Ones to Watch

Ones to Watch – OptaHaul, the Mullingar-based start-up that will change the way milk is transported from farm to plant

By Business & Finance
30 April 2021
Pictured: Gary Gallagher, CEO, OptaHaul

Business & Finance highlights an up-and-coming start-up making waves in its industry. In this article, we take a look at Optahaul, an Irish software start-up that aims to change the way raw milk is collected from farms by helping the dairy industry to reduce transport costs and significantly cut emissions.

 What is it?

OptaHaul is a Mullingar-based start-up company that will change the way milk is transported from farm to plant. Transport costs associated with milk collection and other production activities can represent up to 30% of the total processing costs. This in turn has a direct bearing on the efficient daily supply of milk to Irish consumers all around the country.

Such operations are dependent on a wide range of constantly changing parameters – including factory capacities, weather conditions, load limitations, bulk storage capacity and variations in milk supply. Up to now there was an element of ‘hit and miss’ about these procedures, using personal insights, spreadsheets, texts and telephones. But OptaHaul has changed all that, using advanced algorithms that automatically calculate optimal route plans while at the same time controlling transport costs, maximising tanker utilisation and reducing carbon emissions.

The highly flexible OptaHaul system records and tracks all relevant information about milk suppliers, lorries, tankers and processing factories in a simple interface that uses embedded interactive mapping technology, while allowing access to key data at any time from any location.

From a financial point of view the system makes complete sense. Instead of implementing traditional on-premise systems, OptaHaul’s ‘software as a service’ platform provides a timely return on investment by eliminating capital expenditure, while becoming operational within a short timeframe.

Who’s behind it?

Gary Gallagher is heading up the company from start-up stage. He’s a former director at Zoosh Digital, an Irish-based digital product design and development company specialising in scalable, secure cloud native solutions. Gary’s own technological background has seen him working as a senior manager with tech multinationals Dell and Oracle, before joining Zoosh.

How is it funded?

Originally developed with the largest dairy processor in Hungary, OptaHaul was brought to the Irish market over the last year, during which time the system has undergone rigorous testing by one of Ireland’s leading dairy processors. Here in Ireland the company has attracted private funding to date. The company is going through a fundraising round at present. Early investors include Aaron Forde, former CEO of Irish dairy processor Aurivo and former chairman of international agri-food company Ornua (owner of the Kerrygold brand), along with a private fund of leading business people and high-worth individuals from Ireland who realise the bright future this technology represents for the dairy sector in different parts of the world. 

Future plans?

OptaHaul is already looking at a three-year growth projection and during that time it plans to bring the workforce up to ten or twelve people as the company establishes itself in overseas markets. This will include Ireland, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and the United States.