News and Success Stories

Published 11 August 2023

H2Ortigator eyeing up California market

As New Zealand orchards grapple with wet growing seasons, H2Ortigator's founder, Brendan Hamilton, is making moves on California having explored the region during the Callaghan Innovation/Agritech ITP recent market immersion trip.

Hawkes Bay-based H2Ortigator has developed a unique approach to protecting replacement plants. Their irrigation system is a botanical ‘babysitter’ that ensures young plants reach their full potential earlier without the time-consuming human labour usually required to keep them watered. 

Brendan's primary objective was to validate product-market fit and since California is facing a severe drought, leading the government to impose stringent water regulations, has confirmed that H2Ortigator's system is the solution the state needs.

The trip also offered valuable insights into market entry regulations. Understanding the sometimes-litigious nature of the US market, Brendan investigated potential partnerships and key information for a successful market entry strategy. Thinking like an American, and using the right language (imperial terms - gallons, not litres) when presenting to American customers is more important than you’d think. 

H2Ortigator is now eager to showcase a prototype at the Western Growers Innovation Centre. Additionally, the company plans to participate in a counter-seasonal trial conducted by the centre, which aligns well with their testing needs.

Overall, the trip proved highly successful, reaffirming their strategies, and establishing connections. Brendan and the team are now confident that California will be one of their first active offshore markets, thanks to the groundwork laid during the trip. 

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