Emma Black (right) and Shannon Speight (left) have won the Pitch in the Paddock competition with their startup Black Box Co. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
Emma Black (right) and Shannon Speight (left) have won the Pitch in the Paddock competition with their startup Black Box Co. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

Beef competition winners’ dream to revolutionise ag data

Mountains of agricultural data has often been brushed aside or overlooked, however a start-up company has compiled it so it can be presented in an interactive and simple way.

Black Box Co was founded about 12 months ago by CEO Shannon Speight and COO Emma Black after the beef industry came to them with the issue.

The entrepreneurs then developed a solution so that farmers can see how their decisions on the paddocks affect the end result – the steak on the plate.

Mrs Speight has a genomics and breeding background and Mrs Black has experience across the entire supply chain and meat science.

Their work and idea was so well received it won evokeAG’s Pitch in the Paddock competition at Rockhampton Beef on Wednesday May 5.

They had three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of five judges: Microsoft’s David Halpern, Capital B’s Bevan Slattery, StartupAus’ Alex McCauley, John Deere’s Luke Chandler, and Thomas Elder Consulting’s Bruce Cheek.

Black Box Co competed against eight other contestants, but came out on top and scored $10,000.

Black Box Co won Beef's Pitch in the Paddock award.
Black Box Co won Beef's Pitch in the Paddock award.

Emma Black (left) and Shannon Speight (right) have won the Pitch in the Paddock competition with their start-up Black Box Co. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
Emma Black (left) and Shannon Speight (right) have won the Pitch in the Paddock competition with their start-up Black Box Co. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

“It was fantastic in terms of industry exposure and really being able to showcase new technology,” Mrs Black said.

Black Box Co’s team is spread across Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland and they all work remotely.

“We’ve been going for a little over 12 months,” Mrs Speight said.

“We started with next to nothing – a USB and a dream and now we’ve got over 800,000 animals, over 12 million data points, we’re working with some of the largest pastoral companies and we just closed our $1.5 million capital rate.”

They’ve been focused on the northern beef industry over the past 12 months, but look to expand south soon and also collect lamb data.

Black Box Co won Beef's Pitch in the Paddock award.
Black Box Co won Beef's Pitch in the Paddock award.