Good traits found easy

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Good traits found easy

Anew livestock app recently had major success, with a born and bred Mount Gambier boy at the helm of its creation.

Mount Gambier’s Liam Van Schaik, who is now based in Adelaide, co-founded the app ‘TraitSelect’ with fellow University of Adelaide agricultural science students Tom Gameau and Hector Mackenzie.

The innovative smartphone app won the University of Adelaide’s Australian eChallenge and Mr Van Schaik said winning the top prize was exciting.

“I think overall it was a bit of a shock moment, we never anticipated that we would win the top prize,” Mr Van Schaik said.

“We always had the aspiration that we would do well and that we would get some recognition for our idea and how much progress we had made, but hearing our names as first overall prize was really a massive shock but a huge honour.

“It is a pretty small club of people that have won the eChallenge and to join that club is outstanding for us.”

The trio received $10,000 cash, $1000 worth of consultancy services from Madderns Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys and a $4000 package which includes permanent residency for 12 months and Accelerator business workshops at the University’s ThincLab business incubator.

Mr Van Schaik said the motivation behind creating an app was driven dafter identifying the livestock industry was somewhat behind in technology, particularly technology that enables farmers to make smarter decisions in terms of breeding herds and livestock management.

“We identified that as a key gap in the industry and I think then we looked at the method of how it is done now, and pen and paper is basically how farmers select their breeding livestock now,” he said.

“So we addressed that and said ‘okay, how can we digitise that method and make it easier for the new generation of farmers coming through’.

“An app is what we believed was going to be the easiest and most user-friendly platform for farmers to use when selecting breeding livestock at a livestock sale.

“Having a mobile app that can select your livestock in 30 seconds rather than spending an entire day at a sale, it is a no-brainer.

“We would like to have a working product in the middle of the year and then essentially be on the road and attending sales during the spring period and actually trialling it with farmers and the ag industry or the livestock industry.”

Mr Van Schaik said most of the prize money would be used to up-skill Mr Gameau, who is the chief technology officer and will undertake an eight-week software development course which teaches how to build apps.

“That strengthens our business by us not having to outlay a large sum of money to an app developer,” he said.

Mr Van Schaik said the app had lots of potential in the South East, as a large agricultural region renowned for its breeding and livestock.

“I think there is actually a chance the South East would be an area that we would like to kind of progress through initially and be our initial region that we introduce it out to,” he said.

Mr Van Schaik said during his younger years he was not entirely set down the path of agriculture, however after finishing school he discovered it was where his passion truly lies.

“When I finished school, I did a vintage in the Barossa Valley and then did some work on a close friend’s station up in New South Wales and I think it was those two key moments where I knew that my passion was in agriculture and I just fell in love with it,” he said.

“I think I just love the aspect of the farming and I love the aspect of the community and I guess everyone working together towards a common goal.”

Mr Van Schaik said his agricultural science degree, which he completed in December, drove his passion further as he met people from all over Australia with different backgrounds, stories and families who are involved with various enterprises.

“Obviously my family business is in the agriculture industry and that is a little bit of a sweetener I suppose, that drives me even more, wanting to make change in the industry,” he said.

“I think that is why Hector, Tom and myself, we really enjoy what we do with TraitSelect because we can see where we are going to make a difference and I think that is what drives us every day.”

Mr Van Schaik said trio was about to enter its capital funding stage, so they were going to be seeking investors, silent or partnerships, to come on board with TraitSelect.

“We are more than happy to chat to farmers about trialling the app, we are more than happy to chat and connect with people who might see this as an opportunity for themselves,” he said.

“If anyone is interested in trialling or having a conversation with us, we are more than happy to.”

Visit or contact 0455 485 167 for more information or contact Liam Van Schaik on to express interest.

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