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From Agrilink to AquaSpy - A history of Agrilink

The founder of Agrilink had a simple goal: to become the Dell or Microsoft of the agriculture sector, to revolutionise farming by making available a host of web based services. By June 2009, when the company relocated from Australia to the United States of America, it had consumed over $50m AUD of venture capital without achieving its dream. This article provides an insight in to the history of the company and its many incarnations.

Company Incarnations

The history of Agrilink can be traced to a small company operating in Western Australia, Agrilink Water Management. After a number of years trading as Agrilink - Agrilink Holdings, Agrilink International, Agrilink Florida - the company morphed in to AquaSpy in 2008.

Agrilink Water Management

Agrilink Water Management was founded by Peter Moller in 1997 (Layden 2002). The company Moller had been working for closed its agriculture division and, rather than looking for employment, decided to start his own company. Agrilink Water Management began life as a neutron probe consultancy (Moller had been introduced to these then new devices by his former employer) providing irrigation management advice to growers in the south west of Western Australia. As Moller related to the Naples Daily News in 2002, after the company for whom he was working closed its agriculture division, he "had an entrepreneurial seizure one day, and thought I would go into business" [1].

When Adelaide based company, Sentek Sensor Technologies [2]introduced the EnviroSCAN capacitance soil moisture sensor, Moller signed on as a dealer. The company then switched from taking weekly neutron probe readings to consulting based on the continuous soil moisture data the new product delivered. This provided customers with far more information and helped increase the value of the services the company provided. At its peak the business employed Moller and two young consultant agronomists. Moller had ambitious plans for the company and called in a business consultant to help prepare a business plan to drive the company forward. Progress stalled when his newly appointed business manager and one of his agronomists left in quick succession.

During his time as a Sentek distributor, Moller worked closely with Nigel Robinson, the then Marketing Manager at Sentek. Sentek's soil moisture probes utilised multi-core cable to connect back to a data logger. The logger would be removed every week and taken back to the office to download the stored readings in to a computer running Sentek's software. The system had two major shortcomings: firstly the cable was susceptible to damage from machinery and lighting and secondly, users often returned to the site a week later only to discover that they had not correctly primed the logger prior to replacing it in the field, meaning a week of lost data. There had to be a better way.

Agrilink Holdings

Agrilink Holdings was added to the Australian companies register on 1/5/1997 (ACN 078 399 158, registered name AGRILINK HOLDINGS PTY LTD). Robinson had by then left Sentek and was looking for new opportunities.

Earlier in the year, Sentek had received a visit from Austrian Company Adcon Telemetry [3], to explore opportunities to distribute Adcon's range of telemetry products in Australia. At that time the equipment was principally used for automatic weather stations, providing information not just on current climate conditions but, through the use of a number of models, providing warnings on the likely outbreak of a number of plant pests and diseases. Sentek at the time could not see a place for the products in its range.

Robinson approached Adcon Telemetry ande secured the distribution rights for their products in Australia. Robinson and Moller reached agreement on allowing Robinson to take on the Agrilink name and business model and Agrilink Holdings was born.

The company initially operated from an office in Melbourne St, North Adelaide, South Australia. The first employee, an office administrator named Tanya, joined Nigel from Sentek. The second employee, was also an ex Sentek staffer, Wayne Hogben. The third employee, Gavin Wheatcroft was employed fresh from university. Having developed a likely hit list of companies likely to be interested in weather data, the company set out installing weather stations on a trial basis on grower's properties. In each district one of Adcon's telemetry base stations would be deployed to collect the data from the radio data loggers which formed the heart of each station. A computer in the company's office would dial out via landline telephone each day to collect the data and store it on Adcon's addVANTAGE software. If at the end of the trial the customer wished to keep the weather station, it would be left on site and the customer invoiced; if not, it would be moved to another property.

Whereas in Europe interest in disease management was high, the same could not be said for Australia. Sentek's efforts had proven that there was however a good market for soil moisture monitoring, however many potential customers were put off by the need to install cables to link the probes back to a central data logger. Robinson could see what Sentek had failed to: the opportunity to use Adcon's telemetry products to deploy radio linked soil moisture probes. However Adcon's current family of radio data loggers were too expensive to be used for the purpose. What was needed was a lower cost, short range radio. Use of the Sentek soil moisture probes was out, mainly because the company was not interested in developing a new interface to replace the proprietary interface used to date by their probes.

