Solar Power Sets Moovement Apart
Building a business around GPS technology is nothing new. However, the startup company has taken a new approach to the business by using solar power.
“As a dedicated Agtech investor, we have reviewed many sensor-based solutions, but very few of them manage to satisfy the specific needs of customers. The ear tag itself is unique because it is solar charged, hence, no batteries to replace,” said Jeroen Kimmels, managing partner of Future Food Fund. Based in the Netherlands, the Future Food Fund has a portfolio including Phenospex (a plant analytics company), foamplant (a packaging material business that uses plant substrate), AvL Motion, and Thatchtec.
Using solar power on cattle ear tags is significant because it reduces the administrative burden on farmers. Instead of replacing batteries frequently, they can focus on cattle tracking. The cattle ear tags weigh less than 30 grams (1.05 ounces). While the Moovement mobile app (available on iOS, Android, and as a web app) is free, Moovement charges for other parts of its solution. The GPS ear tags are sold for $36 as a one-off purchase (or $6 per year). The farm management software app is $1,500 per year.
Growing From an Accelerator Program
Moovement has been developing its technology steadily since participating in a startup business accelerator program in 2017. Specifically, the startup company joined the Rabobank program for startups.
The multinational Dutch banking company has several programs aimed at helping startup companies. The bank's accelerator program is run in cooperation with Startupbootcamp. The program includes support from 30 business mentors. The bank also has a dedicated investment fund, the Rabo Food, and Agri Innovation Fund, aimed at food and agriculture startup companies in the United States (EU) and Western Europe. Given the prior business relationship with Rabobank, the startup company may eventually receive additional financial support from the bank.
Growing the Business in Australia
In 2020, the business launched its product in Australia to customers in the beef business. Before launching commercially, the agtech startup company ran pilot tests with Australian farmers. According to the Australian government statistics, there are 24 million cattle in the country. If the startup business sold its GPS ear tag to half of the country’s cattle, it could earn more than $400 million.
How the Cattle Tracking Technology Works
The Moovement approach to the cattle tracking business recognizes that cattle farmers often have limited connectivity. The GPS tags don’t need a cellular connection via a 3G or 4G network. Instead, the company connects the GPS ear tags to a LoRa (i.e., long-range) network. LoRa is a type of low-power wireless technology designed for long-range communication. The startup company estimates that this technology can cover up to 4.9 miles (8 kilometers).
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.