Meet the Disruptors: AnimalEYEQ

6 minute read

1 February 2021

By Peter Springett

Head of Content, Upstart

Continuing with our series of interviews, Upstart meets the disruptors and innovators involved in creating and scaling emerging technologies across diverse industries.  These companies are unafraid to stand out from the crowd and adopt disruptive technologies and models to supersede often outdated and incumbent systems in place. 

This week it’s the turn of Shawn Tan, CEO of animalEYEQ. The company operates a “guardian” style system designed to put trust at the heart of livestock transportation. The process includes initial loading of livestock, transit monitoring, final unloading and assessment of the overall health of the animal. The patentable counting system ensures data is extracted and used to assure the quality and quantity of livestock transported.

Let’s meet Shawn:

Who are you?

I’m Shawn Tan, the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of animalEYEQ. We’re proud to currently offer the only chain of custody solution for safely assessing, counting, and accessing livestock in transit. 

Where are you?

I’m based out of our headquarters in Singapore but we also have a large founding team in Australia.

And, how are you?

Shawn Tan, CEO of animalEYEQ

Pretty excited! We were just awarded a grant by AI Singapore which is the Singapore government’s flagship body when it comes to developing AI. It provides animalEYEQ not just with important external validation of the commercial feasibility of our technology, but also cements our future relationship with the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Tell us two things we should know about the animalEYEQ concept:


We’re a cross border team operating out of both Singapore and Australia which enables us to leverage both the AI expertise of the Singapore University of Technology and Design alongside the hands-on livestock production experience that our collaboration with the University of Queensland Veterinary Science Department delivers.


Staggeringly over 2.5 billion cattle, sheep and pigs are moved multiple times around the world, throughout their lives. Until now there has been little or no visibility of livestock security, welfare and location whilst they are in transit. We’ve taken what was a very subjective and manual counting system and replaced it with a digital system that provides transparency and traceability. The old system was not only time consuming but frequently inaccurate.

And One Thing That We Shouldn’t

We have an inside joke about our team of “veterans” having either little or no hair! Our team comprises members with broad spectrum technology leadership. With that comes many years of experience and receding hairlines to match!

What problem are you solving?

We’ve replaced an inaccurate, data capturing  process with a counting framework which can be run off EDGE mobile network. This has been set up to address the limited internet bandwidth in isolated farming areas.

animalEYEQ enables the farming industry to embrace automated data capture which solves the problem of departure delays and delivery rejections due to inaccurate counts before handover. It also solves issues of manpower too

Who are you solving the problem for?

Our solution addresses the needs of both livestock transporters and producers. 

Our “Guardian” system is for use in transportation vehicles. It digitises data, automates its capture and monitors against a set of checklists in transit. This provides the driver and the trucking firm with reliable, robust and accurate data including things like time, date, location, driver stamp, livestock ID and validated load count.  It also records environmental conditions during transit. 

Our “Autograder” gate system is for use by the farming community and helps them to better assess livestock health.

This combined technology enables our clients to improve their overall operations and improve decision making. 

We like to call it 4.0 farming where:

  • 1.0 is normal farming
  • 2.0 is intensive farming
  • 3.0 is digitisation
  • 4.0 is automated data capture

Inherent to our technology is the enhancement of traceability and improvement of chain of custody. It also addresses the societal problem which leads to overall improved food security, biosecurity and ultimately, transparency.  It offers better protection of animal welfare, specifically regulatory compliance. 

Tell us more about the technologies you are bringing together.

We use a proprietary vision framework incorporating superior capabilities in identifying and tracking a wide range of livestock, even under adverse conditions. Our technology is able to detect and handle issues such as complex hide coloration as well as clustering and still provide accurate results. 

It’s like having several experts fulfil multiple functions but non-stop and without fail. 

AnimalEYEQ uses advanced computer vision to assure quality and health of animals at all stages of the journey. Image: animalEYEQ.

What makes your business “disruptive”?

The technology we are using enables unprecedented traceability combined with plug-and-play technology for trucks and production sites. That means there’s no additional manual requirement for tagging animals.

Due for release in 2021, we have a further product to add to our existing repertoire that builds upon our existing Guardian technology. This will not only disrupt the livestock production industry, but also how the industry makes livestock related transactions.

How different will your industry look in five years time?

That’s a great question! There will be a lot of testing of new technologies.

“The COVID-19 world in which we now live has catapulted the rate at which digital technologies are integrated and has highlighted the need for greater (more reliable) automation to mitigate manpower shortages.”

— Shawn Tan, CEO of animalEYEq

Specific to the animal welfare sector, especially as environmental activism and issues of sustainability have become more prevalent, we’re likely to see the rise of alternative sources of protein as a challenger to traditional meats. 

Personally, I think that alternative proteins will replace mince as more “everyday” sources of protein while animal protein in the form of prime cuts will be favoured as a more “premium” product. 

Currently, the technology required to create lab grown meat with the same texture and taste profile as prime animal cuts is both expensive and time consuming. I like to use the analogy of the mechanical watch. Now that digital watches are readily and cost effectively available, the mechanical watch has evolved into a more aspirational and luxurious purchase. I think the same will eventually happen for animal protein. 

You can find out more about AnimalEYEQ HERE.

Interested in discovering what the future might look like for your industry? Then get in touch NOW and we’ll help prepare you for action.


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