NEWS RELEASE: California venture, innovation firm to expand to Midwest, partner with Indiana-based entities, advance livestock and plant sciences health

California venture, innovation firm to expand to Midwest, partner with Indiana-based entities, advance livestock and plant sciences health

SVG Partners expands THRIVE AgTech into livestock and agbiosciencesin Midwest with newest partners National Pork Board, AgriNovus Indiana, Elanco Animal Health, Purdue Foundry and with long-term partner Land O’Lakes

SAN FRANCISCO and INDIANAPOLIS – SVG Partners, a California-based venture and innovation firm, announced today the expansion of its West Coast-based THRIVE AgTech program to the Midwest to focus specifically on animal health and support agriculture advancements.

The expanded accelerator follows the Forbes AgTech Summit held in Indianapolis this fall. The collaboration will build a bridge between THRIVE Silicon Valley and the Midwest with new corporate partners including the National Pork Board, AgriNovus Indiana, Elanco Animal Health, long-term THRIVE partner Land O’Lakes, Inc. with startup support from Purdue Foundry.

With this expansion, THRIVE aims to develop a targeted pipeline of livestock management and animal health startups, validating and scaling new technologies for the livestock vertical and expand its support of emerging plant science and biotechnology startups.

“Monitoring animal health and preventing animal disease outbreaks is vital to our food supply chain,” said SVG Partners founder and CEO John Hartnett. “We look forward to leveraging our new partnerships with the National Pork Board, Agrinovus Indiana and Elanco Animal Health, as well as our existing partner Land O’Lakes to providestrategic and technical expertise and key resources to startup companies developing technologies for livestock producers.”

SVG Partners launched the THRIVE Accelerator in 2014 to accelerate technology for agriculture with early partners including Taylor Farms, Driscoll’s Berries, JV Smith and western growers. With the Forbes AgTech Summit, SVG Partners recognized the opportunity to expand THRIVE into the Midwest in order to more readily address the geography’s robust livestock sector and biotechnology expertise.

“Working with new local partners in Indiana, we will be able to build on the success of our West Coast-based accelerator in order to deliver targeted technology to livestock farmers in the region and beyond,” Hartnett said.

THRIVE is pleased to welcome the National Pork Board to its AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform. The National Pork Board, funded by more than 60,000 U.S. pork producers and pork importers, centers its industry’s work on reinforcing pork’s role as a sustainable, responsibly raised protein.

“We look forward to working closely with THRIVE to accelerate animal health technologies. This partnership aligns well with our producer’s ongoing efforts to build upon our foundation of providing a healthy, safe, environmentally sustainable product for the food supply chain,” said Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. “Over the past several decades, pork producers have decreased the carbon footprint and both land and water usage. Technology is critical to driving sustainable, efficient production through a commitment to environmental sustainability and animal welfare.”

Elanco, a leading animal health company with its headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana, also joins the program. The company works to provide veterinarians, food producers, and pet owners with the tools needed to help animals live healthy lives.

“We are pleased to see THRIVE AgTech expand into the Midwest, especially at a time when Indiana’s AgBioScience innovation ecosystem is flourishing,” said Aaron Schacht, executive vice president of Innovation, Regulatory and Business Development at Elanco. “We believe programs such as THRIVE can provide a valuable and complementary path for the development of next generation technologies in animal health. We’re looking forward to the opportunities this will bring.”

The program expansion will bring together existing and new partnerships with corporates, academia, investors and startups to foster new AgTech opportunities for the region’s economy.

“Our region is home to a large concentration of livestock producers and animal health-focused corporations, and equally strong in its advancements in the plant sciences,” said Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “We are delighted to bring SVG Partner’s resources and expertise to the Midwest to support the vision of making Indiana the home of globally recognized agbioscience innovation.”

