LBS alumnus helps farmers make better decisions

Breedr founder and CEO Ian Wheal wants to make livestock farming simpler and more efficient

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With degrees in Computer Science and Mechatronics, and Robotics, and Automation Engineering from the University of Melbourne, and an MBA from London Business School, it is little wonder that Breedr founder and CEO Ian Wheal is a “big believer” in being able to track and make sensible use of information.

“Our mission at Breedr is to help farmers make better decisions, every day,” says Ian. “We want to make livestock farming simpler, helping farmers to produce and market more profitable animals.”

Breeder is a mobile app software as a service, which has been created to support farmers, manage their cattle, provide much-needed animal analytics on the go, while offering livestock marketing and financial guidance and support.

Ian benefits from a high-technology literate education but knows livestock farming well, having grown up on a cattle farm in his native Australia. It is the combination of these twin forces in his professional life that makes Ian sensitive to the challenges facing livestock farmers in the 2020s.

“Livestock farmers are under pressure to reduce methane by 20 per cent and to continually provide even better food to the table. Faced with these demands, they are continually challenged by a lack of transparency in the supply chain and by the fact that the knowledge and digital economy – technology that has huge potential to support them - has not always penetrated their own working lives. At Breedr we are helping famers to collaborate, share welfare and local information, while accurately track the 'lifetime traceability’ of their animals.”

With an average age of of between 55 to 70 years of age, Britain’s livestock farmers are perhaps not natural adopters of mobile app technology, which is why the Ian’s team are committed to not only making life their customers faster and paper-free, but also user-friendly.

“We don’t want the users of Breedr to be squinting at minute buttons when they’re in the field so the ability to engage easily with technology is vitally important.  But when they’re into the system the tech yields so much value, such as our powerful growth predictor and free analytics make it easy for farmers to unlock the value of each and every individual animal.”

Ian says that improving genetics and performance means improving the profit line for farmers, and must continue to drive commercial thinking. Faced with the growth in alternative proteins and developments in cultured meat premium products will be key.

“There simply isn’t enough farmland out there to meet all the demand, and so the need for efficiency and the drive to superior quality is key,” says Ian.

Speaking about his time at LBS, Ian says that he developed a few start-ups prior to Breedr, but it was LBS which gave him the breadth of business knowledge and confidence to work more effectively with the basic building blocks and grounding with which to make a successful business go.

“Breedr’s definitely in a growth curve now and we plan to grow our business in the US and Australia.”