SALINAS, Calif. – Taylor Farms, North America’s largest producer of salads and healthy fresh foods, participated in the annual THRIVE Demo Day that took place at the CSUMB Salinas City Center on Wednesday, June 28th. The THRIVE Demo Day is the capstone event for the THRIVE 8-week startup accelerator, which featured 10 entrepreneurs who pitched their agriculture technologies to potential investors, business leaders, and media. Taylor Farms Chairman and CEO, Bruce Taylor was a keynote speaker during the invitation only event, speaking to the continued importance of real time collaboration between technology and farming companies.
“Commitment, collaboration and partnership are the three key things necessary to be innovative”, said Bruce Taylor of Taylor Farms during his keynote.
The 10 high-potential startups participating in Demo Day were chosen from hundreds of startups who applied during THRIVE’s open call in December of last year. During the THRIVE 8-week program leading up to Demo Day, the ten companies received startup funding, one-on-one mentorship with agriculture and technology executives, and office space at the Western Growers Innovation Center in Salinas, California. Technologies in this year’s cohort indicate the massive shifts experienced in the agriculture sector today, covering trends like cloud/SaaS, automated farming, soil and crop biotechnology, and food safety and traceability.
Three finalists were chosen to receive special recognition during the Forbes AgTech Summit on Wednesday afternoon, with one winner for each category:
- Innovation – Tortuga Agricultural Technologies from Denver, Colorado is an automated greenhouse production system improves freshness, shortens the supply chain, and enables better genetics, while reducing chemical and water use. Tortuga AgTech integrates labor-reducing robotics and automation, advanced sensing technologies, computational imaging, and a soilless grow system to grow specialty crops in geographically distributed locations, dramatically reducing shipping times and distances, minimizing wastage, and eliminating methyl bromide and other chemicals from the grow-process.
- Sustainability – MicroGen Biotech from Carlow, Ireland applies constructed functional microbiome technology to increase crop yield and health while protecting food safety by remediating pollutants and improving soil fertility. Microgen has developed a fast and efficient technology which allows identification of functional microbes in 4 months, as compared to years.
Operational Excellence – AgroSmart from Campinas, Brazil connects farmers to a management system that monitors irrigation and other farming decisions with sensors, satellite imaging and weather forecast. Agrosmart improves productivity and optimize the use of resources in agriculture in Brazil, where irrigation consumes almost 70% of the country’s fresh water, 50 percent of which is wasted due to lack of knowledge and insight.
The awards were based on four different criteria, including; mentor feedback, due diligence, accelerator engagement and quality of pitches on THRIVE Demo Day.
Taylor Farms executive participation this year included:
- Bruce Taylor, Chairman and CEO, delivered a keynote at the event.
- Tom Bryan, CFO, was a THRIVE program mentor, provided his council and expertise to AgTech startup UAV-IQ throughout the eight-week competition.
- Ted Taylor, Head of New Ventures and Business, participated as a Demo Day judge.
The THRIVE III startup finalists:
- Arable from Princeton, New Jersey
- AgroSmart from Campinas, Brazil
- AgShift from Santa Clara, California
- EZ-Lab from Podavo, Italy
- Farm Dog from Tel Aviv, Israel
- Farmwise, from San Francisco, California
- MicroGen Biotech from Carlow, Ireland
- Tortuga Agricultural Technologies from Denver, Colorado
- UAV-IQ from Los Angeles, California
- 3Bar Biologics from Columbus, Ohio
Since graduating from the program, many of the companies from THRIVE’s previous two cohorts have gone on to raise additional capital, become profitable, and deployed product with growers in Salinas, Ca and nationally. In addition, THRIVE’s international alumni have gone on to open offices in the United States.
For more information about the THRIVE Accelerator or to attend Demo Day, please contact Emily.Breslin@SVGPartners.com
THRIVE AgTech’s mission is 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 AgTech space. 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 boot camp 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 focused on agriculture.
ABOUT TAYLOR FARMS
Taylor Farms is North America's favorite maker of salads and healthy fresh foods. Taylor Farms focuses on innovation by consistently developing new products and improving production methods. Taylor Farms is grounded in a commitment to quality with products harvested, packaged and shipped at the peak of freshness. Taylor Farms is family owned and based in Salinas, California with twelve operating companies and distribution facilities throughout North America. www.taylorfarms.com
Source: Taylor Farms