New Zealand agritech innovators are exploring new ways to feed the world. Join the conversation in Tauranga on 23 May.
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What's it all about?

World-leading dairy and horticultural industries have established New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of fine food, and now the country’s collaborative agricultural ecosystem is shifting its focus to the development of sustainable ways to feed the world. Will the future of food production rely on robots and data, or a global consumer shift toward alternative proteins? Join the discussion in Tauranga on 23 May and meet the new artisans of agricultural innovation that’s good for the world.

  • Agriculture
  • Robots
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Techweek NZ Headline Event


Dr Alistair Scarfe grew up in agriculture where he developed a passion for using technology to improve farming. He has been developing agricultural robotic systems since 2008, including building the prototype autonomous kiwifruit harvester for his PhD thesis. Alistair is a founder of Robotics Plus and sits across chief technical officer and company director roles, making him responsible for overseeing the execution of all of Robotics Plus' projects.
Arama Kukutai's connection to agriculture in Aotearoa goes back seven generations. On his father's side, he is of Ngāti Maniapoto and Te Aupōuri descent, and his family have farmed in New Zealand for decades. He's continued in the family line, working for over 20 years in agribusiness. He served as as executive chairman of PKW Farms, a successful agribusiness and diversified investment entity involved in dairy farming and aquaculture activities in New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Arama also led the New Zealand government’s Trade and Investment agency in North America, following which he emigrated to the USA.

In 2005, he and Dr. Jerry Caulder co-founded Finistere Ventures, a pioneer in the agriculture and food technology sector. Kukutai led the creation of Finistere’s global network in agritech which includes offices in Tel Aviv, San Diego and Silicon Valley, and Dublin, Ireland in partnership with the Irish Strategic Investment Fund. Finistere is one of the leading agritech focused venture funds, and is partnered with industry leaders including Nutrien, Bayer, Pepsico, Graincorp and International Farming Corporation. Kukutai serves on the boards as a Director or Observer of Finistere portfolio companies AgGenetics, Biolumic, Crop Pro Insurance, CropX, Hi Fidelity Genetics, Plenty, Taranis and Zeakal. Mr. Kukutai is an active member of the agritech investing community - currently investing from Finistere Ventures' second fund - and a regular presenter at leading industry events.
Eric is co-founder and managing director of Fall Line Capital, bringing over 18 years of professional investment, financial services and operating experience to the firm. Prior to forming Fall Line with Clay Mitchell in 2011, Eric spent 12 years at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a top tier Silicon Valley venture capital firm with over $3 billion of assets under management. At Lightspeed, he was a Managing Director responsible for early and growth stage investments in technology and services companies in the U.S. and China.

Eric has a track record of identifying and executing effectively against emerging market opportunities. In 2004, he identified a strategic opportunity for Lightspeed to expand its activities to China, where very few U.S. venture capital firms had established themselves at the time. That year, he sourced the firm’s first investment in the region and led the creation of Lightspeed’s overall strategy for China. In 2006, he moved himself and his family to Shanghai for five months to help formally establish Lightspeed’s China office, build the local investment team, and make several of the firm’s initial investments in the region, one of which became the firm’s first successful liquidity event in China.
George Kellerman is a founding member of Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley ("YMVSV") where he serves as the COO and General Partner. George leads YMVSV's global AgTech initiatives, and he is primarily focused on in-field agricultural automation and robotics. Before joining YMVSV George was a venture capitalist investing in early-stage startups, and he also served as a senior executive at companies such as Dell, Experian, and Yahoo!.
Nicky Molloy is a business innovation advisor within Callaghan Innovation's Agritech team. She has over 20 years experience working across the food supply chain for companies such as Goodman Fielder, Kiwi Dairies and Tatua Co-op Dairies, both with a New Zealand focus and global ambition. Focusing now at the start of the food chain, she is working with agritech companies across NZ to help farmers work smarter, not harder. She is passionate about building a strong agritech sector in NZ that is connected, collaborative and recognised globally as a leader in innovation solutions on-farm.
Rod Slater has been Chief Executive Officer at Beef + Lamb New Zealand for 20 years now, joining the association in 1994. Recently, Rod has fronted the Quality Mark campaign alongside Chelsea Winter, playing the role of the butcher. However, fronting these ads comes quite naturally to Rod who is a butcher by trade. Rod started the Mad Butcher chain with Peter Leitch in the early 1980s, opening their first satellite store in Takapuna (outside Mangere).

The Quality Mark campaign revolves around the message of 'Tough Standards. Tender Results.' and Rod was very much a part of introducing Quality Mark standards into the industry back in 1997.
Dr. Rosie Bosworth is a future of foods strategist, speaker, and communications specialist. She is passionate about creating a sustainable, progressive and scaleable global food system fit for a growing world.

