Shaking up the way we farm - LaunchVic

Shaking up the way we farm

Case Studies

18 May 2022 by Holly Clark

Part AgTech, part FinTech, investment app Invest Inya Farmer (IIF) was inspired by entrepreneur Nathan MacPhee’s treechange to Mansfield, Victoria.

‘The idea for Invest Inya Farmer came from actually wanting to be a farmer myself,’ says Nathan, who moved to the High Country after decades in finance in Sydney.

‘But getting enough land to make it possible was just too expensive. I wondered if I could invest in the process of farming, rather than the land that it happens on.’

The easy-to-use platform allows everyday Australians to take a stake in what a farm grows — like a newborn calf or dozens of oysters.

‘With Invest Inya Farmer, you can have this whole diversified farm on your phone. It’s never been done anywhere in the world,’ adds Nathan.

‘These micro-investments keep the farmer afloat while crops grow and animals reach maturity. And when the time comes to sell, investors hopefully return a profit.’

So, Nathan doesn’t own a block of land and a herd of cows. Instead, he owns two cows, plus a beehive, five fruit trees, 20,000 baby oysters, a little bit of rice and few fields of wheat.

And he’s enabled others from city to country to do the same.

While IIF’s investors are set to benefit, the real winners here are farmers.

For generations, farmers have grappled with not getting paid until their products have been harvested and sold, often taking months or years. They now have access to much-needed liquidity to support their harvesting cycles and farming capacity.

Farming for the future

Nathan is one of our many bright minds living in regional Victoria. And while big ideas are constantly coming out of thriving agricultural farms, support for their growth into business opportunities has previously been lacking.

To make sure ideas don’t stay in the shed, LaunchVic supports innovative regional accelerator programs across the state. That includes Startup Shakeup, Startup Gippsland, and Runway Geelong, which are all specifically designed to help local entrepreneurs solve AgTech problems and shape farming futures.

They connect a community of business innovators with investors, and local government supporters, creating the opportunity to share knowledge, resources and ideas, while also acquiring new skills to succeed.

It’s no doubt the programs are helping startups flourish, when you consider the success of recent Startup Shakeup graduate Nathan MacPhee.

Planting the seeds of entrepreneurship

When it comes to Startup Shakeup, Nathan said it has made all the difference. Simply put, he ‘wouldn’t have pursued the idea’ without it.

A strong connection with other ‘shakers’ has introduced him to ‘all sorts of people that have really helped the business to grow’.

In just six months since graduating, Invest Inya Farmer is attracting investors from all over the country. With an app just launched, the regional startup has plenty of growth to come.

Startup Shakeup founder Ilena Young said what Nathan has accomplished with Invest Inya Farmer is ‘visionary’.

‘The new technology at IIF addresses a key agricultural challenge of raising capital — an issue that has existed for generations,” Ilena said.

‘It also has the potential to be a powerful promotional tool for agriculture and even attract young people to the sector.’

Hatching AgTech’s Next Big Ideas

LaunchVic has already assisted more than 160 regional entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including AgTech, food and clean energy by funding pre-accelerators programs.

Additional funding announced this year means even more support will be unlocked for startups in the regions.