THRIVE Companies Showcase at Forbes AgTech Summit Indianapolis

THRIVE accelerator companies were at the forefront of the Forbes AgTech Summit in Indianapolis last week.

Four agtech startups attended the innovation showcase included Arable, Aker Technologies, Farm Dog and 3Bar Biologics. THRIVE News caught up with the companies and learned of their recent milestones.

AKER

Aker, a member of THRIVE IV’s cohort, has much to celebrate said CEO and co-founder Orlando Saez. In September the company announced new crop and aerial imagery trials with Bayer’s crop science division, which is a leader in seed, crop protection and non-ag pest control. The trials are tracking results from Delaro, Bayer’s new corn and soybean fungicide.

In a news release, said Ray Lello, fungicides product manager at Bayer, spoke of how critical trials are to the product.

“Trials in 2017 found that Delaro provided a substantial yield increase over the untreated check in corn and soybeans. However, we also consistently heard from trial participants that they observed improved plant health from Delaro,” said Lello. “That’s why we are thrilled to collaborate with Aker to track qualitative metrics like plant health in addition to the known quantitative yield results of Delaro over the untreated check in corn and soybeans. Understanding how these benefits help contribute to an overall return on investment is beneficial for growers as they look to get the most out of their corn hybrids and soybean varieties.”

Saez credits his mentor Walt Duflock, managing partner of SVG Partners, for working closely with the company and getting them to the next level.

Arable
Arable, a member of THRIVE’s IV cohort, has been celebrating a productive year.

To start with the company, which produces a weather and plant measurement device, welcomed new CEO Jeff Keiser in July.

Arable also expanded headquarters from Princeton, NJ to Oakland, Calif., and hired another seven employees including engineers.

“We had a fantastic 2018 year – we really scaled up our sales team and solidified customer support. We developed some really amazing partnerships, we brought in new CEO in early July, and now about to hire new engineers,” said Jess Bollinger, vice president of strategic partnerships.

In 2018, Bollinger said, the focus has been on refining the device including improving yield forecast and developing into disease analytics and increasing alerts and notifications on crops

Since Arable’s product launched in June 2017, some 1,000 devices have been deployed in 22 countries globally examining some 26 different crops. It works with 150 customers including Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Ferro, Driscoll’s and The Nature Conservancy. To date, Arable has raised $13.2 million including from grants.

Bollinger credits THRIVE with connecting the company with some of its biggest clients especially with farmers and vintners in the Salinas Valley where agriculture is a $9 billion industry.

“THRIVE has helped build a really important network for us in the Salinas Valley where we have many key customers in that area who have been willing to provide strong feedback that has shaped much of our product development,” said Bollinger.

At Forbes AgTech Summit in Indianapolis, Arable was also one of nine companies chosen as part of Demo Day. During Demo Day and the Summit said they received stellar feedback for the product and ultimately more “brand visibility.”

Farm Dog 

Farm Dog’s CEO and founder Liron Brish said he has had a whirlwind summer.

Farm Dog, a member of the THRIVE IV accelerator that provides pest and disease management scouting platform, is focused on a new round of fundraising (to date the company has raised $2 million).

Brish, born in Israel and based in Tel Aviv, is also amid a transcontinental move and Los Angeles bound to be closer to the agriculture industry. A former consultant in farm harvest with McKinsey & Co., Brish said the company was awarded a number of important initiatives since joining THRIVE.

There’s the partnership with John Deere one of the largest farm equipment manufacturers in the world where Farm Dog’s software connects with Deere equipment to provide data analytics. There’s the $900,000 grant from the BIRD Foundation (The Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation) in Israel that is fueling the company’s research and development. Farm Dog is also working with the USDA, University of Georgia and University of Florida, on building a regional pest disease management program. Brish said Farm Dog is providing the algorithm for the program.

Farm Dog, now in a million and a half acres and has conducted more than 25,000 field visits, also seeks to build out the AI part of the platform next.

Brish said THRIVE helped the company gain even more credibility in the agtech space.

“THRIVE did good job creating a network among startups,” said Brish noting the “connections that THRIVE made to the industry” when it comes to startups. “It’s hard enough being a startup, it’s even harder being an agtech startup,” he said, noting the sector is still fairly new when it comes to investment and acceptance from growers.

3Bar Biologics

Bruce Caldwell the CEO and founder of 3Bar Biologics cited a number of the company’s laurels since it joined the THRIVE Accelerator Program in 2017.

A spin-out from Ohio State University, the company provides natural microorganisms to boost healthier crops with higher yields. 3Bar has been in hiring mode tripling the size of its team to seven staffers including on the sales and marketing front. The company also received a greenlight for its first patent and has completed a seed round of $2 million. Over the summer 3Bar conducted a trial with Land O’Lakes, the connection made through the THRIVE program.

Caldwell said the connections with corporations has been golden for 3Bar.

“There are now a lot of companies in the THRIVE network that connect with other CEOs of young startups, and some of the larger relationships have been very impactful,” he said.

