Driscoll’s Joins THRIVE as Corporate Partner

Friday, December 16, 2016- SVG Partners announced today that the global berry brand Driscoll’s, has joined the THRIVE ecosystem as a corporate partner. After a year of working with startup companies as a mentor in the THRIVE Accelerator Program, the Driscoll’s partnership extension signifies the company’s continued commitment to supporting and collaborating with agtech startups and partners. The partnership between SVG Partners and Driscoll’s will work to integrate cutting edge agriculture technologies into the berry brand’s global value chain.

“Being able to work with external partners like THRIVE and its growing network of startups is very important to what we do,” said Nolan Paul, Head of R&D Strategy & Emerging Technology at Driscoll’s. “The program was an ideal fit for Driscoll’s, as the companies that THRIVE identifies and vets are strategic to our mission to grow and deliver great tasting berries to consumers”.

As a mentor during THRIVE’s 2016 accelerator class, Driscoll’s engaged with nearly half of the companies within the cohort to match and interface the new technologies to particular areas within its supply chain.

Especially in California, where Driscoll’s Berries is headquartered and grows much of its berry crop, agriculture faces mounting labor and land shortages, drought, and an exacting regulatory environment.

These factors made THRIVE AgTech’s strong network within California’s farming regions of paramount importance to Driscoll’s Nolan explains, “being able to tap into THRIVE’s local agtech ecosystem helps us find startups that are most relevant to us, and connects us into a network of players who really understand and are willing to address local, regional problems”.

“For our company, technology is helping steer us into the future,” said Kevin Murphy, CEO of Driscoll’s. “The network that THRIVE has cultivated is strategic to helping us quickly identify, test, and iterate innovations on the frontline for our network of independent growers.” Murphy will speak to the company’s strategic partnership and more broadly, to the evolution of Driscoll’s in a rapidly transforming industry on February 1, 2017, as a headline speaker at the THRIVE Innovation Forum.

“After a successful year working with the Driscoll’s team, we are delighted to welcome them aboard as a corporate partner of the THRIVE Startup platform, joining our headline partners Land O’ Lakes, Verizon, Western Growers, Well’s Fargo, Taylor Farms, City of Salinas, Panasonic, Yamaha, and JV Smith Companies. It is through partnerships with Driscoll’s and others which help THRIVE grow the connections and capacity of its global AgTech ecosystem and enable us to work with organizations that are intimately familiar with the pain points of agriculture,” said SVG Partners founder John Hartnett.

THRIVE Alumni Update: California Safe Soil Saves Farmers Money, Combats Food Waste

The following statistic may or may not come as a surprise: “consumers, businesses, and farmers spend $218 Billion a year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing 62 million tons of food that never gets eaten.” (ReFED) Dan Morash, CEO of California Safe Soil, a graduate company of THRIVE’s first accelerator cohort, has the technology to mitigate half of this. Today, the CSS technology is diverting uneaten food’s route to the landfill by recycling and returning it to the soil where it stimulates growth and prevents fertilizer runoff.

“We take all of it [food waste], and put it in the soil where it stimulates growth and sequesters carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the environment”. Harvest to Harvest, the company’s flagship product could be considered a modernized version of technology dating back to early Americas, when Native Americans would use fish byproducts to fertilize maize crop. Today, at CSS’ facility, the process occurs by mechanically grinding, heating, and enzymatically digesting food collected from recycling partners, producing an organic amendment containing amino acids, fatty acids and sugars that soil organisms and plants thrive on.

All of this dramatically reduces the tons of food slated for landfills each year by working with recycling partners across the entire food chain. In addition to supermarkets, the company targets growers with off “spec” produce left in the field during harvesting, food processors, institutional players such as stadiums, schools, and hospitals, and hotels. In lieu of the other half which CSS does not have the capability to process- residential- Morash urges composting, anaerobic alternatives.

Once processed, California Safe Soil’s microbially rich organic matter is delivered to growers to use as a crop amendment. While CSS works with 13,000 acres of farmland within California, even greater opportunity lies ahead for the company. Because farmers work predominantly with macronutrients like fertilizer and insecticide inputs, supporting soil health is often overlooked which places a degree of separation between California Safe Soil’s product and its intended users. What Morash explains though, is that Harvest to Harvest is a complimentary product which fortifies the soil, working with the soil to retain water and fertilizer inputs and prevent them from running off through the root zone and into aquifers. What’s more, existing CSS customers have seen their plants manifest more root growth, flowering and fruiting. Ultimately, the CSS product pays for itself by displacing the cost of crop inputs used by growers and yielding more robust harvests.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION

Already CSS has partnered with major players like supermarket retailer Save Mart and the Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Arena, delivering Harvest to Harvest amendment product to 13,000 acres of specialty crop farmland in California. The company is rising to the food waste crisis by returning uneaten food back to the land, thereby sequestering the volumes of greenhouse and toxic gasses that are emitted each year as a result of food’s decay in landfills, while also boosting plant growth and reducing chemical runoff from reaching water supplies. Save Mart alone could supply 90,000 acres, and there is much more that can be done.  CSS hopes to accelerate its growth, and play a meaningful role, recycling organic matter and increasing the sustainability of agriculture.

12 finalists announced for THRIVE Accelerator

SALINAS, CA – Twelve of the most innovative startups in AgTech and Food Tech have been selected to participate in the THRIVE Accelerator beginning in April in Salinas, California.
36 startups from Ireland, Israel, Italy, Spain, UK and from across the U.S. pitched their technology, team, and vision for growth at the THRIVE Accelerator’s Seed Camp yesterday. The initiative is driven by SVG Partners. THRIVE sponsors include leaders in both agriculture and technology: Western Growers Association; Land O’ Lakes; Taylor Farms; Verizon and the City of Salinas. The event was hosted at the new Taylor Farms Headquarters in downtown Salinas.

