Chipsafer is a platform that will transform the way farmers care for their livestock. It not only tracks and detects anomalies in cattle behaviour, but does so remotely, autonomously and in real time. Chipsafer then sends all this information directly to the farmer, who can access it on a laptop or phone. This is of vital importance in poorer communities, as livestock are a key source of income. Through our technology farmers can not only learn where their animals are and receive warnings if an anomaly is detected, but obtain stats about the animals’ performance, helping them to improve herd production and in turn their profits. We also send out a warning message if the animal passes a specified perimeter or if the device is taken off, in order to prevent the cattle from being stolen.
In 2001, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease devastated Uruguay’s economy. Cattle is Uruguay’s principle export, so this epidemic not only affected the rural sector, but the whole country, causing huge economic losses, poverty and unemployment. The most affected communities also happened to be the poorest. We realised that by controlling livestock disease, we had an opportunity to significantly reduce events that would put a further strain on those already living in poverty. With Chipsafer, we aim to prevent diseases in cattle from spreading by detecting the outbreak as soon as it occurs. We will be able to help to combat cattle theft, increase productivity and lower animal mortality rate as well. In the future we also want to help the end consumer. Through our technology consumers will be able to obtain information on where and how animals were reared. This will help to bring about a substantial improvement in quality of life for the cattle, as consumers are ever more conscious of the need for humane treatment of livestock.
OUR VENTURE EXPERIENCE
The Venture completely exceeded expectations. From the moment we were chosen as the winner in Uruguay, the whole Chivas team treated us brilliantly, ensuring we were well-prepared for the final pitch. The exposure for Chipsafer was amazing and it resulted in loads of requests from farmers wanting to know more about us. In July, we went to the Accelerator Week and it was incredible. The coaches helped us find the right words to transmit our message and helped assess our working process. We are now implementing the lessons we learned at places like IDEO and Google. Presenting to the judges and having our name read out as a finalist was an experience that is indescribable. The final arrived and it was a fantastic experience. We won $150,000 USD, which was exactly what we needed for a year of operations and working capital. The Venture was one of the best experiences; we met amazing people, learnt new skills, got great advice, and had a lot of fun.
In 2015, we started generating revenue by selling a limited number of early-access Chipsafer devices to researchers and farmers. Our goal during this initial phase was to generate data from real-world operations of our devices and to deliver robust products in the scale-up phase with additional user requests. This helped us define the areas that needed improvement, such as additional animal behaviour statistics in our software. In 2016, we expect to break-even with revenue from this early-access program, and we will complete the integration of user and field-testing improvements into the commercial release system. We will also expand our team and have a customer support division to make sure all our customers are satisfied and to continue improving the platform. By the end of 2016 we plan to have animals monitored in Argentina, and by 2017, we plan to expand to other Latin American countries, like Paraguay and Chile.