Cows are generally not top of mind amongthosewho call the animal pen,South of Market, San Francisco, home. But BovControl, aBrazilian startup building data analytics tools to supportlivestock operations, is working to close the gap betweentechnologists andranchers. Host of theInternet of Cows hackathon, in partnership with Google Launchpad and The Silicon Valley Forum, the startup put groupsto work brainstorming solutionsfor monitoring herds, exporting goods and securing loans.

This is the fourth time that the 17 person BovControl team has hosted thishackathon. The companys mission is to enhance food production. Its core product, a mobile and web app which aggregates data from bovine ear rings, chips and smart scales and spits out digestible visualizations, contributes to that broader vision. But community events enable BovControlto address other production inefficiencieswithout the need forentirely new products.

Over the course of two days, four teams prepared presentations highlighting solutions to known problems facing ranchers.One team, humorously named Cowculator, spent its time devising a solution to assistsmall-scale ranchers with securing inventory financing. By highlighting the assets a rancher already has, taking into account metrics like sales and inventory, the team hopes to democratize the loan application process.

Team Cowculator delivering their final presentation in front of judges

Another team, GlobalFarmers, designed a web app to help ranchers raising organic and sustainable beef find exporters interested in their specialty products. The group hypothesized that it couldcharge exporters a listing fee for their services in facilitating the transaction and offer a paid premium tier.

The final two teams, HerdWatch and Cows at Risk, help ranchers look after their precious cattle. The former, HerdWatch, is a tracking and notification solution for lost cows. Cows at Riskis a healthmonitoring app offering insights into temperature, heart-rate and location.

On its own, Internet of Cows doesnt move the needle on world hunger, butHackathons get people talking and bring together likeminded communities.Ina Valley where people intentionally connect hairbrushes to the internet, its refreshing to seea startup using IoT to tackle areal problem in a fun way.

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