Adcon agreed not just to make a new low power radio, but also to begin development of a capacitance sensor. The latter development was shelved when Agrilink decided to take the task on themselves.

The C-Probe Corporation

Developing new products is not cheap. To take on the task, Robinson needed funding and he was introduced to Adelaide's emerging Venture Capital sector. Using market growth predictions developed during his time at Sentek, Robinson convinced a group of local investors to provide him the money to develop his own sensor - the C-Probe, with which he could compete aginst Sentek.

The C-Probe Corporation was created by the directors of Agrilink, to create an impression of independence between the company as the local telemetry provider and the new soil moisture sensor. According to SOWACS, a web site established to promote soil water sensors, the C-Probe was "manufactured in Australia under license from the C-Probe Corporation of California" [4]. The two companies shared common directors and Agrilink Holdings was awarded the master distribution rights for the sensors.

Responsibility for developing the new sensor was passed to ADD, an Adelaide based electronics company specialising in electronic promotional signs and displays. Neil Wilson, at the time one of the two partners in ADD, would stay closely involved with Agrilink for close on ten years. The brief for Wilson and his team was to create a sensor which was compatible with Adcon's radio equipment, used the same form factor (and hence installation tools) but which read more often than the Sentek probe. The first two objectives would be relatively simple, the third would almost prove their undoing.

In 1999, the company relocated to 7/69 Burbridge Rd, Hilton, South Australia. Soon after, Adcon delivered their new radio, the A720 addIT, but delays in the development process meant that the new soil moisture probe was not quite ready. As a stop gap measure, early customers were given Watermark soil moisture tension sensors, connected to Adcon's Watermark interface module. By the second quarter of 1999 the C-Probe was finally ready for market. Staff were trained up on installing the probes, using techniques and tools which borrowed heavily on those developed by Sentek.

Sentek had developed a business model based on selling hardware to its dealers who in turn backed the hardware up with consultancy on irrigation management. The inability of the capacitance sensors to accurately record soil moisture levels meant that interpretation of the data was beyond the average farmer. The consultant would analyse trends and inflections in the data and set full and refill points. In the first year the consultant would get rid of gross errors and in the second start managing irrigation to the new full and refill points. Robinson needed an experienced agronomist to provide this scheduling advice to his customers and called on the services of Peter Moller.

The company could service customers in South Australia on its own, but to service those further afield, the company needed distributors. Agrilink Water Management became the first, switching allegiances away from Sentek. Serve-Ag in Victoria and Tasmania followed soon after as well as Sunraysia Environmental in Mildura and Cropsol Consulting Services in Griffith. A linkage was also opened up with Agrotop in South Africa.

By late 1999 the company had grown to 12 staff and plans were put in to place to quickly grow further. Successive rounds of venture capital saw the company embark on a see-saw cycle of growth and contraction. With each new round of capital the company would grow rapidly. Then as the funds ran out, staff and expenses would be cut while the CEO and Board chased new funding. The business plan would be re-worked with some new projections and a new focus and wheeled out to the investment community. Once the Australian scene has been exhausted, the company went offshore for new capital.

GolfLinx

To coincide with its refocusing on the turf market, Agrilink opened a new branch called GolfLinx. Although not registered as a separate company, a Board of Management was formed to run GolfLinx. To build credibility with the golf sector, former profession Bruce Devlin was appointed to the board [5]. Equipment was installed on 6 high profile courses to give the company reference sites. Back in Australia a GolfLinx division was created to target Australian courses.

Despite a belief that “our soil moisture and salinity sensors, combined with our telemetry and software, are the best in the world” neither the US or Australian arms could achieve any traction in the golf market and the division was quietly disbanded in early 2009.

AquaSpy Group

In November 2007 the "Agrilink" brand was dropped in favour of a new name - Aquaspy Group. The company's latest soil moisture sensor had been christened the Aquaspy and the company adopted that moniker. The board cited the reason for the change as being that the previous name was "too strongly linked to agriculture and didn't reflect other products and services. This includes a turf and golf course business that is tapping a large and receptive market" [6].

At the time of the name change, AquaSpy claimed to have “more than 50,000 AquaSpy sensors in use around the world” [7]. The use of the word sensor over probe is here interesting: the new 1m AquaSpy probes each carry 10 sensors.

