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2020 AgLaunch Field Day Goes Virtual! Plus! A New Look!

AgLaunch 2020 VIRTUAL Field Day | PLUS! A New Look!

The 2020 AgLaunch VIRTUAL Field Day will highlight the farmers, entrepreneurs, and communities that are working together to make the agricultural value-chain more sustainable and resilient, while also demonstrating that a strong network of farmers is positively impacting rural and urban communities from health care to education.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:15 AM | AgTech + Sustainability Goals
  • 12:00 – 1:30 PM | Data + Ecosystem Markets + Capital
  • 3:00 – 4:15 PM | Communities + Impact

Learn more at AgLaunchFieldDay.com.

Attendees are encouraged to participate in the entire day, but you will have access to the session recordings in case your new normal makes that impossible. Register Now, Watch Later! 

And did you notice our new logo? We’re going to be rolling out our new look as we prepare for the field day. Be on the lookout for new videos, images, and ways we’re highlighting our work. 

Connie Bowen to Lead Innovation Strategy for AgLaunch

Bowen joins as the Director of Innovation and Investment, spearheading crucial projects related to building a transformed regional food and agricultural economy  

AgLaunch is proud to formally announce the recent addition of Connie Bowen as its Director of Innovation and Investment. In this role, she will be providing strategic and technical expertise on key initiatives such as the Data Commons, Farmers Fund, and Open Market Consortium, as well as joining the leadership team managing AgLaunch’s investment strategy and portfolio support.

Bowen’s expertise and experience are a great addition to the AgLaunch team. Prior to joining AgLaunch, Bowen worked in Willamette Valley, Oregon with Farmacopia Farms and Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners, assisting in the production, processing, and marketing of hemp, hazelnut, and blueberry products. Prior to that, she co-founded the Yield Lab Institute in St. Louis, and she continues to serve on YLI’s board. Before starting the Yield Lab Institute, she served as a Principal for the Yield Lab North America and Cultivation Capital, where she managed accelerator programming, deal flow, and portfolio and aided in firm expansion into Ireland, Argentina, and Singapore. She continues to engage actively as an Investment Manager for the Yield Lab Europe (based in Galway, Ireland.) Prior roles also include Operations Manager for Grape Arbor VC, a multi-family office investing in startups and venture funds.

Bowen is a regular contributor to Forbes, writing about impact investment in agrifood systems. She is a 2016 Venture for America fellow and a multi-year member of the peer-elected VFA alumni board as well as a member of the inaugural “AgGrad30under30” class. She holds a B.S. in General Engineering, with an emphasis on Environmental Studies, from Swarthmore College.

Connie can be contacted at cbowen@aglaunch.com.

Direct-to-Consumer Workshop Series Kicks Off THIS WEEK!

D2C Series: Thursdays (July 23- August 13) 
6:00-7:30 PM CT

MODEL: Week 1 (July 23)
Rethinking your business model for D2C
Content Delivered by: The Biz Foundry

MONEY: Week 2 (July 30)
Funding Your D2C Business
Content Delivered By: Center for Profitable Agriculture and FarmRaise

  • Business Model Canvas: Cost structure
  • Financial/Funding Source

MARKETS: Week 3 (August 6)
Accessing D2C markets
Content Delivered by: Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and The Biz FoundryEatlocal.farmFirebrand Artisan BreadsCentral Grazing Company

  • Customer Discovery
  • E-commerce

MOMENTUM: Week 4 (August 13)
Planning and preparing for the future: Farmer-owned and community-driven solutions
Content Delivered By: Farm Generations and Memphis Tilth

News: AgLaunch and Farm Journal Announce 2020 Row Crop Challenge Focused on Increasing Sustainability of Row Crop Agriculture

Applications due August 31, 2020

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (July 16, 2020) – AgLaunch and Farm Journal are pleased to open applications for the 2nd Row Crop Challenge to select leading startup companies addressing the biggest problems in production agriculture. This year’s Row Crop Challenge will focus on technologies that accelerate the adoption of sustainable production practices toward the farm-of-the-future, specifically outlined in the Cotton Trust Protocol.  

