AgLaunch February 2019 Newsletter

Friends,

We have already had a busy 2019. We’re supporting three companies in the AgLaunch365 Phase II program and preparing to hit the fields in Tennessee with new technologies and value-added projects through our expanded farmer network trials made possible by our partnership with Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

We were proud to support and sponsor some great events as part of the collective effort of AgLaunch and our partners to provide greater coordination of deal flow, capital, and farmer access across the United States. It was fantastic to support Farm Credit Services’s AgTech Innovation Showcase held at the Iowa Power Farming Show in Des Moines, IA, and we also love the AgPitch model pioneered at Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit in which a diverse group of partners are innovating in agriculture. There is a great video here to learn more.
The next regional agricultural innovation event will be the AgLaunch Startup Station at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis on March 1 with a pre-event reception on February 28 sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America.
The next events we also participating in with our agricultural innovation regional partners are:
  • Our partner Ag Ventures Alliance has invited me to speak on March 21 at their Annual Meeting in Mason City, IA on farm-centric innovation and ways we can expand our collaboration between Tennessee and Iowa.
  • We will participate as a panelist and speaker at the New Uses Forum 2019: Accelerating Ag Innovation and Investment in St. Louis Park, Minnesota on March 27-28 coordinated by Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, Georgetown’s Rural Opportunity Initiative, and Compeer.
The most important things we have done this winter have been meeting with our farmers in Tennessee and surrounding regions. We have onboarded new farmers as members of the farmer network, and laid out objectives for expanding the network of trials and startup collaborations for 2019, continuing to ramp up working with Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
Finally we are excited that iSelect’s Davos on the Delta conference is returning to Memphis on May 14-15 as part of the Memphis in May BBQ Fest activities. This event will bring hundreds of thought leaders from across the globe to Tennessee and the Delta region to talk about the agricultural value-chains of the future.

Thank you to Agricenter International, Innova Memphis, and Farm Journal Media for all you do to support AgLaunch and most importantly the investors, startup companies and farmers that we are facilitating.

Cheers,

Pete Nelson
Executive Director
AgLaunch Initiative

AgLaunch is proud to be a marketing partner with the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit. The Summit is headed back to the west coast this March. It is a great chance to share ideas and network with the most senior audience of agribusiness leaders, technology innovators and investors. They’re primed to discuss agtech breakthroughs and opportunities for partnership and collaboration, from genomics to soil health, precision ag to AI. Secure your place now for World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco on March 19-20 and take advantage of our discount code AGL400 to save $400 on a delegate pass.

 

Michael Ott, founder of Rantizo, won the Ag Tech Innovation Showcase at the Iowa Power Farming Show coordinated by Farm Credit Services of America in Des Moines, IA. Working with our partners in the midwest is improving access of Tennessee farmers to the latest technologies such as Rantizo which is addressing spray drift and herbicide resistant weeds, while mobilizing more investment capital for farmer-centric innovation.

Spencer Stensrude with Ag Ventures Alliance addresses the Farmer Network at the Winter Meeting.

Dr. Bruce Kirksey from Agricenter International works with AgLaunch365 Phase II teams on designing effective field trials.

AgLaunch Executive Director Pete Nelson and newly-appointed Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Charlie Hatcher at the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association Annual Meeting in Murfreesboro, TN.

Mark Keenum, Ph.D., President of Mississippi State University and current Chair of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research Board welcomes attendees to the evening session on ecosystem markets at the Foster the Future event in Washington, D.C.

 

Upcoming Events

March 1-2, 2019
Mid-South Farm and Gin Show
Memphis, TN
March 19-20, 2019
World Agritech Innovation Summit
San Francisco, CA
March 19-20, 2019
Invest Midwest Venture Capital Forum
Kansas City, KS
March 27-28, 2019
New Uses Forum
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
May 14-15, 2019
Davos on the Delta
Memphis, TN
May 15-16, 2019
StartQ
Memphis, TN

SAVE THE DATE! AgLaunch at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show March 1, 2019

Join us at the 2019 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show for the return of the Aglaunch Startup Station and Showcase on Friday, March 1, 2019.

The Startup Station will be open starting at 10:30 am and the Startup Showcase will begin at 11:00 am. The Showcase event will highlight some of the most exciting startup companies in agriculture. Watch an expert panel of investors, farmers, and agribusiness representatives vet the latest in breakthrough ag innovations.