The Aquaspy brand was mated to a new corporate web site, with revised look and feel. Underneath it all was the same staff and systems, including the quickly fading AgWise platform.

Product Development

Soil Moisture Sensors

The Series 1 C-Probe

The Series 1 probe was built around an 8-bit peripheral interface controller (PIC) chip. Development of the firmware for the probe was sub-contracted to a local electronics engineer who received a royalty on each unit sold.

To match the capabilities available in Sentek's software, new features had to be made available in the addVANTAGE program. The modular nature of the program meant this could be achieved with a new module - the C-Probe Extension.

Like so many products, it too a few attempts to get the C-Probe right. Robinson demanded that the developers give him a probe which could sample more often than Sentek’s EnviroSCAN. Instead of standing their ground and pointing out the folly of this demand, the developers yielded and a design was drawn up which would sample every minute. Adcon’s first low power telemetry unit, the A720 addIT Series 1 was programmed to read every 5 minutes and save the averaged result after 15 minutes. To allow the probe to be powered continuously, Agrilink bypassed the switched sensor supply line and drove the probe directly from the addIT’s battery. A failure to correctly account for the energy requirement of the sensor, meant that the solar panel and internal battery of the addIT could not keep up with the probe’s power demand in cloudy conditions. The addIT itself was programmed to shut down if the battery voltage fell below a safe threshold. No such logic was programmed into the C-Probe, which kept on happily drawing current until the battery was completely flattened – a disaster for nickel-cadmium cells. Once the problem was detected, technical staff were mobilised to replace the batteries in the addITs. Once the true cause of the failure was identified they were mobilised again to modify the probes so they were driven by the switched sensor drive line produced by the addIT (and hence read every 5 minutes). At the same time, the flattened and often damaged batteries inside the units were swapped out. Ironically the extra samples which Robinson had demanded the engineers make were being wasted: the addIT read the probe every 5 minutes and simply ignored the 4 readings made in between. The necessity to change batteries created yet another problem: rather than purchase the expensive battery packs supplied by Adcon, packs were made up using consumer grade cells from a local battery supplier. Unfortunately these could not handle the elevated temperatures experienced inside the addITs over an Australian summer and would fail and require replacement again, 12 months later. So started a long cycle of annual battery changes and the eventual substitution of the internal battery for an external lead acid cell.

In spite of this history, many units are still working ten years later.

C-Probe Series 2

In 2000 an application was lodged with AUSIndustry for a research and development grant to develop a soil salinity sensor {Reference needed}. Sentek had already started work on their Triscan probe and Robinson wanted to ensure his company had something to equal it, hence the S-probe project. The new project could be used not just to build a salinity probe but also to update the design of the soil moisture probe. This coupled to a desire to save on the royalties being paid to the developer of the series 1 C-Probe, led to the development being carried out in house.

By this time ADD had closed down and some of the former staff had been taken on at Agrilink, including Neil Wilson. As Adcon had commenced looking at the SDI-12 interface as an option for its future products, Wilson decided to base the new probe on this protocol. Each sensor element would act as an SDI-12 sensor and communicate through a simple pass through board to an external SDI-12 logger. For compatibility with Adcon’s analogue radios, a board was produced which could convert the output from 6 SDI-12 sensors to 6 analogue signals. The sensor elements on the original Series 1 probes were linked via a sturdy printed circuit board (PCB) which carried a set of six switched supply lines, a ground and a shared output line. In the Series 2, the bus-bar as this PCB was known, was replaced with a set of 3 wires laid on a PVC former. The connection from sensors to the wires was made via a pin, driven into the cable under pressure of a screw. The design of the pin and use of a PVC retainer meant that the cold flow needed to get a sound insulation displacement style connection was not always obtained. This led to the only real problem with the Series 2 units – random dropouts of sensors. Other than that, the design proved very robust.

Sentek had not patented the EnviroSCAN, but had patented a dual frequency probe for detection of salinity. Agrilink had to be careful that their new salinity probe did not breach this patent. The $1.5m project (half from AUSIndustry and half from inside the company) failed to deliver a working product. As an indication of complexity of the relationships involved, it took Tunzik a further 10 years to bring his own probe (the EnviroPro) to market and Sentek's TriSCAN may be used as a trending tool but does not provide any measure of the actual soil salinity.