Up to 10 companies will be selected to participate in a virtual sprint week held November 16-20, 2020. Teams will present their refined pitch to a panel of farmers and aligned investors at the end of the sprint week. Row Crop Challenge winners earn the opportunity to participate in the AgLaunch365 accelerator, a program designed to calibrate the needs of farmers with emerging technology.

Once accepted into AgLaunch365, participants will receive $200,000 worth of programming and services from AgLaunch and its partners including possible cash investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund and AgVentures Alliance, access to media and data support through Farm Journal, and services provided through the acceleration process. 

“We’re excited for new applicants and the innovative ideas they’ll bring to the table,” Pete Nelson, Executive Director of AgLaunch, said. “We’re hoping to provide them the support that they need to continue changing technology and how it is used in the industry of agriculture.”  

AgLaunch’s unique multi-year model starts with the AgLaunch365 accelerator and ends with a three-iteration on-farm trial pathway that takes ideas from proof-of-concept to peer-to-peer scale with targeted investor touch points along the way. AgLaunch365 operates in three phases over a 12-month period, ramping towards on-farm trials across the United States. Phases include: 

  1. Phase I – Participants receive support services to refine their startup’s value proposition and prepare to pitch to row crop farmers and agricultural investors through a virtual pitch competition. 
  2. Phase II – A panel of farmers choose up to six startups to participate in this phase, beginning January 2021. Startups will construct in-depth field trial plans while fine-tuning their business model.
  3. Phase III – The balance of 2021 is dedicated to implementing field trial plans with the AgLaunch Farmer Network. Participating startups typically work directly with farmers for three iterations of their technology and have exclusive access to farmer input and feedback. 

Participants in AgLaunch365 will have access to the following services: 

  • Customized programming focused on agriculture and lean startup
  • Collaborative access to Farm Journal teams and the opportunity to attend Top Producer Summit, the leading event for farmer CEOs
  • Field trials and access to farmer network of leading innovative farmers including cost share opportunity
  • Support from a national network of mentors and service providers
  • Opportunity to showcase their technology at an investor-focused demo day in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show

Startup companies can learn more about the Row Crop Challenge and AgLaunch365 accelerator during the informational webinars on July 22 at 12 p.m. CT and August 12 at 12 p.m. CT

Applications are being accepted through August 31. Start-up companies who are interested in the AgLaunch365 accelerator can apply here

News: 2020 Food and AgTech Bootcamp Winners Announced

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (July 7, 2020) – Eight innovative startups have been selected to participate in a 5-week virtual bootcamp hosted by AgLaunch, the Knoxville Entrepreneur CenterSync Space, and The Biz Foundry. The chosen teams are ag innovators who are interested in growing their agricultural innovation business in a farm-centric model.

“The continued partnership with AgLaunch has helped KEC continue its efforts in fostering innovation, creativity and job growth,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. “Through this bootcamp, more startups are allowed the opportunity to grow their businesses.” 

Participating teams will receive instruction on agricultural markets and the framework for organizing and communicating their ideas. They will also have access to best-in-class investors and mentors and the chance to apply for the AgLaunch365 accelerator.

This year’s teams include: 

• AgriKnect: A dual-sided digital platform that allows farmers and other ag businesses to connect and hire workers for their operations.  

• Benanova, Incorporated: A company that has developed novel proprietary technology for efficient delivery of active ingredients in agriculture that is environmentally friendly and effective. 

• BurgerFit: A startup company that has blended ground meat and vegetable burgers to help families eat healthier starting from the age of two-years old.

• SCAREcrow Farm Tech @ Old Hughes Farm: A company that has created a series of algorithms to help reduce mundane and time-consuming farm tasks. 

• S&J Nanochemicals: A startup that designed a sustainable nanoparticle fertilizer with a seed pre-soaking nutrient delivery strategy that increases growth and vitality in a variety of plant species.

• Soil1 LLC: A company that has developed technologies that enable inexpensive soil ecology testing that can take place in a farmer’s field.   

• Veggie Mines: A startup that has created a new concept in vegetable farming by utilizing tech solutions to address old-age farming problems. 

Building off of the recent Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Cluster Awardannouncement, AgLaunch sees the partnership between KEC, Sync Space and The Biz Foundry as essential to support early-stage companies in the Mid-South region.