Thank You For Attending the Annual THRIVE Innovation Summit

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about the event


The THRIVE Innovation Summit is held annually in Silicon Valley and each year attracts 250+ agribusiness leaders, investors, agtech and foodtech startups, and California and Midwest growers. The summit is a unique opportunity to meet and hear from our THRIVE Top 50, fifty companies shaping the future of the agriculture supply chain as well as leaders of Fortune 500 food and  agriculture corporations implementing these disruptive technologies.

The Innovation Summit will include an Innovation Showcase featuring THRIVE Top 50 startups, THRIVE Accelerator companies and alumni as well as panels and fireside chats covering topics such as blockchain, indoor/vertical farming, biotechnology and automated agriculture.

keynote speaker

Beth Ford, CEO, Land O’Lakes

Beth Ford is the 9th President and Chief Executive Officer at Land O’Lakes, Inc., a role she was named to July 26, 2018. Ford was named President and CEO by Land O’Lakes board of directors after a series of successful executive postings within the company since she joined in 2011.

Most recently, as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Land O’Lakes Businesses. Beth was respondible for the Purina Animal Nutrition, U.S. Dairy Foods and WinField United businesses, wich reported 2017 net sales totaling $14 billion.


Get the detailed agenda of our event

8:00 am    Registration & Networking

8:30 am    Welcome
John Ottoboni, COO and Senior Legal Council, Santa Clara University
Guest of Honor: Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor

8:45 am    Opening & Introduction | John Hartnett, SVG Ventures-THRIVE

9:00 am    THRIVE Top 50 Overview | Mareese Keane, Platform Director, SVG Ventures-THRIVE

9:10 am    Keynote:  “An Exciting Time in Agriculture” | Beth Ford, CEO, Land O’Lakes

9:30 am    Fireside Chat |  Beth Ford in conversation with Rob Dongoski, Ag Business Lead, EY

9:50 am    Speed Talk:  China Agriculture Focus and the Vision for Nanjing Innovation Zone
Wang Liwen, Deputy Director-General of the Administrative Committee of Nanjing State-Level Agricultural Innovation Park

10:00 am    Panel:  AgTech Investing and Key Tech Trends
Arama Kukutai, Managing Partner, Finistere Ventures
Laurie Menoud, Investment Manager, BASF
Greg Young, Managing Partner, Spruce Capital Partners
Moderator:  Adam Bergman, SVP, Head of AgTech Practice, Wells Fargo

10:30 am    Networking break in the THRIVE Innovation Showcase, Mayer Theater

11:00 am    THRIVE Top 50 Technology Presentations

Pivot Bio, KarstenTemme, CEO

TaranasAg, Ayal Karmi, COO

Solinftec, Britaldo Hernandez, CEO with Renato Hersz, Director

11:30 am    Panel:  Digital Transformation: New Age AgTech
Darryl Matthews, Sector Vice President, Natural Resources, Trimble
Claudia Rössler, Director, Industry Solutions, Chemical & Agriculture, Microsoft
Teddy Bekele, CTO, Land O’Lakes
Moderator:   Minsoo Pak, Principal, EY

12:00 pm    Fireside Chat:  The Forbes THRIVE Partnership and Mid-West Expansion Plans
John Hartnett, CEO, SVG THRIVE in conversation with, Sherry Phillips, Forbes and Beth Bechdol, CEO, Agrinovus

12:15 pm    Lunch Break

1:15 pm    Panel : Delivering a Better Food System to the Consumer Today & Tomorrow
Neal Gutterson, CTO, Corteva Agrisciences
Poornima Parameswaran, Co-Founder, Traces Genomics
Moderator:  Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, PMA

1:45 pm    Speed talk:  IoT Meets AgTech
Maciej Kranz, VP/GM Corporate Strategic Innovation, Cisco

1:55 pm    THRIVE Top 50 Technology Presentations

Benson Hill Biosystems, Todd Mockler, CTO

Cropin Technology Solutions, Kunal Prasad, Co-Founder & COO

Aerofarms, David Rosenberg, CEO

2:25 pm    Speed talk: International AgTechPerspective + Q&A
Laurent Martel, Director General, InVIVO
JohnHartnett, CEO, SVGVentures-THRIVE

2:40 pm    Panel: Blockchain: A New Paradigm for Delivering Food Traceability
Ryan Barr, Director, E&J Gallo, Senior Director – Information Technology
Peter Jorgensen, Venture Partner, Maersk Growth
Deborah Magid Director, Software Strategy, IBM Ventures
Moderator:   Mareese Keane, THRIVE Platform Director SVG THRIVE

3:10 pm    Networking Break in the THRIVE Innovation Showcase, Mayer Theater

3:30 pm    Afternoon Keynote and Q&A “Tech Impact 2030” (presented at World Economic Forum)
Kirk Bresniker, Hewlett Packard Labs Chief Architect, HPE
Q&A moderated by Chris Kitts, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Santa Clara University

