Agritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partners
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring ’18 accelerator cohort. The THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform also welcomes the latest partners Coca Cola and Wilbur-Ellis alongside its existing partners Wells Fargo, Trimble, Taylor Farms, Land O’Lakes, Western Growers Association, Verizon, City of Salinas, Corteva, Driscoll’s Berries, Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory, Produce Marketing Association, Sun World Innovations, Orrick, JV Smith, and Turatti.
THRIVE’s partnership with Coca Cola aims to sustainably source 100% of the Fortune 500 brand’s priority agricultural ingredients by 2020 and build a healthy agricultural supply chain. In order to meet the expectations of its consumers, customers, and stakeholders, Coca Cola is committed to finding new innovation that protects land and other natural resources in the communities it operates in and sustainably source agricultural ingredients at the core of its products. The partnership between SVG Partners and Wilbur-Ellis, a leader in precision agriculture technology and the marketing and distribution of plant protection, seed and nutritional products, is focused on accelerating and scaling emerging agriculture technology through the company’s extensive testing and research facilities, as well as through their marketing and distribution capabilities.
Selected from 200 applications from 30 geographies around the globe, the THRIVE IV cohort will receive $900K investment- divided between each of the nine companies. The finalists will be showcased before THRIVE corporate partners, investors, growers, and agriculture leaders at the historic Salinas firehouse for the THRIVE Innovation Showcase, a celebration highlighting the city’s agtech economic development strategy launched in 2012 in partnership with SVG Partners. THRIVE alumni and other agtech companies with office space at the Western Growers Innovation Center will also showcase during the evening. John Hartnett, CEO and Founder of SVG Partners and the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform said:
“Tonight’s celebration is a tribute to the world class agtech hub brought to life over the course of the past five years with the help of the City of Salinas and local industry leaders from Taylor Farms, Driscoll’s Berries, JVSmith, and Western Growers Association, as well as Coca Cola, Wilbur-Ellis, Land O’Lakes, Trimble, Wells Fargo, Forbes, Verizon, and others. Together, we have created a globally recognizable agtech hub in the Salinas region, made up of the THRIVE accelerator and fund, marquee events like the Forbes AgTech Summit, educational programming including Coder Dojo, Digital Nest, and Young Innovators, as well as workforce programs launched out of [California State University, Monterey Bay] and Hartnell College.”
Over the course of the 10-week accelerator program, kicked off tonight at seed camp and culminating with THRIVE’s Demo Day at the Forbes Agtech Summit, companies will be provided live and virtual coaching covering go-to-market strategy, supply chain, field deployment, fundraising and global expansion. Additionally, each company will have access to horticulture, supply chain, and business domain expertise as part of paired mentor meetings, co-working space at the Western Grower’s Innovation Center in Salinas, CA, field trials with partners and growers, global press and media during the Forbes AgTech Summit and Demo Day, legal advice provided by Orrick, access to AWS and Hubspot, and initial seed capital. Following seed camp, companies will remain in the Bay Area to travel between the Silicon and Salinas Valleys for introductions to field and supply chain operations at Taylor Farms and Driscoll’s Berries, as well as visit technology partners in Silicon Valley.
“Each year, we are continually impressed with the acumen and innovation of our startup teams” John Hartnett said, “we are excited to help develop the next generation of agtech technology and scale it through our platform, partners and mentors in the coming months.”
Introducing the THRIVE IV Cohort- 2018
Headquartered: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Agronow is a technology-based company working in agricultural yields mapping and forecasting. It combines decades of satellite imagery with proprietary yield mapping algorithms, agronomic indexes, artificial intelligence and augmented reality in order to provide crucial intelligence related to risk/credit scoring and monitoring, qualified lead generation, and farm management for banks, insurance companies, agricultural inputs conglomerates, cooperatives, agronomists, and growers. The methodology developed is directly connected to the FoodTech market as it was born as a tool that increases yield or reduces inputs by enhancing the information base of any field in the world using remote sensing and field data. It can monitor the development of productive areas and the commercial stage of the products, as well as provide analysis of potential markets.