Each pitch was scored by a diverse group of senior judges drawn from agriculture; technology sectors; financial and investment groups; and universities. This included experts from Dole Fresh Vegetables; Taylor Farms; Land O’Lakes; Western Growers Association; Verizon; Wells Fargo; SAP; Alvarez Technology Group; Royal Rose; Crestlight Venture Productions; UC Davis and California State University, Monterey Bay.

Representatives from these industry-leading organizations and universities will mentor the Finalists during the THRIVE Accelerator from April 4th through May, 2016.

“We have been impressed with the quality of the startups presenting at yesterday’s THRIVE Seed Camp,” said Hank Giclas SVP, Science, Technology & Strategic Planning of Western Growers Association and a THRIVE Accelerator Mentor “The doubling of applicants for this second edition confirms we’re building around THRIVE and WGA’s Center for Innovation and Technology a strong ecosystem of AgTech innovation.”

“The Agriculture and Food industry is facing incredible challenges nowadays and our partnership with THRIVE Accelerator is a great opportunity to meet global entrepreneurs committed to bringing innovation and solutions to this market,” said Michael Toto, director at Verizon IoT Global Product Development & Strategic Planning and newly selected THRIVE Accelerator Mentor. “We have met many THRIVE startups, focused at the intersection of IoT and Agriculture, where Verizon is already set up to bring great value and solutions.”

The THRIVE finalists’ experience culminates with a final Demo Day on June 9, 2016.
Special awardees from the Demo Day will be prominently highlighted during the Forbes AgTech Summit on July 13 and 14, 2016 in Salinas; and will compete for funding and the chance to deploy their technology at one of the industry’s top companies.

“Leveraging the technology expertise in Silicon Valley and the agriculture expertise in Salinas, THRIVE is an ecosystem that is bringing together a global network of innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, as well as technology and ag companies,” said John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Partners. “This Accelerator is bringing some incredible energy and disruptive innovation to one of the world’s most important industries. All the entrepreneurs that have pitched today are drawn together by the opportunity that arises from a huge challenge: feeding the world, sustainably.”

 

2016 THRIVE Accelerator Program Finalists

  • Acuity Agriculture – Connected sensors for farms
  • Agribody Technologies – Yield-enhancing genetic technology
  • AGVOICE – Voice-interactive, hands-free data service for Ag professionals on-the-go
  • Edyn – Smart soil sensors and irrigation controllers for agriculture and gardening
  • Food Origins – Precision harvest data to high value hand crops
  • GeoVisual Analytics – Machine Learning-based platform to rapidly analyze crop imagery from drones
  • Inteligistics – Wireless temperature visibility solutions for food products
  • MagGrow – Magnetic spraying technology
  • Soliculture – Greenhouse integrated photovoltaics for combined power & agriculture
  • specright – Packaging management
  • Trace Genomics – Genomics diagnostics for soilborne diseases & early disease risk prediction
  • Wheyhey – High protein, sugar free ice cream

SVG Partners and Land O’Lakes, Inc. enter AgTech Innovation agreement

SVG PARTNERS AND LAND O’LAKES, INC. TODAY ANNOUNCED AN AGREEMENT TO FIND INNOVATIVE FOOD AND AG-TECH SOLUTIONS THROUGH THE THRIVE ACCELERATOR, A HIGHLY SELECTIVE INVESTMENT PROGRAM THAT SUPPORTS OPEN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY-ENABLED AGRICULTURAL STARTUPS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES AND AROUND THE WORLD.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. will bring its knowledge and experience as a judge in the program and will offer mentoring and advice to selected AgTech startups, helping them rapidly scale to meet evolving needs in agriculture. ”As a leader in AgTech, we are excited to offer our expertise and leadership to the Thrive Accelerator program and support innovative start-ups in driving the future of our industry,” said Mike Macrie, Land O’Lakes Chief Information Officer.

The THRIVE program attracts startups with disruptive and innovative AgTech solutions and provides them access to show their technologies to top agricultural companies. Selected startups will receive support in scaling their products and solutions from industry leaders such as Land O’Lakes. Chris Boody, Chief Technology Officer for SVG Partners said, “SVG is thrilled to welcome Land O’Lakes, Inc. among its strategic partners in the program. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is uniquely positioned to help the THRIVE program become one of the leading Ag-Tech innovation platforms in the United States.”

For 2016, almost 200 applications were submitted to THRIVE from 35 countries

around the world. Thirty-six applicants from 16 business areas were chosen to pitch their companies to a selected list of judges and experts. Ten finalists will benefit from an eight-week acceleration program based on high-level mentorship, collaboration and direct access to the world’s top fresh agriculture companies in the United States.

ABOUT LAND O’LAKES, INC.

Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2015 annual sales of $13 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 203 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 94 years of operation, Land O’Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField Solutions. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O’Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn. www.landolakesinc.com

ABOUT SVG PARTNERS AND THRIVE ACCELERATOR

THRIVE is a highly selective mentorship and investment Accelerator program for Ag-Tech and Food-Tech startups. The THRIVE Program was conceived and is led by Silicon Valley Global Partners (SVG Partners), an investment, technology and advisory firm that partners with organizations on strategy, innovation and global expansion. SVG Partners is based in Silicon Valley, CA.  www.svgpartners.com