After carefully reviewing the flood of applications from start-up companies that are all developing technology to solve agriculture’s most critical issues, Western Growers and S2G Ventures have chosen five finalists to compete in the 2019 AgSharks® Competition on November 12.
The selected startups, who will face off and compete for $250,000 in investment capital and access to farmland to pilot their innovations, are as follows:
- FarmWise Labs: FarmWise’s autonomous, A.I.-enabled robots are designed to solve farmers’ most pressing challenges by performing a variety of farming functions – starting with weeding, and providing personalized care to every plant they touch.
- GeoVisual Analytics: GeoVisual helps specialty crop farmers track and improve their performance throughout the supply chain, to optimize efficiencies and increase profits from planting to sales.
- mobius pbc: mobius is building a future where food, forestry and agricultural waste streams are upcycled into valuable chemical and material building blocks. Its first technology is a platform for bio-based, naturally degradable and compostable materials that serve as drop-in replacements for petroleum-based polymers used in agriculture.
- NanoReagents LLC: NanoReagents’ product offerings include new technologies that increase yields and promote sustainability; interventions in microbiology that enhance food safety, food production and food economics; testing and laboratory services; and solutions that reverse long-established inefficiencies in energy, water and waste costs.
- Varcode: Varcode has developed patented technology to enable scannable barcodes to dynamically change based on prescribed, configurable time and temperature threshold conditions. The system provides real-time alerts to concerned stakeholders as well as comprehensive track and trace provenance for temperature-sensitive products for safety and compliance purposes.
The competition will take place at Western Growers’ Annual Meeting in Maui Hawaii, where the finalists will pitch their innovations to a panel of AgSharks, and the judges will decide, on the spot, whether and how much to invest.
The seven “Sharks” who will be offering feedback, equity investment offers, acreage for use in pilot programs or a combination of the three are as follows:
- Neill Callis, General Manager at Turlock Fruit Company Inc. Bio.
- Audre Kapacinskas, Vice President at S2G Ventures. Bio.
- Frank Maconachy, President and CEO at Ramsay Highlander, Inc. Bio.
- Aidan Mouat, CEO and Co-founder at Hazel Technologies. Bio.
- Craig Reade, Partner at Bonipak Produce. Bio.
- Chuck Templeton, Managing Director at S2G Ventures. Bio.
- Matthew Walker, Managing Director at S2G Ventures. Bio.
Western Growers and S2G Ventures created the AgSharks Competition in 2017 to identify key innovations in the fresh produce industry and support agtech startups in bringing their technology to market. In the competition’s first year, Hazel Technologies and AgVoice walked away with a total of $2.25 million in investment offers. Last year, Augean Robotics earned $250,000, which played a significant role in helping the startup close a $1.5 million seed round.