Purdue University is Indiana’s land-grant university with a nationally ranked College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine. The Purdue Foundry is a startup accelerator that manages the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The technologies coming out of the outstanding research in agriculture, veterinary medicine and across campus support a strong pipeline of technology commercialization and startup creation,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making for Purdue Research Foundation. “We are excited by what THRIVE will bring to the Midwest in advancing the entire region’s growth in the agrosciences and agbiosciences.”

Existing THRIVE partners such as Corteva, EY and Trimble already have significant resources in the Midwest and will help to deepen THRIVE’s activity in row crop production agriculture activity there.

As another strategic geographical partner, Purdue Foundry will help to root THRIVE expansion in the Midwest by connecting university talent with THRIVE’s network and resources.

A THRIVE partner since 2016, Land O’Lakes, Inc. is committed to modernizing agriculture through digitalization.

“Over the past several years, we have worked to develop a suite of digital tools through our Answer Tech®platform to help hundreds of row crop farmers optimize their operations by increasingyield potential and reducing risk,” said Teddy Bekele senior vice president and chief technology officer at Land O’Lakes.  “We look forward to working with THRIVE and other Midwest partners to deliver targeted innovation to the thousands of dairy producers we work with in the region.”

THRIVE’s expansion into the Midwest was announced today (Thursday, Nov. 29) during AgriNovus’ fourth annual Agbioscience Innovation Summit in Indiana.

For more information about THRIVE, visit www.thriveagtech.com.

 

About SVG Partners

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.

 

About National Pork Board

The National Pork Board has responsibility for producer-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula.

 

About Elanco

Founded in 1954, Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 90 countries around the world. We value innovation, both in scientific research and daily operations, and strive to cultivate a collaborative work environment for more than 5,800 employees worldwide. Together with our customers, we are committed to raising awareness about global food security, and celebrating and supporting the human-animal bond. Our worldwide headquarters and research facilities are located in Greenfield, Indiana.

 

About AgriNovus Indiana

AgriNovus Indiana is the state’s initiative focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector as a nationally recognized leader through education, research and talent development; strategic collaborations among corporations, industry associations, government and universities; the creation and support of new companies; and branding and targeted promotions to elevate the sector. AgriNovus Indiana is part of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. To learn more, visit agrinovusindiana.com.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundryis an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was co-named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship.For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

 

 

About Land O’Lakes

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 2017 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 216 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 97 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, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. 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.

 

 

 

 

Media contacts:

 

Emily Breslin, SVG Partners

(650) 666-7521

Emily.breslin@svgpartners.com

 

Colleen Parr Dekker, Elanco
(317) 989-7011
parr_dekker_colleen@elanco.com

 

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.

Partner Feature: Financing Sustainable Shifts in the Ag Economy

We Sat Down With Matt Servatius, Head Of Cleantech At Wells Fargo And Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg, Sector Manager Of Agrifoodtechnology And Packaged Food At Wells Fargo To Discuss The Challenges Agriculture Faces And Why All Classes Of Investors Are An Important Part Of The Conversation And Solution.

Last year, Wells Fargo’s awarded THRIVE a $300,000 grant to support our efforts to help promising technologies and startupsin the agriculture sector evolve from concept to market. A partner of THRIVE since early 2016, the investment followed the bank’s first $100,000 philanthropic contribution to the global startupplatform. Both awards are part of the bank’s larger announcement made earlier this year to commit $200 billion in sustainable financing for projects focused on sustainable agriculture, waste reduction, and water and broad environmental conservation. Outside of the government, Wells Fargo has been the most active agriculture lender for over 19 years.

Can you talk about the role that Wells Fargo plays in catalysing capital as the sector undergoes digital transformation?

MS: At Wells Fargo, our thesis is that the food system is transforming, and we are seeing that every part of the value chain is being disrupted. As a firm, we understand the solution for our clients, the challenges and disruptions, and can identify the real risks that exist. The bank intersects all different parts of the farm and food chain- many of these farmers are already our customers, so when they are looking for financing to mechanize new technology, we are available at this point.