The sky is the limit for the company, he said. 3Bar plans to double sales and staffing annually and expand its reach when it comes to crops and geographies.

Heidenhain Corporation Joins THRIVE AgTech as Latest Partner

SAN FRANCISCO (September 24, 2018) — SVG Partners announced today that the leading manufacturer of precision measurement and control equipment, HEIDENHAIN, is the latest corporate partner to join its THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform.

 

The partnership with HEIDENHAIN, a leader of innovative precision measurement and motion control systems for medical, general automation, electronics, and agriculture applications, will leverage the firm’s extensive expertise to advance early stage and growth stage technologies aimed at the agriculture sector.

 

“We are committed to providing functional, easy to operate technology to our customers, and with THRIVE’s view to innovative agriculture technology companies, the partnership with SVG Partners helps us to achieve this,” said Tom Wyatt, HEIDENHAIN Director of Marketing and Communications.

 

“We are delighted to welcome HEIDENHAIN to the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform,” said SVG Partners and THRIVE founder John Hartnett.

 

The SVG-THRIVE AgTech platform aims to connect promising startups and partners like HEIDENHAIN with new technologies and scale them across the corporate value chain. In addition to its full suite of encoders, controls and other precision measurement solutions for the manufacturing, electronics and medical industries, HEIDENHAIN is pushing the boundaries of advanced system capabilities through its development of innovation including high performance robotics controls and components in sectors such as agriculture, pulp and paper, forest and wood processing and aggregate and mining equipment.

“HEIDENHAIN is proud to be a member of the THRIVE community and we are looking forward to partnering with the other corporate and academia members,” said  Wyatt. “I don’t think most people realize the global challenges facing the food and agriculture industries. Our goal is to advance the effort with our motion control enabling technology.”

This week HEIDENHAIN leaders Chris Weber, Senior Sales Director and Jonathan Dougherty, Product Manager for Automation Products, along with Wyatt will join the SVG Partners team at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Summit, which is being held in the Midwest for the first time, brings together experts and innovators from the food and agriculture industries to showcase new technologies and industry insights.

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About HEIDENHAIN
DR. JOHANNES  HEIDENHAIN GmbH, headquartered in Traunreut, Germany, develops and supports motion control feedback solutions for the machine tool, semiconductor, electronics assembly and test, metrology, automation, medical, energy, biotechnology and other global markets. HEIDENHAIN employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide in its core business activities. The North American subsidiary is HEIDENHAIN CORPORATION, headquartered in Schaumburg, IL, and San Jose, CA, and has been serving the U.S. industry for over 50 years. www.heidenhain.us

 

About SVG Partners and THRIVE

Since 2011, SVG Partners has been building a global AgTech innovation platform that accelerates, invests, and works with entrepreneurs, investors, and Fortune 500 food, agriculture, and technology corporations. Founded in 2014, THRIVE AgTech’s mission is to solve key industry challenges, test technologies in the field and across the supply chain, and build partnerships across the ecosystem in order to shorten the time it takes to bring innovation to market. SVG Partners is based in Silicon Valley, California.

www.thriveagtech.com

SVG Partners Announces EY as Latest Sponsor to Join the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform

September 19, San Francisco, CA— SVG Partners announced this morning global leader of assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services EY as the latest sponsor of its THRIVE Venture and Innovation Platform. Going forward together with SVG Partners, EY aims to support advanced technology infrastructure and new innovations in seeds, crop inputs, livestock, dairy and grain processing that will fuel the next generation of digital agriculture.

Five years after launching in Salinas, California, THRIVE Venture & Innovation continues to expand its platform, including growth of its university partnerships, the unveiling of a new THRIVE business park in Salinas, growth of its agtech investment fund, and new corporate partnerships.

“We are thrilled to join THRIVE’s global network of engaged startups, farmers and corporate leaders,” said Rob Dongoski, Agribusiness Leader, Ernst & Young LLP. “Digital agriculture is essential to the future of farming and this growing startup innovation ecosystem will help drive new advancements and exciting changes to our industry.”

On the new collaboration, SVG Partners and THRIVE founder & CEO John Hartnett said, “We are pleased to welcome EY to the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform. EY is a globally recognized advisory and innovation firm and we look forward to working together to develop insights and technologies that will advance the digitalization of agriculture.”

  

ABOUT THE SVG PARTNERS-THRIVE VENTURE & INNOVATION PLATFORM

The THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform works with leading corporations, startups, universities, and growers to solve the biggest challenges facing the food and agriculture industries. Yearly, THRIVE hosts highly selective programs for seed and growth stage AgTech and FoodTech startups, providing investment, top-tier mentorship, trials, and go to market support. In addition, THRIVE provides corporate open innovation and advisory services, working with leading corporations like Coca Cola, EY, Trimble, Wilbur-Ellis, Taylor Farms, Land O’Lakes, Wells Fargo and Verizon. THRIVE was launched in 2014 by Silicon Valley Global Partners (SVG Partners), a venture, innovation and advisory firm based in Silicon Valley, CA. www.svgpartners.com www.thriveagtech.com

 

ABOUT EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.