Eitan Dan on change, horoscopes, and the bus tour that rolled CropX into Australia
Eitan Dan tells us he’s a Gemini – and that means he loves change. Whether it’s a new career, a move halfway across the world, or a pivot in direction for farming technology. Eitan is the Managing Director of CropX New Zealand and has previously led mega projects in intelligence and for homeland security, as well as serving as a Lieutenant Colonel of Israel Defence Forces. He shares the highs for CropX since they exhibited in Startup Alley at AgriFutures evokeAG. 2023, his thoughts ahead of appearing in the new Scaleup Station at evokeAG. 2024, and why the little things matter – like farmers and their big fingers.
Eitan Dan’s life journey hasn’t been linear. Weaving from a military career to homeland security, to the IoT sector, it’s taken him right through to a world he wasn’t familiar with – agrifood tech – and he couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Did you know half a potato creates seven?” Eitan asks.
“That’s how they grow potatoes at the end of each harvest. I didn’t know that, and these fascinating things I was learning really made a difference to the way I look at farmers.”
“I really saw the love for this profession. It’s a very hard one, just like the Army, but so fulfilling and one I am loving.”
All aboard the bus to new opportunities
Eitan isn’t one for standing still. He loves gadgets. New technologies. Innovation.
“We even figured out that farmers have big fingers, so we changed the buttons on our systems to suit them better,” he laughs.
His passion for the agrifood tech sector is palpable. Exuding excitement at evokeAG. 2023, Eitan shared the latest in agronomic farm management. The technology? CropX.
Aggregating data from soil to sky and transforming it into useful information, the CropX system helps farmers monitor the health of fields and crops. It’s an agronomic farm management system that connects farm data, real time real-time conditions and agronomic knowledge to help with successful and sustainable farming. CropX is pursuing a buy-and-build strategy focused on precision and sustainable agricultural technology, blending intensive research and development program with the acquisition of companies with complementary technologies, geographies and expertise.
CropX was founded in 2013 in New Zealand and moved to Israel in 2015 to draw from Israel’s deep history and expertise in water-efficient irrigation technologies. CropX acquired CropMetrics in early 2020, a precision irrigation company in Nebraska, United States. In late-2020 it bought Regen, a New Zealand precision irrigation company. Dacom Farm Intelligence, a precision agriculture company based in the Netherlands, came under its wing in 2021.
And it was aboard a bus on the Australian Market Immersion Tour, facilitated by Callaghan Innovation the week before evokeAG. 2023 that a chat sparked its first Australian acquisition.
“I started telling some South Australian consultants on the bus that we were looking for partnerships and they introduced me to a company called Green Brain,” Eitan says.
Fast forward to December 2023 and CropX acquired Green Brain, a prominent digital irrigation management solutions provider based in Adelaide.
Crossing the ditch to cement presence in Australia
Reflecting on evokeAG. 2023, Eitan says the experience opened a valuable door for CropX to the broader Australian market.
“When we were at evokeAG. 2023 we had three people on the ground in Australia. Now we have 12, we’ve just opened a local entity in Victoria, and we have a project with Agriculture Victoria,” he said.
“I do believe that evokeAG. gave us so much exposure even beyond helping us secure our first Australian acquisition. It really has helped us grow in Australia both in presence and profits.”
CropX also signed its first significant contract with a non-irrigating sector in Perth in December 2023. Summit Fertilisers will utilise CropX for customers using fertilisers in dryland farming.
“We’re really trying to increase this type of customers because the irrigated market is quite crowded, and dryland is less so,” Eitan said.
“We hope to find more players of this type in Perth because there’s very large areas in Western Australia which are non-irrigated, and we want to show CropX as not just an irrigation solution type of company.”
Launching goals with evokeAG. Scaleup Station
This opportunity will be ripe for the picking when CropX heads to evokeAG. 2024 in Perth.
CropX is one of 10 scaleup businesses selected to exhibit in the inaugural Scaleup Station.
Scaleup Station enables scaleup businesses who have previously exhibited in Startup Alley (at the 2019, 2020 or 2023 event) to demonstrate their advancements, connect with potential partners, and further accelerate their growth journey.
It’s tailored to champion agrifood tech companies that have transitioned from the startup phase to successful scaleups and give companies the opportunity to showcase their advancements and innovations, aiming to forge connections with potential partners.
And Eitan has his eye firmly on the latter – with a few more goals to tick too.
“The number one priority for us is finding another opportunity in Australia, similar to Green Brain, where you get a company with a very stable customer base but basic technology that CropX can offer a lot to,” he said.
“The second goal is looking for the next investor or even potential exit. CropX is closer now than ever to be acquired by a large organisation and that’s the goal, along with finding potential employees.
“That’s what we want to come out of our next evokeAG. experience – partnerships, investors, and potential employees. And to have another amazing evokeAG. in a totally new area of Australia.”
evokeAG. delegates from New Zealand are invited to join Eitan the week before evokeAG. 2024 on the Western Australia Market Immersion hosted by Callaghan Innovation from 14-19 February 2024. Book your ticket here. Explore the full evokeAG. program and more information about the sideline events at evokeag.com/2024-program.
For more information about evokeAG. 2024, and to purchase tickets, visit: evokeag.com/2024. If you’re a startup interested in attending, please contact [email protected] for a discount code. AgriFutures Australia is encouraging delegates to secure their tickets, flights, and accommodation early to avoid disappointment.