WG 2.0
The WGCIT Agtech Blog

Agtech innovators. WGCIT stories.

  • THRIVE 2018

What Our Innovators are Reading Right Now

Posted on May 23, 2018 13:34 PM by elyons

These common mistakes make tech startups less fundable, according to a VC

Throughout my nearly three-decade career in the venture capital industry, I’ve had the privilege of meeting innovative teams and looking at next-generation products on a daily basis — especially in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, and virtual reality.

Today’s tech startup landscape is vibrant and exciting, but it’s also important to underscore that it’s a crowded landscape with many contenders vying for VC attention and funding. There are some basic components any VC will look for before investing, including the founding team, the market opportunity, and the technology involved. In addition, a strong business model, a track record of success, and the ability to illustrate your thoughts on a product’s fit into the market are crucial. Beyond the basics, I’ve consistently seen common mistakes that often steer me and other VCs away from investing in a tech startup.


Technology sponsor named for 2018 Organic Grower Summit

The Organic Grower Summit (OGS) has announced Western Growers will again serve as the Ag Technology sponsor for this year’s event. As the Ag Technology sponsor, Western Growers will help coordinate the attendance of technology companies as exhibitors, and help facilitate elements of the technology area at the event.


Indigo Ag CEO to headline next month's AgTech Nexus USA in Boston

BOSTON, May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The fourth annual AgTech Nexus USA (formerly called GAI AgTech Week) here at the Harvard Club, June 6-7, will feature David Perry, CEO and president of agtech start-up Indigo Ag, the top funded agtech start-up of all time, as the keynote speaker.


Pushing Into AgTech for Future of Trade

Taking overseas air freight from a vision to a reality in the Orana region is just one of the suggestions made by Bernard Salt ahead of his visit to Dubbo next week. As the keynote speaker for the inaugural Orana@Work Employer Summit hosted by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana, Mr Salt is a futurist well-known for his ability to use demographics and social data to predict trends in business and society.

As part of the summit, he will discuss ‘Building and Connecting Stronger Regions’ and ‘Managing Generational Change’.

In this region, he says that taking advantage of agriculture as a major industry and transferring into the global economy is the future.


Disruption on the farm: See our exclusive, agtech conversation here (Video)

For the last 15 years, only two people have served as California's agriculture secretary. And on Tuesday, they took part in a special Business Journal conversation focused on the growing role of agtech in farming.


Agtech: How robotics could dig farmers out of Brexit hole

Malek Murison looks at the challenges facing the UK’s agriculture sector, post Brexit, and hears why two robotics and automation experts see the lie of the land as a technology opportunity.

With Brexit looming and no clarity about what form the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe will take, local agriculture is facing uncertain times.


What is the Dirty Dozen?

Every year, the USDA does a pesticide ‘audit’ on U.S. produce, milk, and eggs. In response to USDA’s Pesticide Data Program report, the Environmental Working Group re-interprets the USDA data and maligns healthy produce. They identify the top fruits and vegetables that contained the highest amount of pesticide residue. This is otherwise known as their “dirty dozen.” On the list are some of consumer’s favorite and healthiest foods: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and bell peppers.


WG luncheon has ag tech, future of ag on the menu

The high-tech ag revolution on produce farms is on the menu at a luncheon sponsored by Western Growers and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The two-hour May 22 event, “The Power of AgTech: Disruption on the Farm” luncheon, is at the Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center in Morgan Hill, Calif.

Speakers at the event are Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary; former California Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura, who is owner of Orange County Produce and a WG board member, and Dennis Donohue, former mayor of Salinas, Calif., who leads the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology.


Brazilian Ag Marketplace Raises $630k Seed Round from Monsanto Growth Ventures and Others

Grão Direto, a digital commodities trading platform based in Brazil, has raised R$ 2.3 million ($633k) in seed funding from Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), Canary, and OpenVC. Grão Direto plans to use the funds to expand its operations across Brazil, further develop its products and services, and partner with other tech companies and financial institutions to further digitize the grain chain.

The deal represents the first direct investment in Brazil for MGV, which has invested out of third-party funds until now. It’s also the latest deal for one of a growing number of agribusiness marketplace startups globally as the trend to take input purchasing and crop marketing online takes hold.

“Farmers, already so used to technology in their daily routine on the farm, can now also take advantage of the benefits of technology for their sales. We have made negotiation process easier between farmers and the buyers, bringing much more information and integration to support both sides,” explains Alexandre Borges, CEO of Grão Direto in a press release from Monsanto.


Soil Microbes in the Spotlight

As we have discussed on D2D, farmers face numerous growing challenges that include pest and disease threats as well as regulatory pressure to use less water and less fertilizer. But sometimes these big ag challenges can hit closer to home! Since the spring temperatures are here to stay, we want to make sure your lawn and home garden are flourishing! Are microbes the answer?

Microbes have been around a long time, in fact, we live in their world!  Microbes grow and reproduce in and on your body, in soil and on rocks, within plant roots and on their leaves, in wetlands, oceans and fresh waterways, and even in space!


Power Tools: Small Businesses Share What Features Worked Best For Them

No one knows the small business struggle quite like those who are living and breathing it every day. In honor of Small Business Week, we wanted to share more stories from the companies featured in our What’s in Store newsletter. We figured some of the biggest learnings come from real-life examples.