How Aussie startup Regrow became a global ag resilience leader - evokeAG.

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How Aussie startup Regrow became a global ag resilience leader

With applications for the 2025 evokeAG. Startup Program opening later this year, we thought we’d check back in with past participants to find out where they are now – and how the Startup Program helped them get there.
And what better place to start than our inaugural 2019 cohort?
In the third article of our series, evokeAG. contributor Casey Dunn sat down with Regrow co-founder and CEO, Dr Anastasia Volkova, to hear how she got from a $20,000 pitch contest to having the pulse on over 1.3B acres around the world.

Anastasia Volkova

Wind the clock back to February 2019. AgriFutures Australia was hosting its first ever evokeAG. event, and Dr Anastasia Volkova was in the pitch tent at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building – competing against other agtech startups for the $20,000 ‘investment-ready’ prize.  

By the end of that year, Anastasia’s company, FluroSat, had its crop monitoring and management platform used in 15 countries. Today, the company rebranded as ‘Regrow, enables its customers with field-level visibility into a global footprint of 1.3B acres (10%+ of the world’s arable land).   

RELATED: More than just office yoga: Farmwall’s fresh approach to scope 3 emissions

A certified B Corp, Regrow works with the world’s biggest food brands to help them measure, report, and take meaningful action on reducing scope 3 emissions from agricultural production.  

Regrow Co-Founder and CEO, Dr Anastasia Volkova, shares what she’s learned about scaling sustainability.  

Q: By anyone’s measure, Regrow has had a meteoric rise. How did you get from pitch tents to the partnerships with agrifood giants like Mars, Kellogg, Unilever, and Cargill?

A: At the time of that first evokeAG. event, we were three years into founding FluroSat; still very much focused on agronomic decision support and solutions – and looking for a broader product market fit downstream.  

We were pitching on a small stage, getting a sense of how our message landed and ironing it out. But what we found was, at that market time in Australia, it was just too early for us to focus our attention here. The local market wasn’t really interested in FluroSense – technology which uses modelling, remote sensing imagery, and machine learning to detect early signs of plant stress and aid proactive management. 

If we were going to succeed, we needed to go overseas.  

RELATED: ‘Stay in the fight’; how 10 agrifood tech companies are scaling up at evokeAG. 2024 

Q:  What market did you tap into first?

A: Initially the United States (US). We’d received an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant from the Australian Government (no longer running) to expand into the US. And while we were more advanced on our journey than some of the other startups in the Startup Program, we were able to support and mentor them, the exposure we had to international representatives was helpful for us, too. It showed us how others were tackling international scale.  

Since that time, we’ve expanded our focus beyond crop management.

As Regrow, we’re on a mission to make the entire agricultural value chain more resilient globally – on every acre, and every farm.

We turned our early FluroSense offering into what is now known as Regrow’s advanced MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verification) platform, we’ve gone on to work with 40% of the world’s top agriculture, food and beverage brands, providing satellite monitoring, environmental and soil carbon modelling, that offer transparent and scalable interventions that drive significant climate action in agriculture at scale. 

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And now we feel that the timing is right for us to come back to Australia; to partner with international brands to bring resilience-minded agriculture programs ‘down under’.   

That’s a typical trajectory for an Australian agtech startup: where you have to leave the country and succeed to be considered ‘in vogue’ here. 

Q: Why is it that a typical trajectory? Is it about legitimacy? Are Australian brands followers, not leaders?

A: There are a few reasons. Australia’s market is an oligopoly, where control lies in the hands of a few large companies who own the dominant share. It is also very conservative; innovation tends not to be seen as a competitive advantage, but as a risk. By contrast, the US is a very competitive market, and businesses are eager to invest in innovation that gives them an edge.  

Don’t get me wrong – Australian growers and producers are extremely innovative. They’re not subsidised, so they have to be. But the downstream side of the Australian supply chain is just not pursuing sustainability to the level we see in the EU and US.

European brands have made it very clear how they’re going to achieve it, and the US is making headway in Europe. We are starting to see the early signs of the pace picking up in Australia with the scope 3 reporting regulations coming into force and hope that it will help Australian agriculture industry accelerate its journey to meet emerging global climate standards. 

RELATED: How canola is leading the charge on Scope 3 decarbonisation in the Australian cropping sector 

So, Australia will eventually have to. But right now, because we export so much to Asian markets which tend to be more concerned about food safety than sustainability, the demand driver is just not as strong for Australian business models.  

That’s why we needed to move away from Australia to realise our use case, and now with the coming regulations, we are bringing this market back into focus.  

Q: Is there a role for companies like Regrow to enter the challenge at the downstream end – and be the evidence that change is already happening?  

[There’s a lot of talk in the Australian agrifood sector about the need to drive a regenerative or low-carbon transition, and early movers are doing great things. But the urgent call-to-action piece can fall a bit flat: ‘Financiers are looking at it. Brands are likely to start demanding it. Regulations might require it.’]

A: Yes, definitely. That’s a big part of the value proposition that Regrow offers: global change management around supply chain resilience, leveraging globally compatible science and data to enable the change which big brands need to enact.

We are coming back home with some of those brands, who are excited to expand their global supply portfolio. Because every region – including Australia – is on their agenda.  

We’re already working with over 100 organisations. Our partners have collectively invested more than $19M to support farmers in adopting regenerative practices, and we’re excited to bring these programs home so that Australian producers can be rewarded for their sustainable transition, too. 

RELATED: Creating a collaborative agrifood tech investment landscape in Australia: Opportunities and challenges in 2024 

But Australia itself does need to play a bigger role in pushing for sustainability. I’m not saying everything needs to be regulated, or every farmer must adopt carbon footprinting. But we need to acknowledge that, if as a nation we want to be aligned towards global sustainability goals, then we must make real investments.  

Europe and the US are making those investments. But will Australia? That’s the question. 

Q: But the B2B level is where we’ll drive change the fastest?

A: Yes. So far we’re seeing more traction with international brands in the Australian market and hope that national brands will see investment in resilience as the clear derisking opportunity. 

Large multinational brands compliant with international scope 3 disclosure rules now have leveraged Regrow to gain detailed insights into their supply chains, identifying emissions hotspots, and developing targeted strategies for emission reductions. The leaders – many in partnership with Regrow, are acting on their scope 3 commitments, as they see how much the lack of on-farm resilience can cost their businesses and how directly it cuts into the longevity of their value chains.  

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A: With coverage across 10% of global acres, what’s next for Regrow?

Scaling in Australia, as a key part of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, is an important play. But outside of just the geographical extension, our goal is to transform arable acres globally to be resilient to climate change. Because the fact is, across the world, we’re mining soil health and not necessarily incentivising the practices that could help us leave the land arable for the future generations.  

Our vision is to build an agriculture resilience platform for the entire value chain to collaborate on against the value of not only production, but impact.

From procurement contracts to long-term view into product formulation, all the way from the farm to the shelf and claims of sustainability that are made on it.  

That’s the future of Regrow. 

To find out more about the AgriFutures evokeAG. Startup Program visit 

Applications for the 2025 evokeAG. Startup Program open in September 2024. Contact Dallas Pearce via [email protected] for more information.  

Tickets are now on sale for evokeAG. 2025 to be held on 18-19 February 2025 in Brisbane, Queensland. Following a sell-out event in 2024 we are encouraging delegates to secure their tickets, flights and accommodation early.

We look forward to seeing you in Brisbane for evokeAG. 2025. In the meantime, catch up on the other conversations about sustainability, climate resilience and the role of agtech in meeting those challenges from here.

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