selected for the prestigious Pearse Lyons Accelerator Programme – a legacy programme set up in the memory of the Louth-born entrepreneur and scientist Dr Pearse Lyons, who set up the animal nutrition firm Alltech in a garage in Lexington in 1980 with just $10,000.
“Through the Pearse Lyons Accelerator we carry on my father’s legacy, his entrepreneurial spirit and his desire to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs who are transforming the face of agriculture.” said Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech.