Date: Sep 15, 2021

Fourth-annual AgSharks Competition will provide agtech startups exclusive access to produce leaders and funding to advance innovative solutions for the agriculture sector

IRVINE, Calif. (September 15, 2021) – Western Growers (WG) and S2G Ventures are now accepting applications for the 2021 AgSharks Competition, a unique event where start-up companies pitch their innovations in front of a live audience of the world’s largest specialty crop producers to win a $250,000 minimum investment. Impact-driven entrepreneurs and startups developing technologies that promote a more healthy and sustainable food and agriculture system can apply for the AgSharks Competition at 2021agsharks.splashthat.com. Applications close on Monday, October 11, 2021.

“Our AgSharks Competition is an exciting and impactful event that has already yielded bottom-line benefits for our members,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. “While there is much more we are doing to speed innovative technologies to our industry, AgSharks creates a special opportunity for agtech entrepreneurs to win the hearts and minds of growers on a very high profile stage. We’re looking forward to this year’s competition.”

Five startups will be selected to pitch their inventions to a panel of growers, shippers, processors and venture capitalists in front of more than 300 fresh produce farmers and industry leaders during the WG Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, on November 9, 2021. In addition to investment capital, the winner(s) will receive international recognition, mentoring from S2G and WG, potential access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies and access to WG’s expansive network of leading fresh produce companies.

“AgSharks leads as the only pitch competition that offers agtech startups an audience with the biggest agricultural companies across the globe,” said Audre Kapacinskas, Vice President at S2G Ventures. “The combination of exclusive access to hundreds of industry leaders plus investment capital to fuel growth are two elements that are crucial for a startup’s success in this industry.”

AgSharks was first held in 2017, and through the competition, three early-stage companies have earned seed money to elevate their businesses to the next level. In fact, past winners Hazel Technologies and Burro, formerly known as Augean Robotics, have since brought their products from development to market. Hazel Technologies recently closed a Series C financing round and is now advancing the industry with sachets that extend the shelf life of fresh produce by as much as three times. Burro is helping solve farmers’ labor woes with the expansion of its fleet of autonomous robots to farms across the west.

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

About S2G Ventures:
S2G Ventures is a multi-stage venture fund investing across the food, agriculture, oceans and seafood markets. The fund's mission is to catalyze innovation to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food systems. S2G has identified sectors across the food system that are ripe for change and is building a multi-stage portfolio including seed, venture and growth-stage investments. Core areas of interest for S2G are agriculture, oceans, ingredients, infrastructure and logistics, IT and hardware, food safety and technology, retail and restaurants, and consumer brands. For more information about S2G, visit s2gventures.com, tune in to our podcast or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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