We also recognize the critical need for different investor classes to participate in financing innovation. Unless it’s a software play, venture capital may not be the right class of investment purely from the standpoint that companies should be unburdened with incessant funding. In order to reach the tremendous scale that is required of these companies as they move through incubation to large corporate companies, there is a diversity of capital that should play a role across the life cycle of these companies. Many companies shouldn’t be giving away equity and should instead be proving out their technologies with institutional grant dollars. So, Wells plays a central role because we cover these different class of investors like family offices, sovereign wealth funds, equity, etc., in order to better enable and support these companies.

KZ: The big picture is that food and ag is the last trillion-dollar industry to digitize and embrace innovation. When you look at agriculture, there are major risks involved including food scarcity and insecurity, trade risk, climate volatility, and the more risks there are, the more exciting it is for technology to play a role. In this process, we have to ask whether we are prepared, willing and able to bring capital to bear in the process of understanding if these new technologies will work or fail. As a bank, we are in the position to finance all sorts of innovation that need longer investment horizons and flexibility.

What are the key pain points facing the industry?

KZ: Our approach is to find out first where the pain point is and to be the conduit and financing mechanism for the technologies that are addressing them. Of critical importance in the industry is that there is no common operating system, which is a huge issue. On top of this, there is a lack of consistent rural broadband.

You have to take the complexity and burden off of the farmer as far as adoption goes. Technologists need to think about their models in this sense let farmers focus on their core businesses and don’t make them purchase it. Having them lease it is much more viable.

Labor is undoubtedly one of agriculture’s biggest challenges. If you run a greater demand than your production facility, even assuming no changes to US immigration policy or work permits for foreign workers, then adoption of robotics, automation and other advanced technologies will be key. So how do we do this? In a recent Wells Fargo-sponsored roundtable webinar, I had the pleasure of hosting three industry professionals with expertise in precision farming, robotics and satellite imagery to provide their insight. The group include Sebastien Boyer of FarmWise, Carl Vauseof Soft Robotics and Ron Hadarof Vibe Imaging Analytics.

Farmers have long been accustomed to spending money on seed technologies (genetics) and new formulations of crop protection chemicals as a means to generate additional yield. With diminishing returns from bioengineered seeds and the reduced efficacy of agrochemicals with increasing weed resistance, there is an industrial logic to committing a portion of ‘innovation investment capital’ to robotics and automation as the new products come to market.

As the value chain further consolidates and becomes more vertically integrated, there ought to be more top-down support for modernizing and automating processes through technology as a means to monitor and optimize processes, improve operational efficiency and more effectively manage and monitor risk.

Regarding food waste, I do not subscribe to the idea that we need to produce more, but that we need to be more efficient about our supply.

About Wells Fargo Clean Technology

The Wells Fargo Clean Tech team is comprised of banking professionals with deep cleantechindustry across a multitude of financial firms. The group oversees several cleantech-focused initiatives, including the Innovation Incubator, a $10 million environmental grant program for clean technology startupsand has put $4 billion in solar and wind project investments to work, $9 billion to support LEED-certified and other green buildings, as well as other loans and investments through its Clean Technology and Innovation Philanthropy Program.

THRIVE Partnerships: Integrated Blockchain Technology Between Turatti and Startup EZ-Lab

The Venetian group, leading manufacturer of food processing equipment and the Paduan startup, presented in the United States the first machinery using blockchain technology to certify the different processing steps to which each batch of products is subject.

(Venice, July 2018). A large group, world leader in the production of machinery for the agri-food sector, and a dynamic and award-winning startup: an alliance distinguished by Industry 4.0 technologies, grown between Veneto and Silicon Valley. Taking advantage of the combination of the two most important and prestigious events in the sector,the United Fresh Showin Chicago andtheForbes AgTech Summit in Salinas (the “Davos” of the agro-industry), the Turatti Groupfrom Cavarzere (Venice) and the Paduan startup Ez Lab presented the world’s first example of food processing machinery in compliance with the blockchain technology.

