Western Growers and S2G Ventures have announced the three finalists that will compete in the 2023 AgSharks Pitch Competition.
AgSharks is a unique event where startup companies pitch their innovations to a live audience of the world’s largest specialty crop producers to win a $250,000 minimum investment.
The finalists are:
- Climate Robotics, a developer of mobile biochar production systems for commercial agriculture. Biochar is a carbon-negative soil amendment made from waste biomass that helps reverse global climate change. When biochar is applied to agricultural soils, it boosts crop yield, water retention and nutrient retention. Globally, biochar production has the potential to durably sequester up to two billion tons of atmospheric CO2 in agricultural soils every year, while generating valuable carbon removal credits. Climate Robotics’ trailer-mounted systems allows for low-cost, distributed production of high value biochar directly on the farm.
- Cultiva, a global leader in plant cuticle health technology. Its branded products — Parka and Kallur — help growers of specialty crops protect their yield from increasing environmental stresses, including those associated with extreme temperatures and untimely moisture events. Crops protected by Cultiva’s patented technology have reduced incidences of fruit cracking, sunburn, doubling, staining and coloring issues, ultimately improving growers’ overall marketable yield.
- Provision, a company whose cloud software simplifies compliance for growers in any commodity, helping them meet requirements from customers, regulators and certifications. By replacing cumbersome paperwork and complex technology with an intuitive interface, automated notifications and smart rules, Provision is helping hundreds of growers across three continents save audit time and improve process control. Tailored for small- to mid-sized operations, Provision’s ease of use and customizable data tools put powerful insights within reach from 200 acres to 20,000.
These startups will pitch their inventions to four industry judges and an audience of more than 300 fresh produce farmers and industry leaders during the WG Annual Meeting in Kauai on Nov. 12 to 15, 2023.
The competition will be hosted by Daryl Shelton, Executive Vice President at RDO Equipment Co., and judged by Briana Giampaoli, head of Marketing and Product Innovation at Live Oak Farms; Audre Kapacinskas, Principal at S2G Ventures; J.P. LaBrucherie, President at LaBrucherie Produce; and Sumeeta Salvador, Associate at S2G Ventures.
AgSharks was first held in 2017, and through the competition, past winners Hazel Technologies, Burro and Nutjobs have since brought their products from development to market.
Hazel Technologies has raised over $87.8 million in funding over six rounds and is advancing the industry with sachets that extend the shelf life of fresh produce. Burro raised a $10.9 million Series A round in September 2021, led by S2G Ventures and Toyota Ventures, and continues to help solve farmers’ labor woes with the expansion of its fleet of autonomous robots to farms across the west.
Last year, Nutjobs received an AgSharks record $6 million equity investment for their technology transforming nutshell waste into bioplastics.