Let's hear from Hydrox
In 2018, Queensland based Hydrox Technologies took home the title of Australian Technologies Competition Company of the Year as well as winner of the 2018 Food & Agribusiness Award.
We checked in with the Trenchard brothers (Mark and Rob) to find out more about their scaleup plans and what's in store for 2019.
Here's what they had to say...
For those that don’t know about your business, please describe who you are and what you do.
Hydrox Technologies is an innovative manufacturer of plastic for the agricultural sector. Hydrox recognises that despite the huge environmental benefits that come from its products, there are still aspects that can have a detrimental effect. To overcome these problems we are creating solutions that use less plastic polymer, while performing better for the farmer and reducing expenditure on his farm.
Hydrox Technologies is also commercialising innovative plastics waste processing plants to deal with end of life agricultural plastics, fully closing the loop on this plastic waste problem.
Who are your customers and where are they located?
Hydrox Technologies customers are growers of high value horticultural row crops such as melons, tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, strawberries and chillies. Our customers are located in regional areas where these crops are grown.
What are your primary business objectives for this year?
Hydrox Technologies has achieved great success in the Australian market, capturing upwards of 50% market share in its core product. This technology is now market proven over 4 years and ready to be scaled globally. As such Hydrox Technologies is currently undertaking a capital raise to launch this product initially to the USA and the following that to Europe and the rest of the world.
The fact that founders of scaleups are required to be across all aspects of their business - IP, administration, business development, production, marketing, etc can be quite the juggling act. If you could wave a magic wand and take away one or two stress points from your business, what would they be?
The stress of raising capital is significant in order to grow our business. It would be wonderful if the required growth capital to pursue our plans was more readily available and easier to access. Hydrox is currently seeking to upgrade its manufacturing plant to meet increasing demand and to grow our business internationally. Despite having captured 50% of the Australian market in less than 18 months, and having forecasts that see the business reach sales of over $150,000,000 after 6 years, access to capital is difficult to come by if you don’t include the words Blockchain, AI, App or Drone in your pitch.
The mission of the Australian Technologies Competition is to spotlight and mentor technology-based scaleups with the greatest global potential. In terms of commercialising your technology outside of Australia, where are you at or where do you want to be?
The global potential for our product and technology is substantial. To date we have mainly focussed on the US market due to the size and similarities with Australian farming operations. We have won an award in the USA for one of the Top 10 New Agricultural products introduced into the USA for 2018 and have conducted a number of commercial trials with large growers and universities. In terms of our global potential, we have registered for patents in 14 countries and are planning to expand into Europe, India, Africa and Asia after our successful expansion to North and South America.
What type of information/resources/partnerships do you think would be most valuable towards helping you enter foreign markets?
I have noticed that many Australian start up companies target the USA due to the market size and similarities with the business environment in Australia. It would be great to have introductions to pre-validated industry specific or industry agnostic investors. Additionally, it would to meet other founders that have built their business to be a global operation to hear of how they achieved their goals.
As entrepreneurs, who or what do you refer to for guidance, information and inspiration?
It is important to recognise as you undertake an entrepreneurial journey, that there is a wealth of information available to you. While many start-ups reach out to incubators and mentors, the founders of Hydrox have gained most of their information from countless hours researching their chosen field on the internet, followed by countless hours of trial and error perfecting them in practice.
Our inspiration however comes from communicating with our customers, discovering their pain points and then finding innovative ways to solve them.
If you could spend the day with any five people in the world and ask them a host of questions, who would they be and why?
Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Xi Jinping, Elon Musk. These people all have a good idea of manufacturing and the environment within the global business environment.
Having been through the Australian Technologies Competition, there is a level of camaraderie and understanding that you share with fellow peers. How important is it to businesses like yours to develop and maintain relationships with fellow SMEs and entrepreneurs?
It is very important for us to have a network or alumni to keep in touch with. As a scale up company we have our own challenges which may be different to other start up or established companies and feel that it is important to be able to share stories and network contacts that may assist with scaling our business.
For those looking to throw their hat in the ring and enter this year’s Competition, what would you say was the most valuable takeaway from the Competition?
We found that the competition forced us to review and analyse our business plan in a way that we had not done so before. We focussed in detail on all aspects of our business plan which allowed us to refine our pitch and identify areas that we needed to work on.
As an entrepreneur, what quote helps you stay motivated and inspired?
Never, never, never, never, never give up.
For more information on Hydrox Technologies, visit: www.hydroxtech.com