An absolute novelty that has stirred up much interest: the single machines and the process lines of Turatti are now able to record in real time, on a blockchain platform, different steps to which the product is subject.

 The data are then automatically encoded on an unmodifiable register and can be checked at any time: therefore a company that adopts Turatti’s machinery can offer a new guarantee in terms of food safety, because the blockchain technology allows to certify all the processing steps to which each individual lot has been submitted. A certification that can be shown as a guarantee and proof in case of complaints relating to product safety.

The decision to launch the product starting from the US market is not a coincidence. Both Turatti Group and Ez Lab are also “based” in the States: the Cavarzere Group, with its state-of-the-art Turatti North America plant, is locatedin Salinas where last year the Paduan startup took part in an acceleration program of five months promoted by Thrive, the world’s largest accelerator in agri-food. From this meeting a collaboration featured by the logic of open innovation was born.

“Food safety topics – explains Massimo Morbiato, founder Ez Lab–  are becoming central, consumers are rightly more and more concerned with this aspect, they ask for guarantees, they weigh their purchase choices. The application of blockchain technology to the Turatti process solutions can also be effectively integrated with AgriOpendata, our platform for traceability of the supply chain that allows consumers to know all the steps from the field to the supermarket shelf.

Innovation is in our group’s DNA – says Alessandro TurattiPresident and CEO of Turatti North America– from the development of the initial idea to the machine or to the final software. With one foot in the fields of Salinas (“the US salad bowl”) and the other one well planted in Silicon Valley, (the world’s innovation capital), we have revolutionized food processing once again. ”

WITH EZ LAB AND THROUGH THRIVE AGTECH PLATFORM, OF WHICH WE ARE PROVIDERS AND PARTNERS WITH YAMAHA, CISCO, WELLS FARGO, JUST TO MENTION SOME OF THE BEST KNOWN NAMES, WE HAVE CREATED A SOLUTION IN THE INTERESTS OF FOOD SAFETYEFFICIENCY AND THE ‘FARM TO FORK’ CHAIN.”

EZ Lab is an innovative startup founded in Padua in 2014 inside the university incubator Galileo Visionary District and it is specialized in the development of solutions based on the application of blockchain technology to the agri-food sector. In 2016, with the Agriopendata platform for traceability of agri-food products, it won the Lamarck Smau Milano 2016 award, in 2017 it was the only Italian startup selected by the Thrive incubator for an acceleration program in Salinas. The founder of EZ Lab is Massimo Morbiato, an IT entrepreneur with twenty years of experience in the sector, while Mauro Cordioli is entrusted with the R&D area. 

Turatti North America represents the Turatti Group in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The group’s divisions offer a full range of skills that allow food business operators to add quality, safety and value to their products. Turatti supplies standard machines and custom-made systems, designed and built with an eye on food safety and strong focus on performance and automation. Thanks to their vast experience, the Turatti Group is an innovative leader in the development of automated control systems for food processing, by means of internal solutions and strategic partnerships. Fully automated solutions and first-class industrial robots can be included in processing lines to maximize productivity. The Salinas (CA) office manages sales, services and spare parts for the group in North America.

Wilbur-Ellis Becomes Latest Partner to Join THRIVE

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 7, 2018SVG Partners announced today that Wilbur-Ellis Company has become the latest corporate partner to join its THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform. The partnership between SVG Partners and Wilbur-Ellis Company, a leader in precision agriculture technology and the marketing and distribution of plant protection, seed and nutritional products, is focused on accelerating and scaling emerging agriculture technology.

“THRIVE has been very successful in building a platform that attracts and catalyses emerging agriculture technology from around the globe,” said Wilbur-Ellis’ Corporate Vice President of Business Development Mike Wilbur. “Our objective is to invest in and infuse our distribution and agronomy capabilities into these companies, making them available to our customers looking to bring new technology into their daily operations.”