3:50 pm    Panel: Innovation and the Future of Livestock
Bill Even, CEO, National Pork Board
Scott Holmstrom, Senior Director, Global Product Development, Elanco
Joe Weber, EVP Growth and Business Development, Smithfield
Moderator:  Aidan Connolly, CEO, Cainthus

4:20 pm    Fireside chat: AI for Agriculture, Prospera and Valmont Partnership
Daniel Koppel, CEO, Prospera
Steve Kaniewski, CEO, Valmont

4:35 pm    Panel:  Breaking Through the Data Deficit in AI
Manish Kothari, President, SRI
Michael Christensen, Director, Technical Services R&D, Driscoll’s Berries
Moderator:   Walt Duflock, Managing Partner, SVG THRIVE

5:05 pm  Closing Remarks | John Hartnett, SVG Ventures-THRIVE  

5:10 pm   Networking Reception in the THRIVE Innovation Showcase, Dowd Art & Art History Building


  • Greg Young
  • John Ottoboni
    John Ottoboni COO and Senior Legal Council, Santa Clara University
  • Jonathan Hua
    Jonathan Hua Accelerator Manager
  • Rob Dongoski
    Rob Dongoski Partner, Global Agribusiness Leader, EY
  • Darryl Matthews
    Darryl Matthews Sector Vice President, Natural Resources, Trimble
  • Adam Bergman
    Adam Bergman Senior Vice President, CleanTech Banking & Head of AgTech Practice, Wells Fargo
  • Karsten Temme
    Karsten Temme CEO, Pivot Bio
  • Minsoo Pak
    Minsoo Pak Principal, EY
  • Manish Kothari
    Manish Kothari President, SRI Ventures
  • Aidan Connolly
    Aidan Connolly President, Alltech/ AgriTech Capital
  • John Hartnett
    John Hartnett CEO, Founder, THRIVE, SVG Partners
  • David Rosenberg
    David Rosenberg CEO, Aerofarms
  • Steve Kaniewski
    Steve Kaniewski CEO, Valmont
  • Daniel Koppel
    Daniel Koppel CEO, Prospera
  • Claudia Rössler
    Claudia Rössler Director Industry Solutions, Strategic Business Development, Chemical & Agriculture, Microsoft
  • Kunal Prasad
    Kunal Prasad Co-Founder & COO, Cropin Technology Solutions
  • Ayal Karmi
    Ayal Karmi COO, Taranis Ag
  • Teddy Bekele
    Teddy Bekele VP AG Technology, Winfield, Land O’Lakes
  • Lisa Gillmor
    Lisa Gillmor Mayor, City of Santa Clara
  • Laurent Martel
    Laurent Martel Director General, InVivo
  • Beth Bechdol
    Beth Bechdol CEO, Agrinovus
  • Maciej Kranz
    Maciej Kranz VP/GM Corporate Strategic Innovation, Cisco
  • Poornima Parameswaran
    Poornima Parameswaran Ph.D, CO-Founder, Trace Genomics
  • Michael Chrisenten
    Michael Chrisenten Director of Global R&D Technical Services - Driscoll’s
  • Bill Even
    Bill Even Chief Executive Officer, National Pork Board
  • Joe Weber
    Joe Weber EVP Growth and Business Development, Smithlfield
  • Ryan Barr
    Ryan Barr Sr. Director - Information Technology, E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Wang Liwen
    Wang Liwen Deputy Director-General of the Administrative Committee of Nanjing state-level Agricultural Innovation Park
  • Sherry Phillps
    Sherry Phillps SVP, Forbes Live
  • Britaldo Hernandez
    Britaldo Hernandez CEO, Solinftec
  • Deborah Magid
    Deborah Magid Director, Software Strategy, IBM Ventures
  • Laurie Menoud
    Laurie Menoud Investment Manager, BASF Venture Capital America Inc.
  • Scott Holmstrom
    Scott Holmstrom Senior Director, Global Product Development, Elanco
  • Mareese Keane
    Mareese Keane Platform Director, THRIVE
  • Chris Kitts
    Chris Kitts Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Santa Clara University
  • Walt Duflock
    Walt Duflock Managing Partner, SVG Partners, THRIVE
  • Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen
    Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen Venture Partner, Maersk Growth
  • Arama Kukutai
    Arama Kukutai Managing Partner, Finistere Ventures
  • Vonnie Estes
    Vonnie Estes Vice President of Technology, Produce Marketing Association
  • Kirk Bresniker
    Kirk Bresniker Hewlett Packard Labs Chief Architect, HPE
  • Neal Gutterson
    Neal Gutterson CTO, Corteva Argiscience
  • Renato Hersz
    Renato Hersz Director, Solinftec
  • Todd Mockler
    Todd Mockler CTO, Benson Hill Biosystems

join thrives executive network

2018 innovation summit by the numbers





8:00 am – 6:30 pm