If the Salinity probe development seemed ambitious, that pales compared to development of the nutrition probe or N-Probe. A share of the AUSIndustry grant money was hived off to fund investigation of a multi-level nutrient sensor which would be able to track movement of nitrogen through the profile. Spectrometry was emerging as the new tool for investigation of nutrients and for assessing parameters such as wine grape quality and this technology was seized on for the N-Probe. Like the S-Probe, the N-Probe never made it to market. C-Probe Series 3

One of the powerful features of Sentek's original EnviroSCAN probe was that the unit was completely configurable. Users could purchase a probe in a variety of lengths and then fit sensing elements at 10cm intervals along the column. Agrilink took the same approach with the C-Probe. Flexibility always comes at a price and in this case that was cost of production. Each probe had to be custom built to order. A column was first cut to the required length, a bus bar fitted and then sensors attached to the bus bar. The completed probe was then tested and run through a normalisation process. The variable frequency oscillator used in the sensor boards is subject to a number of variables: variation in tuning coil, variation in sensor ring dimensions, variation in thickness of the tube wall and more. The completed probe would be placed in a test tank containing air and then in one containing water. This would set the low and high frequency limits for the oscillator. To account for the variability, the normalisation process stored these high and low readings and pre-scaled all future readings between them on a scale of 0 to 100 Scaled Frequency Units. The C-Probe series 3 attempted to cut some of the manufacturing steps down by switching to a fixed design: 50cm with 5 sensors or 100cm with 10 sensors. Probes would be supplied pre-normalised and the preferred installation technique was switched from through-the-tube augering to an over-sized hole and slurry. The probe would be sealed to remove the need for regular maintenance - a bugbear of previous variations.

Design of the Series 3 probe was once again performed by Neil Wilson. The Series 3 was represented an evolution of the Series 2 rather than a new design. The Series 3 had probably the shortest life of any AquaSpy product. Consistent problems with the unit forced an accelerated rollout of the Series 4 probe.

AquaSpy Sensor and AquaBlu

The AquaSpy Sensor (also for a while called the AquaOne) marked Agrilink's first serious foray into the turf market and its release coincided with a shift in company strategy away from the agriculture market, towards the commercial and domestic turf markets. The AquaSpy is a single level probe designed specifically for use in turf. The paddle design gives some clue to its internal layout: being a flattened version of the rolled up sensor design to be used in the Series 4 probe. The AquaSpy was sold with a partner product, the AquaBlu which together could be used to control irrigation based on soil moisture status. For some reason the first design of the AquaBlu relied on 12V DC power, whilst the majority of multi-station irrigation controllers used 24V AC power supplies. The product was put on hold while a quick 24V AC to 12V DC power adaptor was designed and built.

Regardless of its initial flaws, the AquaSpy sensor was viewed favourably enough to win Best New Product Award at Irrigation Australia Ltd’s biennial Exhibition in 2006 and a People’s Choice Award on the ABC’s New Inventors programme [8]. Staff were employed to build sales of the units through the major retail hardware outlets. Unfortunately volume sales remained elusive.

C-Probe Series 4 – AquaSpy Probe

The Series 4 probe was designated the AquaSpy to build on the initial success of the AquaSpy turf sensor. The original unit became the AquaSpy Single Level sensor and the new unit the AquaSpy Multi Level sensor. Whilst earlier capacitance probes were built around a PCB to which brass rings were soldered, the new probe was built around a flexible plastic membrane. Copper tracks laid on the membrane carried the electronic components and formed the new sensor elements. Construction of the new PCB was contracted to Best-tech Manufacturing Company in Thailand [9].

Rather than the circular PVC tube employed in its predecessors, the AquaSpy utilised a “D” profile tube. The original intention was for the components on the PCB to sit against the flat edge of the D, allowing the sensors to curl out against the rounded section. A quick modification was soon carried out – adding a former to hold the PCB in the correct position with the sensor elements hard up against the inside of the tube. Like the Series 3, the Series 4 probe relies on a slurry installation into an over-sized hole.

Venture Capital History

As the pioneer of capacitance soil moisture probes, Sentek had high hopes for growth of the market sector. The company's sales came almost exclusively from early adopters - those innovative growers who constantly sought out ways to improve their profitability and crop quality. Sentek believed that they could drive the product down to the rest of the market. In doing so, year on year sales would double and double again. For their own marketing purposes and for the benefit of their investors, Sentek encapsulated these predictions in a set of exponential growth curves. These curves became a key component in Robinson's business plans for Agrilink and were soon wheeled out in presentations to potential venture capital partners.