Kick off your weekend with our Welcome Reception on Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 6:00-8:00 pm in downtown Memphis.

In addition to the Aglaunch Startup Station and Showcase, attendees will be able to see the latest in farm equipment and services at the Mid-South’s largest farm show.

We look forward to seeing you in Memphis!

2019 AgLaunch New Year Update

Friends,

2018 was a tremendous year for AgLaunch, starting with the news that we are now an independent nonprofit organization led by an impressive board and operations team. We are thankful for the leadership and vision of Tennessee’s former Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton who have helped start AgLaunch, and we welcome Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Charlie Hatcher, both of whom are proven leaders and multi-generational farmers in Tennessee who will expand the economic impact of agriculture through innovation.

Some of the highlights from last year include:

  • New and stronger partnerships in St. Louis, North Carolina, and Iowa that share best practices and create mutually-beneficial deal flow;
  • A growing portfolio that includes an additional 14 agtech startup companies and other value-added producer projects, including grain sorghum and malt barley;
  • Successful deployment of pilot projects with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture through its cost-share programs that allows farmers to incubate startup companies’ technologies, allows farmers to become early investors, and creates model farmsthat demonstrate best practices and new technologies;
  • Continued expansion of the AgLaunch Farmer Network that represents more than 100,000 acres of a diverse group of crops and livestock; and
  • Grew our partnership with Farm Journal Media, the country’s leading agricultural media company, to increase our national media presence and participation at the AgTech Expo for AgLaunch startups, as well as build new regional innovation partners.

Additionally, Memphis and the surrounding region are rightfully being recognized for their agricultural assets and economic development tools. Seeing successful agtech startups like IndigoAg choosing downtown Memphis for its North American headquarters for commercial operations is the kind of activity that we can continue to expect as we invest in food and agriculture.

As we enter the new year, AgLaunch is

  • Expanding our regional farm-centric innovation model with new cross-state partnerships that put farmers at the foundation of growing new agtech companies and exploring value-added opportunities;
  • Recruiting more capital through increased alignment with the RBIC and Farm Credit system to help companies grow from idea to the farmer’s field;
  • Focusing on programs to help small farmers participate in value-added enterprises and embrace technology in new ways;
  • Partnering with schools and youth organizations to develop the next generation of farmers and ag entrepreneurs; and
  • Sharing data and testing protocols across the Farmer Network row-crop acres, livestock, and specialty crop operations to support startups and investors at a higher level.

As always, thank you for your support and partnership. Without you, 2018 would have looked very differently for us. We’re looking forward to a productive and innovative 2019.

Thank you,

Pete Nelson

AgLaunch December 2018 Newsletter

 

Friends,

As our farmers and partners have wrapped a long and late harvest, we’re reflecting on the last few months and the companies that we’ve had the privilege to support this fall and winter.
As part of our unique partnership with Farm Journal Media, we had an expanded presence at this year’s AgTech Expo held in Indianapolis, IN in December. The expo featured the inaugural Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunchthat showcased four cutting-edge technologies and very talented teams: Rogo (formerly AgNext), Kopper Kutter, SioTeX, and Smart Farm Systems. Ultimately, the panel of expert farmers selected Kopper Kutter as the winner.
Additionally, as part of the AgTech Expo, the four AgLaunch365 Phase I teams graduated by exhibiting at the AgLaunch booth and delivering their pitches on the expo stage. AgLaunch and its teams are supported by the following sponsors and partners: Innova Memphis, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Archer Malmo, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit Mid-America, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Baker Donelson, StartCo, Agricenter International, Ritter Agribusiness, Mid-South Family Farms, Growing Acres, and AgVentures Alliance. You can learn more about those teams here.
We believe that Memphis and the surrounding delta region is the place that can incubate and test the most disruptive agtech companies that exist. We see the agtech sector in the Memphis region growing quickly, and the Indigo Ag expansion is just another example of this.
Because we believe in the region, we were proud to partner with the Delta I-Fund, an organization supporting entrepreneurs located in the 252 counties and parishes in the Delta Regional Authority‘s service area. The Delta I-Fund’s most recent cohort is focused strictly on agtech teams, and we were glad to provide curriculum and expertise to the opening weekend held in Jonesboro, Arkansas in December, as well as being part of the ongoing technical assistance being provided to the teams.
The new year brings with it the chance to learn about new breakthroughs in research and technology. We’ve partnered with great organizations making some serious moves on the food and agtech front which are hosting events that you won’t want to miss.
Food and agriculture scientific breakthroughs will be on display at Foster Our Future. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, is hosting a food and agriculture research exhibition and discussion forum on February 5, 2019. At this one-day event, participants can interact with exhibits exploring research and attend discussions on scientific breakthroughs.
We will continue to work directly with teams through Phase II programming that will begin in January and culminate with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in March. Mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss it!
We don’t want to leave this year without giving a special thanks to outgoing Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton. Commissioner Templeton has been a true champion of our work and believes deeply in the power of agricutlure and innovation in moving Tennessee farmers into the future. We are excited about the recent appointment of Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher and look forward to working together to continue to serve Tennessee farmers.
Thank you for your continued support, and please reach out if there’s anything we can do for you.
Cheers,
Pete Nelson

