June 5, 2018

Four Technology Startups Chosen to Compete for $250,000 Minimum Investment in Inaugural Ag Automation Competition

IRVINE, Calif. (June 5, 2018) – Western Growers and Radicle Growth have selected the four finalists who will be competing in the inaugural Radicle Automation Challenge for a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital and exclusive access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies. On June 26, 2018, these four agtech start-up companies will pitch their technologies to a panel of investors, corporate partners and agricultural pioneers who will decide whether and how much to invest. The winner will be announced during the pitch session and officially presented with an award later that evening during the Western Growers’ Innovation Showcase Dinner at the Forbes AgTech Summit.

The following are the four companies—who are developing technologies that improve on-farm efficiencies and inventing automation to help relieve agriculture’s labor shortage—selected to compete in the Radicle Automation Challenge:

  • 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.
  • FruitSpec: FruitSpec provides a highly accurate fruit yield estimation from the early immature green fruit stage when critical decisions are made.
  • Ganaz: Ganaz helps farms recruit and engage with their workforce. Using their growing network of thousands of farmworkers and their social media integrations, Ganaz lets farms recruit farmworkers with a few taps from their smartphone. Once on the job, farmers can get essential messages out to their workforce (like shift changes) and solicit feedback on working conditions to improve retention.
  • GroGuru: GroGuru has a 100 percent wireless underground sensor that is able to transmit from as far below ground as six feet. In addition, their transmission device can work with other sensors. Their wireless solution can instrument, monitor, collect and analyze data, and deliver real-time results for optimal soil and water management across all soil and crop types.

Western Growers and Radicle Growth are also proud to announce the judges panel who will be offering feedback, equity investment offers, acreage for use in pilot programs or a combination of the three. The judges are as follows:

  • Kirk Haney, CEO & Managing Partner of Radicle Growth
  • Arama Kukutai, Co-Founder and Partner of Finistere Ventures
  • Frank Maconachy, President & CEO of Ramsay Highlander, Inc.
  • Tom Nunes, Vice President of Operations of The Nunes Company, Inc.
  • Wendy Srnic, Research Director at Corteva Agriscience—Agricultural Division of DowDuPont

For more information on the Radicle Automation Challenge, visit http://radicle.vc/the-radicle-challenge/.

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. In December 2015, WG opened an agtech incubator—the Western Growers 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 51 startups. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

About Radicle Growth:
Radicle Growth is a San Diego-based acceleration fund that selects innovative ag and food tech startups for investment, ensuring that powerful, disruptive technologies reach their full potential. In additional to providing seed-stage capital, they provide a fertile environment for visionaries in the ag space, not just to grow but to flourish. Their proprietary platform is the only one of its kind in the agriculture industry, thus filling a huge void in the market by identifying the most innovative technologies and accelerating them with a range of value-creation initiatives. To connect and learn more about Radicle Growth follow us on Twitter and Facebook.