From a Western Growers news release
Western Growers (WG) and S2G Ventures are now accepting applications for the 2021 AgSharks Competition, a unique event where start-up companies pitch their innovations in front of a live audience of the world’s largest specialty crop producers to win a $250,000 minimum investment. Impact-driven entrepreneurs and startups developing systems and technologies that promote a more healthy and sustainable food and agriculture system can apply for the AgSharks Competition at 2021agsharks.splashthat.com. Applications close on Monday, October 11, 2021.
“Our AgSharks Competition is an exciting and impactful event that has already yielded bottom-line benefits for our members,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. “While there is much more we are doing to speed innovative technologies to our industry, AgSharks creates a special opportunity for agtech entrepreneurs to win the hearts and minds of growers on a very high profile stage. We’re looking forward to this year’s competition.”
Five startups will be selected to pitch their inventions to a panel of growers, shippers, processors and venture capitalists in front of more than 300 fresh produce farmers and industry leaders during the WG Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, on November 9, 2021. In addition to investment capital, the winner(s) will receive international recognition, mentoring from S2G and WG, potential access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies and access to WG’s expansive network of leading fresh produce companies.
“AgSharks leads as the only pitch competition that offers agtech startups an audience with the biggest agricultural companies across the globe,” said Audre Kapacinskas, Vice President at S2G Ventures. “The combination of exclusive access to hundreds of industry leaders plus investment capital to fuel growth are two elements that are crucial for a startup’s success in this industry.”
AgSharks was first held in 2017, and through the competition, three early-stage companies have earned seed money to elevate their businesses to the next level. In fact, past winners Hazel Technologies and Burro, formerly known as Augean Robotics, have since brought their products from development to market. Hazel Technologies recently closed a Series C financing round and is now advancing the industry with sachets that extend the shelf life of fresh produce by as much as three times. Burro is helping solve farmers’ labor woes with the expansion of its fleet of autonomous robots to farms across the west.