The challenge calls for entrepreneurs and startups looking to innovate solutions for the agricultural sector
IRVINE, Calif. (August 29, 2018) – Western Growers (WG) has partnered with S2G Ventures (Seed 2 Growth) to host the 2018 AgSharks™ Competition, a challenge where start-up companies can compete for a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital to support the development and growth of their businesses. The challenge calls for entrepreneurs and startups who are developing innovative solutions in food, agtech and agriculture.
“The farmers who grow our vegetables, fruits and nuts have never faced as challenging of a regulatory climate as they do today,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “It’s now more important than ever to invest in innovation solutions and technologies that will play a crucial role in helping farmers grow more with less. We welcome S2G Ventures as our partner in providing the resources needed to fuel technology that will solve real world problems.”
Five finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of AgSharks, consisting of venture capitalists and fresh produce farmers, during the WG 93rd Annual Meeting in Palm Desert on October 30, 2018. The judges will decide on the spot whether and how much to invest. The entrepreneurs must then accept the offer, negotiate or decline. In addition to investment capital, successful entrants will also receive international recognition, mentoring from S2G and WG and potential access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies.
“We are excited to partner with Western Growers for the second consecutive year in finding the next great set of entrepreneurs delivering innovative solutions to the farm,” said Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures. “The WG partnership offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn directly about the challenges facing growers. We are excited to invest behind innovative solutions that support more sustainable and nutritious food.”
AgSharks premiered last October, where two agtech startups – Hazel Technologies and AgVoice – received a $2.25 million total investment offer from S2G Ventures. Hazel Technologies, a start-up company that develops products that extend the shelf life of fresh produce, has since raised a $3.26 million Series A round – led by the $2 million contribution that S2G Ventures awarded to the startup during the AgSharks competition. Additionally, the funds from the competition have also played a significant role in enabling the startup to launch 100 pilots with fresh fruits and vegetables growers.
“The outcome of the AgSharks event was a major step forward for Hazel Tech,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO and Co-Founder at Hazel Technologies, Inc. “S2G's investment has had great impact in accelerating our business growth and the opportunity to pitch in front of WGA members was invaluable. I think the event is only going to get bigger and better from here out.”
AgSharks is the latest WG effort to identify key innovations in the fresh produce industry and support agtech startups in bringing their technology to market. In December 2015, WG opened an agtech incubator—the WG Center for Innovation & Technology—in Salinas, California to provide startups with the resources and mentoring needed to get their companies and technologies up and running. The Center now houses nearly 50 startups.
All applications can be submitted to https://www.research.net/r/agsharks18. Applications must be submitted by September 30, 2018.
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 (Seed to Growth) is a multi-stage venture fund investing in food and agriculture. The fund’s mission is to catalyze innovation to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food. 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, ingredients, infrastructure and logistics, IT and hardware, food safety and technology, retail and restaurants, and consumer brands. For more information about S2G, visit www.s2gventures.com or connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.