As one of the world’s premier leaders in agriculture marketing and supply distribution, Wilbur-Ellis is well-positioned to deliver new solutions at its agribusiness retail locations. “Using our presence – in over 160 branches, with 700 agronomists touching around 300 crops in the U.S. alone – we can quickly prove new, targeted technologies in order to maximize the efficiency and profit of our customers,” said Wilbur. “We are interested in fostering and accelerating this technology through our extensive testing and research facilities, as well as through our marketing and distribution capabilities.”

The SVG-THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform aims to create an interface between promising startups and corporate partners like Wilbur-Ellis to test new products in the field, across the supply chain and determine which technologies deliver a return on investment. “We are pleased to welcome Wilbur-Ellis to the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform,” said SVG Partners CEO and THRIVE founder John Hartnett. “Wilbur-Ellis has long been a leader in agriculture products and distribution and we look forward to leveraging their deep domain expertise and extensive reach to help new technologies get to market faster.”

 

About the Wilbur-Ellis Companies

Founded in 1921, the Wilbur-Ellis companies are leading international marketers and distributors of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. By developing strong relationships, making strategic market investments and capitalizing on new opportunities, the Wilbur-Ellis companies have continued to grow the business with sales now over $3 billion. Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness generates more than $2 billion in sales revenue annually and has over 160 branch locations throughout the U.S. www.wilburellis.com

About 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. THRIVE hosts a highly selective program for seed and growth stage AgTech and FoodTech startups, providing investment, top-tier mentorship, trials, and go to market support and in addition provides advisory and corporate open innovation services to the largest agriculture and technology companies. 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

Accelerating AgTech: In conversation with Innovation Leaders at DuPont Pioneer

Recently, Dupont Pioneer Unveiled Its Bay Area Innovation Center Tying Together Its Startup, Field R&D And Integrated Operations Across California. So The Thrive Team Spoke With Two Innovation Leaders At Dupont Pioneer, Barbara Mazur, Vice President Of Technology Acquisition Strategy And Gusui Wu, Technology And Innovation Lead, Bay Area Innovation Center- To Discuss The Company’S AgTech Innovation Strategy.

THRIVE: Given population projections and resource constraints, biotechnology has played a big part in agriculture R&D. Can you provide some examples of this at DuPont Pioneer?

BM: One of the major challenges facing agriculture is protecting plants from insects and pests, and we have seen that today’s GMO Bt traits do not lend themselves to durable resistance, so there is a continued need for new modes of insect control. Recently, we invested in Provivi (a THRIVE Top 50 company), which is using pheromone application not only to the technology’s historic target specialty crops, but also to row crops. We are also collaborating with the Israeli company Evogene to test microbial seed applied technologies through accelerated microbiome analysis, formulation and fermentation to improve corn productivity globally.

We also need to focus on generating public acceptance of gene editing (like CRISPR- Cas) as different from genetically modified engineering. This will require education and marketing that stresses that target plants don’t have genes of foreign origin and we are looking to do this by helping both support and create companies that develop a host of consumer-friendly, transparent crops. Ultimately, growing consumer awareness for this technology will be beneficial from an environmental perspective. The analogy I use is that today’s grapes are sprayed many times throughout their lifetime to combat pest and disease, resulting in huge amounts of pesticides released into the soil and ground water, whereas gene editing helps us to bypass pesticide application spray altogether. In this example and many others, we have to understand the fundamental trade-offs of new technology.

THRIVE: Tell us about DuPont Pioneer’s approach to external innovation. What kinds of external technologies does the company look for and are these technologies tested and integrated?

BM: At its core, what DuPont Pioneer brings to the market is fuelled by an openness to innovation, strong research and development and collaboration with partners and farmers around the world. To date, we have a very successful digital agriculture business which provides farmers with as much information as possible in a given place and time. Currently we are looking into satellite and drone imagery to build out our offering for growers.