In the News
Read what others are saying about us, our teams, and our partners!

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: It’s the Little Things in Life that Count, July 12, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: GroGuru Conducts First Row Crop Field Trials on Its Precision Irrigation Monitoring Technology with AgLaunch Farm Network, August 16, 2018

AGLAUNCH: Future of Agriculture, Episode 117: Bridging the Gap Between AgTech Entrepreneurs and Farmers with Pete Nelson, September 5, 2018

PARTNER: The Seam Eyes Growth With New Personnel, Technologies, September 8, 2018

PARTNER: Growers Overcomes Challenge of Big Data in Agriculture, Raises $5M to Expand, September 12, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: Future of Agriculture, Episode 118: Autonomous, Swarm-Enabled Tractors with Zack James of Rabbit Tractors, September 12, 2018

PARTNER: Local fund invests $4M in farming startups, has $27M left in seed money, September 17, 2018

PARTNER: Organic crops boosted by Memphis tech star, September 18, 2018

PARTNER: Tractor Zoom, a Farm Equipment Auction Marketplace, Completes $1 Million Seed Round, September 21, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: Drone Targets Weeds With Precision, September 24, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: CRANBERRY COUNTRY: The eye on cranberry bogs, October 3, 2018

PARTNER: Agricenter approaching 40th anniversary, planning for future, October 8, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: New entity providing X-ray vision for growers, October 9, 2018

 

Upcoming Events

October 10, 2018
Tennessee Agriculture Leadership Forum
Murfreesboro, TN

October 16, 2018
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit
London, England

November 13-14, 2018
Agri Investor Chicago Forum 2018
Chicago, IL

November 15, 2018
Life Science Tennessee Conference
Nashville, TN

December 3-5, 2018
Farm Journal AgTech Expo
Indianapolis, IN

News Release: INAUGURAL INNOVA $100,000 ROW CROP CHALLENGE POWERED BY AGLAUNCH CHOOSES NEW MACHINERY AS NEXT INVESTMENT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (December 12, 2018) — After pitching in the final four, selected from a group of national applicants, Kopper Kutter was voted by a panel of farmers as the winner of the first Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch as part of the Farm Journal AgTech Expo last week.

Founded by three farmers in Kansas, Kopper Kutter makes ARRO™ (Alternate Rotary Rowcrop Option) head conversion kits for corn heads enabling harvesting of additional row crops including sorghum, milo, sunflowers, and millet, among others.

As part of the Innova Challenge, four new agtech startups competed for a chance to receive a $100,000 venture capital equity investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, a USDA certified Rural Business Investment Company whose investors are eight Farm Credit banks. Teams pitched their company in front of an expert panel of farmers who determined which team received the investment.

AgLaunch’s interactive exhibits at the show included the AgLaunch Startup Station, the Emerging Technologies Isle, and featured the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge, as well as demonstrations from more than a dozen startup companies with innovations related to automation, robotics, soil analysis, input efficiency, new equipment, and farm management tools. These startups have received support from AgLaunch through various programs including the nationally-recognized AgLaunch365 accelerator and field trials through the AgLaunch farmer network. AgLaunch’s approach is yielding successful startup companies that are focused on the real needs of farmers.