Round 1 Capital

To help grow the network of weather stations, Robinson pitched to a group of local investors - his first foray into venture capital. A number of local Adelaide identities contributed $20,000 or so each.

This capital enabled the company to relocate to larger premises in Hilton and to expand staff numbers. First, a new receptionist, then a group of three technical officers and two more trainee agronomists were hired. The process also introduced him to Craig Gooden, who would become the company's financial officer.

Round 2 - Gresham Rabo

Gresham Rabo Management is a venture capital firm with the backing of Rabo Bank. Gresham became the first institutional investor in Agrilink with the investment of $2m AUD in 2000 [10]. This money was used to fund expansion of the company in Australia and to launch operations in the USA. Company offices were opened in New South Wales and Queensland and in the Riverland in South Australia. Peter Moller's Agrilink Water Management was purchased by Agrilink Holdings and Moller was shipped to the US to build the US operation and offer agronomic consultancy. In a strange twist, the C-Probe Corporation had signed over rights to its products in the USA to Adcon's US office, so the new Agrilink International had to purchase probes from them.

Round 3 - PWR Investments

The expansion of the Australian Rules Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League) to open it up to teams from outside the state of Victoria, led to the formation of an investment group to enter a South Australian team - Port Power. Some of the investors connected to the team, set up a venture capital fund called the PWR Investments. After waiting in the wings while Gresham Rabo did their analysis, PWR Investments followed with a further $0.5m AUD [11].

Round 4 - Nanyang Ventures In June 2001, Nanyang Ventures, a venture capital fund operated by St George Bank provided the next round of capital. Their $4m investment gave them a 20% share in the company. The money from Nanyang would be used to expand the company's operations in California, "formed through a strategic channel partner Adcon Technology which contracts Agrilink to provide specialist irrigation technology and services to distributors and customers" [12]. After conquering California, the company would target other states in North America, then South America and Europe. In 2002 Agrilink opened an office in Florida [13]. Before long staff numbers reached 50 employees.

Nanyang's investment is interesting for a number of reasons. The first of which is that the investment analysis was headed by Chris Golis, who had written the first serious text book on venture capital in Australia. The second is that the methodology used by Nanyang was developed by Hewlett Packard in the USA. The methodology sets out a number of criteria for investment, the first of which is that the company must have made 4 successive quarters of profit. To that date (and for a long time after) the company however had not made a single quarter of profit but Golis and his compatriots allowed the golden rule to be over-ridden. Although the methodology sets out a strict list of questions on key business areas, there was no discovery or investigation: senior staff were seated around a table while questions were fired at them. Being able to answer the question was deemed satisfactory, without any subsequent checking as to the veracity of the claim.

The business model which so attracted Nanyang had metamorphised around the Internet. The new Agrilink would become a services based company, making money by renting equipment to growers and charging them fees to maintain it and provide the data. This new model needed a new data delivery model, one that could make data available over the Internet. And so AgWise was born.

Round 5 - Colonial First State

The company's success in winning capital from Gresham Rabo and Nanyang gave it a high profile which in turn resulted in the company picking up the 2001 Austrade Emerging Exporter Award and the Playford Capital Award at the 2002 Business SA Export Awards (Woithe, 2002). Then, in September 2002, Colonial First State Private Equity provided another $3.2m. In making their early stage investment, Colonial made much of Agrilink's "proven product (with a strong value proposition), a large global market and established distributors in the USA" [14].

Although the elusive growth curve had yet failed to materialise, Colonial joined the ever growing list of companies willing to get on board. The plaudits continued to roll in too, with Agrilink making it in to the 2002 Deloitte & Touche list of 50 fastest growing companies [15]. The trio of senior managers - Chief Executive Officer - Nigel Robinson, Chief Financial Officer - Craig Gooden and Chief Agronomic Officer - Peter Moller, were convinced they were on a sure thing. Yet even in 2002 the company was still burning cash at a rate well beyond the rate at which sales revenue was coming in. Surely the oft predicted growth curve would kick in any day now.

