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Agtech innovators. WGCIT stories.

  • Santa Cruz Tech Beat

What Our Innovators are Reading Right Now

Posted on April 05, 2018 15:49 PM by elyons

What our Innovators are Reading Right Now:


Robots Are Trying To Pick Strawberries. So Far, They're Not Very Good At It

Robots have taken over many of America's factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong. But can they pick a strawberry? …

Any 4-year old can pick a strawberry, but machines, for all their artificial intelligence, can't seem to figure it out. Pitzer says the hardest thing for them is just finding the fruit. The berries hide behind leaves in unpredictable places.



Drones, tractors and robots: Salinas Valley addresses evolving industry at Ag Tech Summit




Cristian Ponce, The Californian

March 29, 2018 — Salinas, CA

(Photo above: A scene from the 5th Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit at Hartnell College. Credit: Amy Wu)

Hundreds gathered to learn about drone use in farming, the latest innovations in tractor technology, the proposed California Farm Bill and more during the fifth annual Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit Wednesday at Hartnell College.



EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: Monsanto Growth Ventures Backs CRISPR Startup Pairwise in $25m Series A




Pairwise Plants has raised a $25 million Series A round co-led by Monsanto Growth Ventures and healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management.

Pairwise is a gene-editing company that has licensed programmable base editing technology from Harvard University, which will leverage various CRISPR-based technologies to create new crop varieties with favorable traits. The startup was founded in-house by Monsanto Growth Ventures and some of the foremost scientists behind the fundamentals of gene-editing. 



Register Now for PMA Tech Knowledge  MAY 02-03, 2018

Technology for the now — technology you can understand, from the source you can trust. At PMA's Tech Knowledge Symposium, learn about groundbreaking technologies leading companies in the industry are deploying today with real-world results. Connect with tech partners and gain trusted information about tools that can manage labor, speed workflow and eliminate redundancies.  



BREAKING: Nestlé Backs New European AgriFood Tech VC Five Seasons Ventures, Launching with €60m Fund




Five Seasons Ventures, a new European VC focusing on agrifood tech investments has launched its first fund, announcing a first close on €60 million ($74.3m). Backers include Nestlé, the European Investment Fund, Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, Bpifrance, and selected family offices and entrepreneurs.

“Food and agtech is a new story and an exciting one. There are not many LPs who have heard of a fund focused on food and agtech,” said cofounder Niccolo Manzoni, who told AgFunderNews that the firm is targetting €70 million ($86.6m) for a final close after receiving more enthusiasm than expected from investors, causing the firm to raise their target from €50 million.




Western Growers’ AgTech Incubator Finds Solutions to Feed America’s Growing Population




By Stephanie Thara Metzinger
Western Growers
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat

March 13, 2018 — Salinas, CA

The Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) serves as a hub for the accelerated development and rapid deployment of innovative solutions to help farmers feed more people with fewer resources.

Tucked away in the heart of Salinas, just a stone’s throw away from Santa Cruz and the Silicon Valley, lies the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, a tech incubator where more than 50 start-up companies are inventing software, robotics and other innovative technologies to solve agriculture’s biggest challenges.