Harvest packs $900 thousand for R&D road

Harvest packs $900 thousand for R&D road

HarvestRoad has been given a $900,000 jump start in the research and development department, having scored a Federal Government grant to produce its HarvestRoad Hive enterprise content management system.

The WA-based software developer secured the funds after satisfying the government's stringent criteria, according to John Townsend, product manger for HarvestRoad.

"We had to prove the commercial viability of the business and product," Townsend said. "[The government] doesn't just want to shore up the last leg of the company. They analyse how the new product fits with the rest of the business product mix and what need it fulfills in the marketplace."

"In Asia it looks like they are going to leapfrog the Internet altogether and go straight onto the mobile wireless network and our product is designed to realise that," said Townsend.

Hive is a cross platform, browser-based application completely separating the structure of content from its presentation, enabling customised delivery of information to any type of device.

"There is a window of opportunity of three or four years here for us to get a jump on the big guys in terms of content management, we are attempting to leverage that. In a couple of years you will see this sort of thing off being offered in Windows."

Townsend disagrees with the opinion that government grants act as a "band-aid solution" while failing to address the macro issue of retaining Australian intellectual capital in Australia.

"If we hadn't got this grant, our ambitions would have had to be scaled back significantly," he said.

Townsend agrees that historically, Australia has suffered from an over-investment in infrastructure and an under-investment in shoring up the "brain drain". In the long-term it is the intellectual capital that will allow the Australian brand to go global instead of vice-versa.

However, he believes indigenous (Australian-founded) companies are doing more than ever to involve themselves in IT industry bodies and make their voice heard at the highest levels.

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