Cowlar, which started up in Pakistan
but is now headquartered in California, builds a tracking wearable that monitors the body temperature and behaviour of cows.
That allows farmers to detect when the animal
is in heat and the best time for insemination.
It becomes the second startup from the country to be accepted into Y Combinator
– after artisanal shoes startup Markhor did it in 2015.
Adnan, CEO of Cowlar, claims the wearable helps increase dairy output by approximately 15 percent.
“We’re a hybrid of dairy science and machine learning inside a plastic box,” he remarks.
Cowlar’s wearable tackles a very real problem. Emerging countries like India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Vietnam have millions of cows
– India is home to the largest livestock population in the world – but average milk yields are around a quarter of those in the US and Netherlands.
A large part of the reason is inferior farming practices, poor nutrition, and abysmal veterinary standards.
“The biggest thing we’re trying to capture is when a cow is in heat. If farmers miss the heat cycle then the next cycle comes after 21 days. If you miss that, you’re missing out on 21 days of milk production,” Umer
told Tech in Asia in April.
Stepping out of the comfort zone
The idea for the gizmo came during Umer’s previous entrepreneurial foray – design company E4 Technologies – which developed products for wireless crop monitoring, energy optimization, and motion tracking for sports.
“The response ever since we entered Y Combinator
has been phenomenal and beyond our wildest expectations,” says Umer.
“It wasn’t easy to give up a substantial amount of money but we’re trying to fundamentally change the dairy industry.”
Umer’s gizmo costs US$69 and has a battery life of one year.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here