Finalists for the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch were:

  • Kopper Kutter: Kopper Kutter, LLC offers ARRO®(Alternator Rotary Rowcrop Option) conversion kits for cornheads so that they can reliably harvest sorghum, sunflowers, and many other crops.
  • Rogo (formerly AgNext): The SmartCore by Rogo (formerly AgNext) uses a fully-autonomous robot that collects and packages soil samples with complete depth-, pattern- and location-consistency to give farmers more accurate soil data so they can make more profitable fertilizer decisions.
  • SioTeX: SioTeX is an eco-friendly specialty chemical manufacturer that makes a pure biogenic amorphous silica from rice hulls. Agricultural customers use the silica as a high-quality soil amendment to protect plants from mites, fungus, and stress and to increase crop yields.
  • Smart Farm Systems: Smart Farm Systems provides farmers with a precision irrigation monitoring and control system that allows them to apply just the right amount of water at just the right time on a field-by-field basis, conserving resources, improving crop yields and profitability.

AgLaunch showcased more than a dozen companies over the course of the expo at the AgLaunch Startup Station and in the Emerging Technology Isle including existing cohort companies: CattlogNewton RFIDShepherd, Soil Nerd, and alumni companies EarthsensePersistence Data MiningMicrobiometer, and Rantizo. These companies are being directly supported through on-farm trials with farmers supported through Tennessee Department of Agriculture, investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, and accelerator support as part of the AgLaunch365 program designed with farmers at the center of the work.

AgLaunch and its teams are supported by the following sponsors and partners: Innova Memphis, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Archer Malmo, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit Mid-America, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Baker Donelson, StartCo, Agricenter International, Ritter Agribusiness, Mid-South Family Farms, Growing Acres, and Ag Ventures Alliance.

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News Release: AGLAUNCH INNOVATION PIPELINE FEATURED AT FARM JOURNAL MEDIA’S AGTECH EXPO

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Start with a network of progressive farmers, add venture capital from Innova Memphis with the support of several Farm Credit banks and support from the forward-thinking Tennessee Department of Agriculture, coupled with the unparalleled outreach of Farm Journal Media, and you get the AgLaunch farm-centric innovation model that is reinventing the way agricultural startups are created and grown. Next week this partnership will be showcased on a national stage at Farm Journal’s AgTech Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 3-5.

AgLaunch’s interactive exhibits at the show will include the AgLaunch Startup Station, the Emerging Technologies Aisle, and will feature the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge, as well as demonstrations from more than a dozen startup companies with innovations related to automation, robotics, soil analysis, input efficiency, new equipment, and farm management tools. These startups have received support from AgLaunch through various programs including the nationally-recognized AgLaunch365 accelerator and field trials through the AgLaunch farmer network. AgLaunch’s approach is yielding successful startup companies that are focused on the real needs of farmers.

As part of the Innova Challenge, four new agtech startups, selected from a national pool of applicants, are competing for a chance to win a $100,000 venture capital investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, a USDA certified Rural Business Investment Company whose investors are eight Farm Credit banks. Teams will pitch their company in front of an expert panel of farmers who will determine which team receives the investment.

Finalists for the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch are:

  • Kopper Kutter: Kopper Kutter, LLC offers ARRO®(Alternator Rotary Rowcrop Option) conversion kits for cornheads so that they can reliably harvest sorghum, sunflowers, and many other crops.
  • Rogo (formerly AgNext): The SmartCore by Rogo (formerly AgNext) uses a fully-autonomous robot that collects and packages soil samples with complete depth-, pattern- and location-consistency to give farmers more accurate soil data so they can make more profitable fertilizer decisions.
  • SioTeX: SioTeX is an eco-friendly specialty chemical manufacturer that makes a pure biogenic amorphous silica from rice hulls. Agricultural customers use the silica as a high-quality soil amendment to protect plants from mites, fungus, and stress and to increase crop yields.
  • Smart Farm Systems: Smart Farm Systems provides farmers with a precision irrigation monitoring and control system that allows them to apply just the right amount of water at just the right time on a field-by-field basis, conserving resources, improving crop yields and profitability.

