New Innovator: Ezy Technology
Deirdre Cogan, founder of Ezy Technology, winning JumpStart 2012 at Linc, the learning and innovation centre at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown in Dublin
The world of heavy farm machinery might seem an unlikely place to find a small Irish company making waves. But brother and sister Deirdre Cogan and Thomas Carpenter are doing just that with their new Ezy Fill product aimed at tillage farmers.
“We come from a farming family and I’m married to a farmer so we know about the issues around maximising yield,” Cogan says. “We could see how purpose-built equipment could help and decided to set up a business to design and make it.”
Cogan is an accountant. Her brother is a machine inventor with 20 years experience in the agriculture sector. Manufacturing is sub-contracted but the intention is to self-manufacture in time.
Ezy Technology was set up in 2010 and its first product was a non-tipping trailer. Prototype testing in Ireland and the UK and was successful but Cogan says that at a cost of about €40,000, the trailer was likely to be a slow seller.
The pair went back to the drawing board and developed the Ezy Fill bulk filler, which has already caught the attention of the international agricultural machinery community including the US-based Blu-Jet which wants to fit the Ezy Filler to one of its existing products.
“Ezy Fill revolutionises fertiliser spreading,” Cogan says. “It allows the user to fit a mounted spreader on the back on a variable-height frame. This turns it into a bulk fertiliser spreading solution. It eliminates the labour intensity of traditional spreading by increasing capacity and its innovative design means it can be used for other things such as seed sowing or feeding.”
Ezy Fill is on trial with farms supplying the Co-Op supermarket chain in the UK and the company is also partnering with European-based international agricultural machinery group Kverneland.
“Our initial target market is the UK as it’s a niche product and Ireland is too small to generate sufficient sales on its own. Thereafter it will be the States where the link with Blu-Jet will be invaluable. We met Blu-Jet when exhibiting at the cereals show in London,” Cogan says.
She estimates it has cost about €250,000 and an unquantifiable amount of time to get the company to this point. The venture has been self-funded apart from some support from Meath Partnership. Cogan also received a small stipend while attending Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme at the Linc (Learning and Innovation Centre) at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. Ezy Technology has been given high potential start-up status by Enterprise Ireland and it won the AIB-sponsored JumpStart award for new business in 2012. It is now in search of an angel investor with a view to raising about €250,000.
– OLIVE KEOGH