A big part of what we do is review what exists in the market and what technologies are emerging which would enhance our core businesses- including trait discovery, plant breeding, enabling technologies, biologicals and digital solutions. From a practical point of view, DuPont Pioneer engages in an annual white paper process which looks at potential investments, alliance partners, technologies, and competitors which are strategic to us. Beyond that, we work together with our collaborators, including our startup partners, on designing joint proof of principles and generating enough solid data, through field trials and germ plasms, to prove that solutions perform to standards.

GS: DuPont Pioneer has invested a lot of time into understanding its own critical gaps and the areas of research and technology development today which might fill those gaps. This starts with reviews of the company’s functional groups and continues with further work by an external technology advisory board comprised of senior leaders in research, legal and business, all of whom review what external opportunities might make the most sense for the company.

DuPont is a market shaper of the agriculture industry, and this requires that we are at the front of AgTech development and investment. I recently relocated to California to lead DuPont Pioneer’s Bay Area Innovation Center, a strategic move to be closely connected with seed companies, growth companies and future acquisitions. I’d imagine that in the long run, the company’s portfolio would reflect technologies impacting core existing businesses, potential industry disruption, and those technologies that fit within the vision of the company’s overall strategy to transform from a product-oriented business to a solution-oriented business.

THRIVE: DuPont Pioneer recently joined the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform, how do you envision this partnership developing?

GS: What we saw was that THRIVE had a portfolio of different companies that is not focused on row crop technology companies, which makes it different from its peers. THRIVE as a platform enables us to participate in the innovation ecosystem in order to make investments beyond CVC and discover other models that will help us advance technology. Ultimately, this will enable us to broaden portfolio priorities beyond core business alignments to those technologies that are at the cutting edge.

Trimble Becomes Latest Partner to Join THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 12, 2018SVG Partners announced today that Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) has become the latest corporate partner to join the THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform. Trimble’s broad range of GPS, variable rate implement controls, wireless communications and analytics software is increasingly delivering new capabilities for agriculture. The new relationship between Trimble and SVG’s THRIVE platform signifies the continued commitment to advancing a safer and more sustainable agriculture supply chain and to providing innovative solutions to farmers and their production partners worldwide.

 

“THRIVE is identifying startups that are bringing new and different technology to agriculture,” said Darryl Matthews, Trimble senior vice president. “Our aim is to advance technology by ensuring that new products have a path to the farmer and by leveraging our global distribution network of dealers who can provide a real-time feedback loop on these new technologies.”

 

With integrated solutions from Trimble agriculture businesses such as AgriTrend and HarvestMark, Trimble is driving new capabilities to enable farmers, agronomists, processers, equipment manufacturers and ag retailers to collect, share and manage information across the agricultural value chain in order to gain efficiencies on the farm. “Enabling farmers to integrate information is key for their operations since they are often confronted with disparate hardware and software products,” said Matthews. “If we can facilitate the timely exchange of information between the farmer and a startup, we can to act as a conduit to help these startups create better products that simplify the farmer’s experience.”

 

The SVG-THRIVE AgTech platform aims to create an interface between promising startups and corporate partners like Trimble to test product fit within the ecosystem of farms and determine which technologies deliver a return on investment. “We are delighted to welcome Trimble to our THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform,” said SVG Partners and THRIVE founder John Hartnett.

 

“Trimble has been a leader in precision agriculture for more than 20 years. We have a deep understanding of the market and we look forward to further advancing innovation and technology by collaborating with external partners such as THRIVE,” said Matthews.

 

ABOUT TRIMBLE’S AGRICULTURE DIVISION

Trimble’s Agriculture Division provides solutions that solve complex technology challenges across the entire agricultural landscape. The solutions enable farmers and advisors to allocate scarce resources to produce a safe, reliable food supply in a profitable and environmentally sustainable manner. Covering all seasons, crops, terrains and farm sizes, Trimble solutions can be used on most equipment on the farm, regardless of manufacturer and production year. The acquisition of Müller-Elektronik, a German company specializing in implement control and precision farming solutions, extends Trimble’s precision agriculture capabilities from the vehicle to the implement. To enable better decision making, Trimble offers technology integration that allows farmers to collect, share, and manage information across their farm, while providing improved operating efficiencies in the agricultural value chain. Trimble solutions include guidance and steering, agronomy coaching, desktop and cloud-based data management, flow and application control, water management, harvest solutions and correction services. For more information on Trimble Agriculture, visit: www.trimble.com/agriculture.