Headquartered: Chicago, IL
Aker is a Midwest-based startup accelerating the adoption of precision farming around the globe. To date, the company has developed patented sensors, software and service solutions for detecting pests, diseases and fertility issues inside the canopy of crop fields of at least 80 acres of tillable land, on a global basis. The company’s approach combines aerial images, biometrics with environmental analysis for farm retailers, chemical suppliers and agronomists to help growers use chemicals more efficiently, as well as find spots to improve drainage and identify crop-smothering weeds.
Augean Robotics (AGR)
Headquartered: Philadelphia, PA
AGR develops labor-saving robots for farmers. The company’s product, Burro, is a robotic cart that follows pickers like a dog, and can run back down a row to be emptied at a collection point. With Burro, hand-pickers can pick continuously, no longer wasting upwards of 30% of their time running picked produce from pick point to collection point. The Burro has a 26-inch by 48-inch chassis and comes with a two-wheel and a four-wheel drive option. The two-wheel Burro can carry 300 pounds and the four-wheel drive up to 450 pounds. Burros are powered by sealed lead acid batteries, have a top speed of five miles per hour, and can travel up to 15 miles on a charge.
Headquartered: San Francisco
Boost Biomes is a microbiome company focused on harnessing the power of microbiomes which play a critical role in areas ranging from agriculture to human and animal health. Boost Biomes believes that harnessing their potential will be imperative to a future of sustainability on a fixed planet. The company has a proprietary discovery platform that uses high-throughput sequencing, selective enrichment and advanced informatics to identify microbial products with important commercial roles. This approach is faster and less expensive than traditional approaches and uniquely identifies multi-microbial products which are often more effective than single microbe products.
Headquarted: Los Altos, CA
Intrinsyx is a company commercializing 20+ years of peer-reviewed plant microbiome research from a leading academic lab at University of Washington, as well as additional research from NASA. The product is a specialized microbe that has proven to fix nitrogen aerobically throughout the inside of plants as well as improve yield, N and P efficiency, and abiotic & biotic stress tolerance.
Napigen is addressing unmet needs of future food supplies by creating hybrid crop plants to boost yields to unprecedented levels. The company’s hybridization technology allows the production of non-GM hybrid seeds in crop plants that are currently mostly non-hybrid such as wheat- a market which has a potential value of $20B USD in the world agriculture market alone. Napigen’s technology creates robust male sterile lines, so-called CMS lines, by editing mitochondrial genomes. These lines are ideal over conventional male sterile lines because of their stability and elite backgrounds. They are also non-GM equivalent, produced without Agrobacterium transformation. The hybrid seed produced by the company’s solution is expected to fulfil the highest level of public acceptance, which is highly critical for the future of agriculture to support food supplies in the world.
Orbis MES Ltd.
Headquartered: Dublin, Ireland
Orbis MES Ltd. is a software and systems integration company based in Dublin, Ireland, established in 2011 to provide Smart Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to the global food and beverage industry. Orbis MES focuses specifically on dairy, brewing and distilling in order to drive performance and production outcomes. Orbis OPSTM solution — which has built up a blue-chip customer base including Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America- provides manufacturers with operations and performance management functionality to effectively plan, schedule, execute, track, analyze, report, and improve production processes. The Orbis OPSTM Solution provides a data-hub and associated analytics to the enterprise which is central to the evolution of food and beverage to industrial internet of things (IIOT).
Persistence Data Mining
Headquartered: Mount Auburn, IL
Famers currently rely on soil sampling to make decisions which affect 32% of their input costs. Through the use of remote sensors, Persistence Data Mining’s patent pending process and proprietary algorithms are able to collect more data sets per acre to refine the fertilizer prescriptions maps faster, easier and at a lower cost than traditional methods. The company’s vision is to support fertilizer efficiency that helps farmers increase crop yields, optimize input costs, and protect the environment with its product SMARTSOILTM.
Headquartered: Brookyln, NY
Re-Nuble uses an inexpensive, patent pending process to transform food waste into chemical free, organic nutrients for both soil based and hydroponic cultivation. The company is focused on the commercialization of technologies that optimize plant nutrition sourced from food waste. The company’s unique advantage is that it reclaims raw materials needs from food waste and recreates standard chemical fertilizer products at locations closer to the farmers it sources and supplies to.