It takes a village to raise a startup

By Dan Winson, Zetifi CEO & Founder

 

We rarely stop for long enough to reflect on our progress and achievements at Zetifi.

I’m making an effort to change that and with the announcement of our Series A last week, it seems like a good time to thank a lot of people and share some thoughts on our plans from here (tldr: we need even more amazing people, DM me if you’d like to talk).

 

Has it really only been four years?!

It seems impossible that it was only four or so years ago that it was just me experimenting and building product prototypes at the back of Think Technology’s office in Wagga.

Back then, I was generally on the tools, learning what works and what doesn’t on dusty cattle stations in the Northern Territory and other farms all around the country. A combination of good fortune, hard work and generous support from farmers, friends, family, investors, and the state and federal governments has allowed us to build a talented team that has now grown to 20 staff in Wagga, Sydney, Melbourne, and New York!

Over the past 18 months, we’ve deployed hundreds of pilot systems and refined our offers for vehicle, machinery and farm connectivity into products that are ready for the transition to mass manufacturing and a mass market launch.

Last week we announced our $12.25m Series A round led by Telstra and GrainCorp with participation from existing investors including Cultiv8 Funds Management, GrainInnovate, and Artesian. The support we’ve had from investors is a testament to the quality of our team and technology but it’s also recognition that there is a genuine need for our solutions and that the market for providing coverage extension in rural and remote areas is going to continue to grow as farmers and other rural businesses look to adopt connectivity dependent tools and technologies.

We’re very grateful to be in this position so it’s nice to have this opportunity to thank all those who’ve had a hand in preparing us for the next stage of this incredible journey.

  • Firstly, we need to thank the hundreds of Aussie farmers who continue to work with us in developing, trialling and refining our technology. You have provided us with the inspiration to tackle this challenge and the education on what farmers need when it comes to connectivity.  In particular, the innovators like Andrew Sevil and Wally Newman who led the way by solving their own problems – thanks for letting us come along for the ride.
  • For taking a chance on a big idea and embracing the challenges and sacrifices that come with early-stage startup life I need to personally thank our families, which for me requires a special thank you to my amazing wife @Melissa Winson, not only for tolerating my constant focus on Zetifi but for being the best partner anyone could ask for – without your insights, intelligence and resilience there is no way we could be making this happen.
  • For providing your time, knowledge, contacts and in many cases, capital, we’d like to thank our board, advisors and investors, especially Scott Newham, Hakan Eriksson, Richard Skellern, David Skellern, Luke Harwood, Rob Williams, Guy Hudson, Jonathon Quigley, Malcolm Nutt, Jordan Jeffery
  • Finally, the various Government and industry stakeholders that have helped us take our technology from concept to reality. Your support has enabled the R&D activities and the commercial pilots needed to learn many valuable lessons. Without you, we wouldn’t be ready to build products that can solve rural connectivity problems at scale. DPIR NT, Wagga Wagga Council, NSW Chief Scientist, DPI NSW, Investment NSW, CSIRO, Food Agility, NSW Telco Authority, DPIRD WA, MADFIG, LIFT, Department of Communications, DAWE, AusIndustry, AMGC, EvokeAg, Grow-NY, Cornell University, Birchip Cropping Group, Case IH, SpaceX, Delta Ag, Essential Energy, Motorola Solutions, University of Technology Sydney, Charles Sturt University, Elders, Nutrien, Intersales, Total Ag, Hutcheon & Pearce, TELUS & Telstra.

 

What a team!

Last but definitely not least is a very big thank you to the incredible team we’ve managed to pull together over the last few years. Being able to start a technology company in regional Australia presents some challenges so being able to continually find or attract top-quality people to join us with specialised skills in networking, software engineering, systems design, manufacturing and more at just the right time has been amazing.

We’ve taken on some big projects that have challenged us but every single time our team has stepped up to achieve and exceed expectations.

The feeling of hitting a project deadline or deploying a big order with every member of our team knowing they’ve played a critical role in making it happen is a pretty special feeling that you can’t get without a lot of hard work. You have to be a ‘doer’ to make it at Zetifi! We’ll celebrate that appropriately at this year’s Christmas party.

 

Our plans from here – come and join us!

Our top priority right now is using these funds will be used to grow our teams in Wagga Wagga, NSW and Rochester, NY, USA while establishing new offices in Sydney and Melbourne. We’ve already commenced recruitment for software engineers, data scientists and other technical staff and will be advertising for sales and customer success roles soon. We’re unashamedly using the media attention from our raise, including this post, to attract the best candidates possible – if you know someone we should be talking to please send them to zetifi.com/careers or ask them to reach out directly via careers@zetifi.com.

We’re excited to be getting to work on scaling the delivery of the solutions we’ve developed. We know that this is just the next step. No doubt there are plenty of challenges and hard work ahead of us still but we’re incredibly pleased to be given the chance to do it with the resources we need to succeed.

Let’s go!!

Dan

Zetifi

Zetifi

Last-mile connectivity for vehicles, machinery & farms

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