Innovar Enters New Phase Of Growth And Opportunity

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Freshmax Group Subsidiary Innovar™ has entered a new phase of growth and opportunity this month having become an independently incorporated commercial organisation.

For many years, the Freshmax Group has played a major role in the commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP) Brands and varieties in the Australian and New Zealand Fresh Produce markets (both domestic and offshore). Since 2014 this specialism has been exclusively governed by its dedicated division, Innovar™. Freshmax currently holds more than 20 IP varietal and brand licenses across Australia and New Zealand with more than A$150m in annual revenues forecasted at full production. It is expected that this value will increase as further material is brought on stream over the coming 2-3 years.

The new entity will retain its well-recognised brand name (a hybrid of the words “Innovation” and “Variety”) and its leadership, with Simon Gillett set to take on the role of Innovar™ CEO. “By granting Innovar™ more autonomy and independence,” says Gillett “we afford it the freedom to build new and interesting partnerships and Joint Ventures with large scale produce organisations across the globe, who previously may have seen a partnership with Freshmax as a conflict. With a number of these partnerships already in negotiation, Innovar™’s new phase of growth is already underway.”

In its historic capacity, Innovar™’s varietal selection process hinged on selecting varieties that were primarily focused on strongly enhancing the supply portfolio within the Group’s Australasian regional base of operations. However, with its new-found autonomy, Innovar™ will be free to explore IP opportunities across the globe with partners of all shapes and sizes, not just the Freshmax Group.

Innovar™ will operate as a services business, offering a solutions set that includes:

  • Establishment of commercial and royalty models
  • Establishment and roll out of license structures
  • Outreach and appointment of partners across the world
  • Development and ongoing governance of brands
  • Provision of “take to market” services to support in-market partners in getting brands off the ground

Initial team members joining Gillett on Innovar™’s next phase of growth will include Andrew Maughan (AU), Rene Hylkema (NZ), Tania McAnearney (NZ) and Matthew Crouch (AU). “Over time we see significant scope for expansion both in terms of resource and also expertise, but for now we will be focusing on the deals at hand,” continues Gillett.

“Within the Freshmax Group we have always tried to scope the longest-term outlook with regards to IP,” says Murray McCallum – Group CEO. “As the global produce industry has woken up to the face value of IP, we have gone further and are now looking at the larger scale role that we can play in ensuring the sustainable proliferation of IP for a wide range of categories’ needs and opportunities, regardless of market.”