SVG Ventures | THRIVE and Bayer Announce their Sustainability Challenge Winners
SVG Ventures | THRIVE and Bayer Announce their Sustainability Challenge Winners

Winners chosen from a global pool of almost 300 applicants from across 57 countries

Silicon Valley, CA, U.S. / Monheim, Germany, September 9, 2021 – Today, SVG Ventures | THRIVE and Bayer announced the winners of their 2021 Sustainability Challenge.

The Sustainable Startup Award was presented to Haystack, a US-based company that enables carbon market scalability by helping farmers and carbon markets quantify carbon accurately and cost-effectively. Haystack will receive a prize package that includes investment from SVG Ventures and a place in THRIVE’s award-winning Accelerator Program, in addition to access to Bayer’s investment and R&D teams.

MagGrow is the winner of the Sustainable Scaleup Award. MagGrow’s technology helps farmers significantly reduce waste and drift linked to conventional crop spraying, delivering optimal plant protection using permanent rare earth magnets. As a winner, MagGrow will have the opportunity to explore a proof-of-concept pilot project with Bayer, receive automatic nomination for THRIVE’s TOP 50 listing, and gain access to Bayer resources and THRIVE’s ecosystem.

The Agtech community also cast its votes for its favorite startup and recognized AgroCognitive as the People’s Choice Award winner. AgroCognitive is an automated and affordable precision agriculture platform that gives insights to farmers.

Bayer and SVG Ventures | THRIVE partnered to explore the vast agricultural innovation ecosystem for the ideas needed to realize a step change in the sustainability of agriculture. The focus areas for the Challenge centered around three ambitious commitments set by Bayer for 2030 – reducing on-field greenhouse gas emissions produced by key crops in major ag markets by 30 percent; reducing the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent; and empowering 100 million smallholder farmers with access to agronomic knowledge.

Ten finalists, including six startups and four scaleups, were selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants across 57 countries—two from Australia and one each from Argentina, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, UK, and the US. Each finalist pitched to an expert judging panel featuring representatives from Bayer’s Crop Science division, Leaps by Bayer investment group, Yamaha Motor Ventures, and Cargill. The finalist companies were Autonomous Pivot, AgroCognitive, ClearLeaf, Dronebee, Goanna Ag, Haystack, MagGrow, PONCE, Thinkbio, and Vatorex.

“Initiatives such as the THRIVE Challenge demonstrate the entire industry’s commitment to shaping a sustainable future for agriculture, and collaboration is key to making this future a reality and unlocking new possibilities for more productive and efficient farming,” said Bob Reiter, Head of Research and Development at the Crop Science division of Bayer. “We are honored to acknowledge and celebrate this year’s winners and look forward to seeing how these innovative minds bring their ideas to life.”

“Climate change is one of the biggest crises currently facing humanity, and we all have a responsibility to play our part in making our global food systems more sustainable,” said John Hartnett, Founder and CEO of SVG Ventures | THRIVE. “We’re delighted to partner with Bayer on this challenge to accelerate sustainable agriculture innovation across the entire value chain.”


About Bayer

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2020, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 41.4 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 4.9 billion euros. For more information, go to


About SVG Ventures | THRIVE

SVG Ventures | THRIVE is the leading global Agrifood investment and innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley, and comprised of top agriculture, food & technology corporations, universities, and investors. With a community of over 5,000 startups from 100 countries, the THRIVE platform invests, accelerates, and creates unparalleled access for entrepreneurs to scale globally to solve the biggest challenges facing the food and agriculture industries. SVG’s existing global partners include Media Partner Forbes and leading government, agriculture, and technology corporations such as Corteva, Driscoll’s, FCC, CED, Gallo, Bayer, Kubota, Land O’Lakes, ICL, UFA, CSIRO, BayWa, Trimble, Taylor Farms, Valmont, Yamaha Motor Ventures, Wilbur-Ellis & Victoria Government. Crunchbase recognizes SVG Ventures as the most active AgTech investor with a portfolio count of over 50 investments in the sector. Learn more at


Media Contacts:

Charla Lord

Senior Communications Manager, Bayer, Crop Science Division


Alexander Hennig

Media Relations / Spokesperson, Bayer, Crop Science Division


Jessica Pham

Marketing & Events Manager, SVG Ventures | THRIVE


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