Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Six AgTech Co’s Selected to Compete for Up To $250K Equity Investment


October 25, 2017 — Salinas, CA

[Editor’s note: While Western Growers is based in Irvine and S2G is based in Chicago, The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology is based in Salinas. The startups named below will have the option of offices in the center in Salinas.]

Western Growers and S2G Ventures have selected the six finalists who will be competing in AgSharks™ for equity investments totaling up to $250,000 to support the development and growth of their businesses, as well as for acreage to pilot their technologies. These start-up companies will pitch their ideas to a panel of AgSharks who will decide on the spot whether and how much to invest. The entrepreneurs must then accept the offer, negotiate or decline. This live event will take place on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, during the Western Growers Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The following are the six start-up companies—who are all developing technology to help solve agriculture’s most pressing challenges—selected to compete in the AgSharks event:

  • AgVoice is a mobile voice-interaction service designed for food and agriculture professionals to capture insights on the go. By using proprietary analytics and processing of raw voice files—including captured time stamps and location data—users can improve productivity and workflow management, increase documentation accuracy and gain valuable insights to optimize the use of resources in production.
  • Augean Robotics, LLC builds Burro, a robot that follows pickers and functions as 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.
  • Farm Dog is an end-to-end pest and disease management platform that helps growers optimize pesticide use, increase yields and promote environmental sustainability. The mobile-cloud software solution with artificial intelligence-enabled analytics ensures that fields get the right treatment, at the right time, at the right amount and at the right location.
  • Food-Origins provides cloud data services to hand-picked crops through a hand held, low cost scanner. With unprecedented precision, Food-Origins can trace value from harvest to table, allowing new levels of transparency and traceability.
  • Hazel Technologies products are inserts that time-release active ingredients into the storage atmosphere of commercially-packed produce. The active ingredients biochemically fight spoilage by slowing the aging process and fight the proliferation of disease.
  • iFood (IFoodDecisionSciences) is a software and database solutions provider that partners with companies to build customer specific secure portal site applications for efficient data management, reporting and process improvement. The software is used to manage day-to-day food safety, quality control and a growing number of business processes.

Additionally, Western Growers and S2G Ventures collaboratively selected a panel of judges comprised of leaders and pioneers from the agriculture, technology and business industries. 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:

  • Edwin Camp, President at D.M. Camp & Sons,
  • Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director and CIO at S2G Ventures
  • Ryan Talley, Farm Manager and Co-Owner at Talley farms
  • Chuck Templeton, Managing Director at S2G Ventures
  • Matthew Walker, Principal at S2G Ventures
  • Rob Yraceburu, President at Wonderful Orchards LLC

The event will be moderated by Vic Smith, president and CEO at JV Smith Companies. For more information on the AgSharks competition, visit the Western Growers 2017 Annual Meeting website.



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