Her work centres around the intersection of tech, science and biotech, and new global food systems, her specialist topic alternative protein food systems and controlled (indoor) farming.

Rosie works as an advisor to business, industry and government on the various strategic pathways forward in the future of food and agriculture, and is also an experienced journalist and regular keynote speaker (including TEDx) on the future of food.

Rosie has a PhD in environmental innovation and sustainable technology development. Much of her research was undertaken at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and her research took her to learn from the world’s top think tanks & innovators across the NL, Australia, Germany, Belgium & Australia.
Sanjeev is chief investment officer and managing director of S2G Ventures, and he has been with the firm since its inception. Sanjeev has nearly 20 years of experience in sourcing, executing, managing and exiting venture and private equity investments, including a focus in agriculture and food companies. As managing director, Sanjeev is active in developing investments and managing portfolio companies including, serving on many portfolio company boards. His portfolio work ranges from genetics, crop protection, soil health, digital/IOT, crop insurance, merchandising, indoor agriculture, novel flavor and ingredients, new protein development, unique processors and brands that will feed the changing consumer.

He is passionate about the role of innovation, entrepreneurship, markets and system investing as a theory of change. Sanjeev has worked in the intersection of sustainability, technology and health in many regions, including Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. He has invested over $500m in venture and growth stage firms throughout his career.

Sanjeev began investing as a co-founder of the life sciences practice of the IFC, the $20 billion private investment arm of the World Bank. His previous investment roles include CLSA Capital Partners, Global Environment Fund, World Bank Group’s IFC and JPMorgan. Sanjeev is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Sarah Nolet is a globally recognized food systems innovation expert. Sarah works across the global food system supply chain, helping farmers, agribusinesses, universities, investors and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Sarah holds a Masters in system design and management from MIT, a certificate in sustainability from the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan, and a B.S. in computer science and human factors engineering from Tufts University. Sarah is also a writer, startup investor and advisor.
Shane works as innovation manager for the Bay of Plenty, a joint role between the University of Waikato and Priority One (Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty’s economic development organisation). In this role, he focusses on facilitating collaboration and exploring new opportunities at the interface of research and business in the region. He is currently managing the establishment of PlanTech, the new regional research institute involving 10 organisations including eight companies, and has also supported successful large-scale collaborations in powder metallurgy, cybersecurity and robotics.
Steven Saunders (Ngāti Ranginui) has 34 years’ experience in the horticultural and food sector and is the founder, owner and managing director of the Plus Group of companies, specialising in horticulture management consultancy, orchard ownership, global pollen production, robotic development (Robotics Plus ltd), international ventures, applied technology, environmental research, innovation and science.

Steven is the co-founder of Newnham Park Innovation Centre in Tauranga (NZ), which hosts eight local export award winning independent companies predominately in the food sector. He's also a major stakeholder in the kiwifruit Industry; an active angel investor; a director of many privately-owned companies and tech startups; an elected member of the executive board for Priority One (driving economic growth in the Bay of Plenty, NZ); and independent director at Lincoln Hub, Agrigate, Māori Economic Development Advisory Board, and founding shareholder and director of Rockit Global Limited.

Steven is an active member of the Te Hono Stanford Business School Alumni, Nuku Ki Te Puku (Māori food and beverage cluster) and Te Tiro Toi Whakangao (Māori tech cluster).

Steven is a founder, shareholder and director of “WNT Ventures” tech incubator and a founding member of PlantTech, Tauranga (NZ) recently awarded Regional Research Institute, a Private sector - Government initiative.

Steven was awarded the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, Westpac “Business Leadership Award in 2014” and the Tauranga Boys College 2016 old boy award.
Todd Muller was born in Te Aroha and raised in Te Puna. He attended Tauranga Boys College before earning his Master’s Degree from the University of Waikato.

His career experience includes roles as a General Manager for Zespri, Chief Executive of Bay of Plenty company Apata, and most recently as Group Director Cooperative Affairs for Fonterra.

He is a former University of Waikato Councillor, and sat on the Boards of Plant & Food Research and the Sustainable Business Council.

During his time in Parliament Todd has served as the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, and as the Deputy Chairperson of the Education and Science Select Committee.

He is currently the Opposition Spokesperson for Climate Change and Deputy Chair of the Environment Select Committee.

Todd is married to Michelle and is father to their three children, Aimee, Bradley, and Amelia.
Toni is currently CEO of Lincoln University's The Lincoln Hub, He Puna KariKari, a collaboration between research, education and industry that aims to transform the productivity and performance of New Zealand and the world’s primary sector. She has had over 20 years’ experience in agriculture, food and beverage, consulting and industrial sectors across corporate strategy, transforming the customer experience, designing and delivering growth initiatives and technology solutions, establishing new business ventures across multiple stakeholders and geographies.
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