Five start-up companies will be pitching their cutting-edge agricultural technologies to a panel of farmers, venture capitalists and a live audience for a chance to win a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital during Western Growers AgSharks™ Competition on Tuesday, October 30. Each startup, who is inventing technology to solve agriculture’s most dire issues, will also be competing for exclusive access to farm acreage to pilot their innovations.
The following are the five start-up companies who have been selected to pitch during the 2018 AgSharks Competition:
- Augean Robotics: Augean Robotics builds Burro, a robot that follows pickers and functions as a virtual conveyor belt between pick points and collection points, allowing hand pickers to pick continuously rather than wasting up to 30 percent of their time shuttling produce.
- ImpactVision: ImpactVision is a machine learning company, applying advanced imaging technology to food supply chains in order to improve food quality, generate consistent products and reduce waste. The startup’s software provides insights about the quality of foods, such as freshness of salad, the ripeness of avocados or the presence of foreign objects rapidly, non-invasively and at production grade speeds.
- Skyx: Skyx is an agricultural-robotics technology company enabling a modular swarm of autonomous drones for spraying. Their innovative solution enables variable rate application at hotspots, or uniform coverage of entire farmland.
- HeavyConnect, Inc.: HeavyConnect has built a mobile platform that eliminates all paper from the farming operation. Their innovative food safety app allows growers to comply with any food safety standard, by enabling farm managers to complete food safety checklists simply within the mobile application. The app collects better data, more accurately, and eliminates the need to transport and organize compliance documentation.
- Bird Control Group: Bird Control Group provides innovative products to keep birds at a safe distance, ensuring a safer working environment and a highly effective way of damage prevention. They built Autonomic, a fully automated bird repelling system that provides continuous bird repelling capability after a one-time configuration. When the Autonomic is operational, birds perceive the system’s approaching laser beam as a physical danger and disperse to seek safety.
The six judges who will be offering feedback, equity investment offers, acreage for use in pilot programs or a combination of the three are as follows:
- Kevin Andrew, Chief Farming Officer at Vanguard International
- Robby Barkley, President & CEO of Barkley Ag Enterprise
- Sanjeev Krishnan, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director at S2G Ventures
- Cristina Rohr, Vice President at S2G Ventures
- Vic Smith, President & CEO of JVSmith Companies
- Matthew Walker, Managing Director at S2G Ventures
AgSharks, which takes place during WG’s Annual Meeting, is the first agtech competition to offer real-time investment opportunities and decision-making in front of a live audience. Having made its debut in October 2017, AgSharks provided two startup companies a total of $2.25 million in investment offers from S2G Ventures. AgSharks was created by WG in partnership with S2G Ventures with the intent of identifying key innovations in the fresh produce industry and supporting agtech startups in bringing their technology to market.
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