“Next week we will be showcasing the successes we are seeing with our farmer network in Tennessee and the surrounding Delta region to a national audience in hopes of recruiting more farmers, increasing investment, and attracting new startups to the AgLaunch model,” said Pete Nelson, President and Executive Director of AgLaunch. “By addressing the needs of farmers and creating a pathway for them to participate in business deals with these companies, we are changing the way that agricultural startups are creating, growing, and building new opportunities for our communities.”

In addition to the four finalists competing in the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge, AgLaunch will be showcasing more than a dozen companies over the course of the expo at the AgLaunch Startup Station (Booth #208) and in the Emerging Technology Aisle including existing cohort companies: Cattlog, Newton RFIDShepherdSoil Nerd, and alumni companies EarthsensePersistence Data MiningMicrobiometer, and Rantizo.  These companies are being directly supported through on-farm trials with farmers supported through Tennessee Department of Agriculture, investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, and accelerator support as part of the AgLaunch365 program designed with farmers at the center of the work.

AgLaunch and its teams are supported by the following sponsors and partners: Innova Memphis, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Archer Malmo, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of AmericaFarm Credit Mid-America, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Baker Donelson, StartCo, Agricenter International, Ritter Agribusiness, Mid-South Family Farms, Growing Acres, and AgVentures Alliance.

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About AgLaunch Initiative
AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market by bridging the present and future to grow a more diverse and sustainable farm economy and provide healthy food for all. AgLaunch leverages its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-in-class accelerator programming to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.

NEWS RELEASE: AgLaunch365 Welcomes Fourth Cohort to Farm-Centric Model Programming

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 19, 2018) — Four new agtech startups entered AgLaunch365 Phase I programming last week in Memphis. AgLaunch365 integrates startups with farmers in the AgLaunch Farmer Network to create and implement sophisticated field trial protocols and prepare for funding by aligned capital sources.

As part of AgLaunch365 Phase I, teams receive intensive business development support and customer discovery assistance while also having access to leading accelerator programming, the AgLaunch Farmer Network, the Cultivator Mentor Network, AgLaunch capital partners Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV and to AgLaunch’s partnership with Farm Journal Media, among a range of other services.

This 6-week program, delivered through remote programming and in-person sessions held in Memphis, will culminate at the Farm Journal AgTech Expo in Indianapolis December 3-5, 2018.

“This group of teams is addressing key areas with disruptive innovations around soil health, farm efficiency, traceability, and ways of connecting buyers and sellers that save time and money,” said Pete Nelson, President and Executive Director of AgLaunch Initiative. “These teams will complement our current portfolio and add value for our farmers who are trying to create the next generation of farm operations in Tennessee and the surrounding region.”

Phase I teams are:

  • Cattlog empowers ranchers to buy and sell cattle anytime, anywhere with an online marketplace backed by 3rd party escrow and arbitration.
  • Newton RFID is an animal identification and mobile records management company which provides vital records about a horse, from an injected microchip.
  • Shepherd lets growers manage their farm labor, tasks, and pay workers quickly and securely in order to help them be more productive and stay a step ahead of their farm work.
  • Soil Nerd is a digital agronomist that helps farmers raise crop quality and reduce in-season risk through soil health management.

“The industry of agriculture has plenty of room to grow when it comes to technology, but it isn’t always easy to get started when you have a good, innovative agtech idea,” Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. “The resources that these four startups now have access to will be invaluable as they continue working to provide opportunities and innovations to other farmers in our region.”

AgLaunch365 teams are eligible for investment from a key AgLaunch partner, Innova and its USDA-certified Rural Business Investment Company fund, a $31 million fund backed by eight Farm Credit banks.

AgLaunch365 consists of three phases of support that align with a typical row crop growing season. Phase I teams develop business models and gain access to the Cultivator Mentor Network. Phase II participants refine their product or technology to be “field ready” for on-farm trials with AgLaunch365’s Farmer Network beginning in the spring. Phase III teams work directly with growers in the region to test their innovation in the field during the growing seasons.

Applications to participate in Phase II can be found here: http://aglaunch.com/aglaunch-365/Deadline for Phase II is November 15, 2018.

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About AgLaunch Initiative

AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market by bridging the present and future to grow a more diverse and sustainable farm economy and provide healthy food for all. AgLaunch leverages its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-in-class accelerator programming to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.