Round 6 - SAM Private Equity, Run & Playford

The failure to attract the next tier of growers was listed as a feature rather than a failing when SAM Private Equity provided the next round of funding. According to SAM, "the markets Agrilink is operating in are still in the early stages of development but are expected to grow dramatically over the years to come as a result of the trend toward precision farming, crop management and more efficient water use. Users of Agrilink’s products and services are often early adopters and innovative farmers" [16]. SAM were convinced enough that the turning point was just around the corner, to invest $3.5million with Agrilink.

The $3.5m from SAM of Zurich was topped up with $500,000 from Run Pty Ltd and $1m from Playford Capital. This brought total investment in the company to date to $19m but 2002-2003 revenue of only $4.8m. Run was operated by John Plummer, whose family had made its money through the Chandler Macleod human resources consultancy firm.

Round 7 - Wheb Ventures

Wheb Ventures is a venture capital fund with links to the UK's Goldsmith family. The fund targets investment in "early stage clean technology companies which have global market applications" [17]. Wheb founder Rob Wylie was appointed to the Agrilink Board at the time the investment was made. John Blackmore, former CEO of the Murray Darling Basin Commission joined the board at the same time. The new investment made Wheb a major shareholder along with "SAM Private Equity (SAM), a leading clean technology venture fund, and its related listed investment company Sustainable Performance Group (SPG), and Run Pty Ltd, an Australian investor" (ibid).

With the Wheb investment, Agrilink re-focused on broader environmental monitoring. The AgWise platform on which they relied for data display was however designed around display of soil moisture and weather data. Adding new types of sensors for flow, level etc proved difficult and time consuming. The environmental monitoring sector although on the surface attractive, proved very conservative – choosing to stay with the traditional approach of high end data loggers with dial up GSM communications.

Round 8 - Espirito Santo Ventures

In April 2007 Espirito Santo Ventures of Portugal became the next major investor in Agrilink. Espirito Santo placed $2.5m with Agrilink and the Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies (CEGT) $1m [18]. A further $4m AUD came from existing investors.

CEGT must have believed that Agrilink had potential to develop the “new sustainable energy and greenhouse gas reductions technologies” that CEGT invests in (ibid). High growth potential features as one reason for Espirito Santo’s investment, particularly as at this time Agrilink had negotiated a $1m plus deal with Monsanto in the USA.

Then CEO, Nigel Hennessey stated that the new capital would “allow the company to expand its interests in biotechnology and agriculture business in the US, as well as in the rapidly expanding global golf and commercial turf marketplace” (ibid). At this time, Hennessey also held high hopes for expansion of the GolfLinx franchise, claiming that “GolfLinx's turf products would create significant savings on water usage of approximately 2 Olympic swimming pools per week” – a saving of 30% in water use [19].

The company’s recognition continued to grow, with Agrilink in 2007 receiving the Electronics Industry Association (EIA) Gold Cup for Excellence in Engineering and Commercialisation [20]. The award is given to the company that is best “in taking an innovative idea successfully through product development and manufacturing to national and global markets” (ibid). Shortly after the award, Agrilink launched its new identity – re-branding as the AquaSpy Group. Obviously success in innovation did not include building the worth of the brand name.

Round 9 - Sustainable Performance Group

Maybe it was the EIA recognition that attracted Sustainable Products Group to invest $5m in the newly created AquaSpy Group. SPG have extensive interests in the sustainable and renewable energy sector (Vestas, Canadian Hydro Developers), the water industry (KSB and Toro) and in pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson). Among their portfolio is a holding in private company AquaSpy [21]. In 2008, SPG reported a 2.5% return on their AquaSpy holding.

Round 10 - Espirito Santo, WHEB, Run SPG

Espirito Santo, Wheb, Run and SPG together injected more funds in early 2009. This coincided with the departure of CEO Nigel Hennessey and his replacement with former DriveCam CEO, Bruce Moeller. In his biography, Moeller refers to himself as a serial fundraising entrepreneur.

Under Moeller’s reign staff numbers were dramatically cut and measures put in place to relocate the company to a new base in the USA. If the company were ever to reach its ultimate goal, it could not be done going cap in hand to the investment community each year. The next round of capital had to be big – Moeller had won $28m USD in funding for DriveCam [22] – a feat which was to win him the 2006 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award - and was keen to give AquaSpy the same sort of boost.

With the announcement of Moeller’s appointment the company boasted that the “Group’s golf and high performance turf division GolfLinx has a growing customer base in the golfing and sports turf sectors in the US and Australia” [23]. Within six months the division was closed down.


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