 

ABOUT TRIMBLE

Trimble is transforming the way the world works by delivering products and services that connect the physical and digital worlds. Core technologies in positioning, modeling, connectivity and data analytics enable customers to improve productivity, quality, safety and sustainability. From purpose-built products to enterprise lifecycle solutions, Trimble software, hardware and services are transforming a broad range of industries such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation and logistics. For more information about Trimble, visit:  www.trimble.com.

 

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 a highly selective program for seed and growth stage AgTech and FoodTech startups, providing investment, top-tier mentorship, trials, and go to market support. The THRIVE Program 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

SVG Partners and Land O’Lakes, Inc. Extend AgTech Innovation Relationship for Next Three Years

SAN FRANCISCO (November 13, 2017) – SVG Partners announced today that one of the leading agriculture cooperatives, Land O’Lakes, Inc., has renewed its commitment to the THRIVE AgTech Venture and Innovation Platform for the next three years. In 2016 and 2017, Land O’Lakes brought its knowledge and experience as a judge and mentor to THRIVE, a highly selective investment program accelerating technology-enabled agricultural startups in the U.S. and globally. To date, Land O’Lakes distributes over 30 AgTech solutions through its Winfield United AnswerTech™ platform and with the help of SVG Partners’ and the THRIVE Accelerator, works to identify the next generation of breakthrough companies.

“Through our relationship with THRIVE we help guide innovative startups toward solving problems farmers have in the real world. On our WinField United Answer Plot® locations, we are able to test their ideas to determine which solutions are the most effective and efficient in the hands of our most innovative retailers and grower members,” said Mike Macrie, CIO of Land O’Lakes. At the same time, “[THRIVE] helps us to see technologies in the field much faster than if we were to wait for their own evolution.”

In 2017, SVG Partners invested in 10 seed stage startups with technologies spanning biotechnology, sensors, robotics & automation, cloud services & SaaS and representing five different geographies around the globe. Starting in the spring, the 10 companies participated in a 10-week program, receiving high-level mentorship, investment, and business coaching, demoing their products before partners, investors, and media at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA.

Earlier in the year, Macrie keynoted THRIVE’s AgTech Innovation Forum, which brought together leading corporations, AgTech startups, universities, and growers to showcase growth stage companies making the most impact in the industry.

“Having the continued support of an industry leader like Land O’Lakes will provide the insight and access into agriculture that will help us drive meaningful innovations in food and agriculture,” said John Hartnett, Founder and CEO of SVG Partners.

Today, THRIVE will host its first-ever Growers Technology Roundtable, bringing together progressive growers of all sizes and purviews to discuss challenges, as well as showcase a spectrum of startup and enterprise technologies intended for their pain points. The event marks the first in a series of initiatives for the new THRIVE Growers Network, a program intended to build understanding about growers’ unique problems and link them to the innovation ecosystem. In February, THRIVE will host its second AgTech Innovation forum, followed in March by the kick off of its fourth seed accelerator cohort.

“We look forward to expanding THRIVE to new regions, new crops, new partners, and eventually to new countries,” said Mike Macrie, CIO of Land O’Lakes, “no other accelerator is focused on the needs of the farmer and is better positioned to help Land O’Lakes achieve its goals of feeding the planet in the most sustainable way possible.”