AgLaunch October 2018 Newsletter

Dr. Bruce Kirksey shares the work in specialty crops at the Agricenter International Field Day.

 

Friends,

The last few months have proven to be some of the most important in AgLaunch’s history. We consider summer the season of growth and maturity, and the same can be said of our own organization. We’ve seen our companies finalize and complete nearly 20 field trial projects with members of the Farmer Network, we’ve seen multiple partners collaborate on meaningful and innovative grant proposals, and, most signigicantly, we’ve become our own standalone organization. We owe much gratitude to Memphis Bioworks for being the incubator AgLaunch needed to get off the ground. Thanks to their support, we’ve grown to the point of being able to sustain our own operations. While we may no longer be a program of Memphis Bioworks, we will always be partners in the important work of transforming the food and agriculture economy.

Fall is shaping up to be just as exciting! We are welcoming our next cohort of cutting-edge agtech companies to Memphis to participate in AgLaunch365 and are participating and presenting at some significant industry events, securing our role as a thought leader in this area. Additionally, you can hear me talk about AgLaunch with Tim Hammerich on his podcast Future of Agriculture.

We’re returning to the Farm Journal AgTech Expo with an expanded role and even greater presence through the Emerging Technologies Aisle and the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge. I hope you consider attending this world-class event.

As always, we would not be here without support from you.

Cheers,

Pete Nelson

In the News

Read what others are saying about us, our teams, and our partners!

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: It’s the Little Things in Life that Count, July 12, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: GroGuru Conducts First Row Crop Field Trials on Its Precision Irrigation Monitoring Technology with AgLaunch Farm Network, August 16, 2018

AGLAUNCH: Future of Agriculture, Episode 117: Bridging the Gap Between AgTech Entrepreneurs and Farmers with Pete Nelson, September 5, 2018

PARTNER: The Seam Eyes Growth With New Personnel, Technologies, September 8, 2018

PARTNER: Growers Overcomes Challenge of Big Data in Agriculture, Raises $5M to Expand, September 12, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: Future of Agriculture, Episode 118: Autonomous, Swarm-Enabled Tractors with Zack James of Rabbit Tractors, September 12, 2018

PARTNER: Local fund invests $4M in farming startups, has $27M left in seed money, September 17, 2018

PARTNER: Organic crops boosted by Memphis tech star, September 18, 2018

PARTNER: Tractor Zoom, a Farm Equipment Auction Marketplace, Completes $1 Million Seed Round, September 21, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: Drone Targets Weeds With Precision, September 24, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: CRANBERRY COUNTRY: The eye on cranberry bogs, October 3, 2018

PARTNER: Agricenter approaching 40th anniversary, planning for future, October 8, 2018

PORTFOLIO COMPANY: New entity providing X-ray vision for growers, October 9, 2018

 

Upcoming Events

October 10, 2018
Tennessee Agriculture Leadership Forum
Murfreesboro, TN

October 16, 2018
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit
London, England

November 13-14, 2018
Agri Investor Chicago Forum 2018
Chicago, IL

November 15, 2018
Life Science Tennessee Conference
Nashville, TN

December 3-5, 2018
Farm Journal AgTech Expo
Indianapolis, IN

News Release: AGLAUNCH ANNOUNCES THE INNOVA $100,000 ROW CROP CHALLENGE

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (September 20, 2018) – AgLaunch Initiative, a farm-centric agricultural innovation organization, announced today the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch as part of their expanded partnership with Farm Journal Media to be held at the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo, December 3-5, in Indianapolis. This event is the leading opportunity to connect AgTech startups with row crop farmers.

“The ultimate goal of AgLaunch’s involvement in the Farm Journal AgTech Expo is to demonstrate our farm-centric innovation model to assist new AgTech startups and the farmers we serve,” said Pete Nelson, President & Executive Director of AgLaunch Initiative. “We bring together emerging technology companies that support farming operations with the farmers and investors who share the goal of creating solutions for farmers.”

The Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch will be held December 4thon the AgTech Expo Demo Stage and is open to all early stage AgTech startups focused on new and novel solutions to problems in row crop agriculture or to help farmers take advantage of new opportunities. Eligible applicants will vie for up to $100,000 in funding from Innova’s Ag Innovation Fund IV, a $31 million USDA-licensed Rural Business Investment Company backed by 8 Farm Credit Banks, as well as access to the AgLaunch Farmer Network and visibility through the Farm Journal Media family of multi-media platforms.

