GET TO KNOW: TIMOTHY WILLIS FROM AEROBOTICS
Aerobotics is an aerial data analytics company, using satellite and drone imagery to help farmers around the world optimise their crop performance with it’s cloud based analytics platform called Aeroview. As the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Growth, Tim will initially focus on growing the Aerobotics customer base through scalable platforms. He will also be managing the company’s global expansion efforts which will fully begin after Aerobotics closes its Series A funding round.
We had the pleasure of asking Timothy a few questions on the food and beverage industry:
FNA: What do you believe has been the key change in the F&B sector over the past five years?
TW: I think that the way in which food and beverages are grown and prepared has seen a material change over the past 5 years. For instance, Aerobotics, works with Tree Crop Growers around the world to provide them with pest and disease control using satellite and drone imagery. Five years ago it would have been unthinkable to combine these technologies to make decisions about an age-old problem in a sector which is relatively slower to adopt new technologies. Today, most Growers are using some form of drone technology to increase their yields.
FNA: Where do you see the three key challenges driving innovation in the industry over the next
TW: The first challenge for the industry will be to invest in new technology, especially precision ag-tech, quickly enough to compete with Growers overseas. Being more agile and being prepared to deviate from traditional business processes when it makes sense will be the second challenge. For instance, Aerobotics technology allows Growers to finance their trees instead of just the land. This could be a completely new funding stream
for Growers to finance new innovations. Finally, finding more efficient ways to use all of the available land for production will be an important challenge for the world globally as most country’s populations grow exponentially. Agtech can play a major part in making this possible.
FNA: The F&B sector is undergoing huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success
in the coming five years.
TW: Invest in precision ag-tech today – it takes time to build up databases of information and every minute that you delay it will put you behind your peers globally. Find new and alternative ways to finance production. Traditional practices may not make sense. (Only two tips at the moment)
FNA: Which type of people do you believe would gain the most form attending your session this
TW: 1) Supply chain companies – Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay
2) Large Growers or Acquirers of Produce – Coca Cola, PepsiCo, San Miguel, SAB Miller