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

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 a highly selective program for seed and growth stage AgTech and FoodTech startups, providing investment, top-tier mentorship, trials, and go to market support. The THRIVE Program was launched in 2014 by Silicon Valley Global Partners (SVG Partners), an investment, technology and advisory firm based in Silicon Valley, CA. www.svgpartners.com www.thriveagtech.com

Turatti North America Becomes Newest Partner of THRIVE

Turatti joins the THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation Platform to Advance Automation and Innovation in Food Processing

Media Contact: Emily Breslin, SVG Partners, Emily.Breslin@svgpartners.com

PALO ALTO, Calif., JULY 26, 2017 — SVG Partners announced today that the worldwide leader in food processing technology, Turatti North America, has joined the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform ecosystem to bring innovative food processing and automation technologies to market. With a state-of-the-art facility in Salinas, California, Turatti North America will work closely with Silicon Valley based- SVG Partners to identify, invest in and deliver innovative products and processes to its food processing customers and the industry as a whole.

At its manufacturing headquarters in Salinas, California, Turatti North America manages the sales, services, and support for its U.S., Canadian, and Mexican customers. Also located at its Salina’s facility, Turatti’s Automation and Robotics division is focused on helping food processors overcome the challenges they face in meeting the ever-increasing demand for consistency and quality. Regarding this commitment, President and CEO of Turatti North America, Dr. Alessandro Turatti, said “we want to move from a position of reacting to changes, to anticipating the signals coming from our customers and having an eye on the right, proven solutions. This requires us to be plugged into platforms like THRIVE and to connect with entrepreneurs that come through the THRIVE program every year.”

The THRIVE AgTech Venture & Innovation platform brings corporate partners across sectors together to steer and support technology companies focused on more sustainable, high efficiency, and safe food production in the future. With the help of its partners and startups, THRIVE’s mission is to increase the efficiency of food production while simultaneously cutting the environmental degradation and food safety hazards associated with it.

“We are thrilled to have Turatti North America join the THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform and bring their expertise and insight around food processing to our partners and startups,” said John Hartnett, founder and CEO of SVG Partners and THRIVE.

Founder John Hartnett announced THRIVE’s partnership with Turatti North America during the annual Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, California earlier this month.

 

ABOUT TURATTI NORTH AMERICA

Turatti Group is a worldwide leader in food-processing technology and providing automated solutions. Established in 1869, the group has been owned for five generations by the Turatti family, conducting all operations with a commitment to innovation, social responsibility, and providing cutting-edge food-processing solutions.

For over seven decades the group has been operating in North America, being the proud supplier of some of the major US and Canadian food processors. A 20,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility in Salinas, CA hosts the headquarters and manufacturing plants of Turatti North America. Its operations manage the sales, services, support, and spare parts for the group, and represent other high-class solutions providers on robotics and automation for the US, Canadian, and Mexican markets. http://www.turatti-na.com/

 ABOUT SVG PARTNERS

SVG Partners is an investment, technology and advisory firm that partners with organizations on strategy, innovation and global expansion. SVG’s experienced team of senior technology leaders and venture capital investors have worked with global corporations and scaling companies to drive competitive advantage from strategy to implementation. Through its accelerator and open Innovation programs, engineering and development services, and executive strategy and advisory, SVG Partners helps build and scale innovative technology companies worldwide. SVG Partners is based in Silicon Valley, CA.  www.svgpartners.com  

ABOUT THRIVE AGTECH

THRIVE AgTech’s is a vibrant AgTech ecosystem with the mission to connect the expertise of tech companies, to on-the-ground knowledge of agricultural companies, the financial backing of investors, and the entrepreneurs solving problems in the agriculture sector. THRIVE unites these communities in order to drive the development and adoption of sustainable technology enhancements necessary for securing the global food demands of the future. The THRIVE program targets two stages of companies, the very early to commercially ready. Early stage companies accepted into the program go through a rigorous bootcamp and receive mentorship from industry leaders to help them scale their companies. THRIVE’s Open Innovation program directly connects corporate partners with high growth startups to trial and deploy cutting edge technologies.