“At Innova we strive to enable high potential, early-stage startups that serve the agriculture community, to grow into significant economic contributors,” said Dean Didato, partner of Innova. “By providing seed capital and experienced mentorship, we help AgTech startups succeed and deliver the most value to farmers.”

The Challenge will be judged by a panel of farmers and a representative of Innova. Four finalists will be chosen to participate in the Challenge during the Expo. Applications for the competition, judging criteria, and investment eligibility can be found here. Applications are due by October 15th. Selected teams will be announced November 15th.

In addition to the Challenge, AgLaunch will once again coordinate Startup Station, a demonstration area for new robotics and other innovations. This year’s Expo will also feature an Emerging Technologies Aisle, which is focused on companies that have completed farm-scale pilots and are ready to start expanding their footprint with farmers.

To learn more about the Innova Ag Innovation $100,000 Challenge, availability within the Emerging Technologies Aisle, or other ways you can join AgLaunch in Indianapolis on December 3-5, please contact Rebecca Kaufman at rkaufman@aglaunch.com.

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About AgLaunch Initiative 
AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market by bridging the present and future to grow a more diverse and sustainable farm economy and provide healthy food for all. AgLaunch leverages its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-in-class accelerator programming to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.

About Innova
Innova is an early-stage venture capital firm that was founded in 2007 by Memphis Bioworks Foundation. The firm focusejs on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Medical, Technology and AgTech fields that match both Innova’s expertise, as well as the region’s industry strengths. Innova has invested in over 100 companies and has been recognized by Crunchbase, Forbes, and SSTI in their rankings of most active investors. Innova provides the synergy of experienced management, market expertise and venture capital to accelerate the development of new products and services into thriving businesses. Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV is a $31 million fund was formed as a licensed USDA Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) with 8 Farm Credit banks participating as Limited Partners.

About Farm Journal Media
Farm Journal Media is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 141 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; events; nationally broadcasted television and radio programs; a robust mobile text marketing business; and an array of data-driven paid information products. Farm Journal Media also is the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace Machinery Pete LLC. In 2010, the Company established the non-profit, public charity Farm Journal Foundation, which is dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.

AgLaunch July 2018 Newsletter

AgLaunch Notes
July 12, 2018

Recruitment for the next cohort of AgLaunch365 has begun! 

We’re looking for the next generation of agricultural innovation companies to join Phase I of our flagship program – AgLaunch365. Ideal applicants are addressing real world problems specifically targeting row crop production. Example problems include spray drift, herbicide resistant weeds, nitrogen and water management, automation and labor, robotics, precision planting, grain bin management and logistics. We are open to discussing other sectors and approaches so please let us know if you are interested and want to clarify if you would be considered.  AgLaunch365 participants will have access to investment capital, a fantastic network of farmers, and a proven process to grow really exciting companies in the agricultural innovation sector.  The application can be found HERE.

Sneed Brothers Farm.

Ray Sneed of Sneed Brothers Farm is a member of the AgLaunch Farmer Network a regional network trialing over a dozen new technologies this summer in row crops, vegetables, and livestock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends,

A few quick updates and then we’re back to farm visits, field trials and AgLaunch365 planning.

June saw us cover hundreds of miles to meet with Farmer Network members and see 2018 field trials in action. One thing’s for sure, the AgLaunch Farmer Network is a group of some of the most innovative, thoughtful, and hard working farmers. We’re glad to partner with them.

We’re underway with our first Knoxville Bootcamp, working with several startups from across Tennessee. Special thanks to UTIA, UT Research Foundation, Knoxville Entrepeneur Center, LaunchTN, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for their partnership in the program.

AgLaunch is planning two upcoming Field Days, please consider joining us for a morning of ag innovation, novel conservation systems, and new markets for crops. The first will be on August 2 at Growing Acres Farm in Savannah, TN. The second will be on August 9 at Agricenter International in Memphis, TN.

Kind regards,
Pete

AgLaunch’s Schuyler Dalton moderates a panel of AgLaunch alumni startups at the Knoxville Bootcamp this week. Participating entrepreneurs were: Jairo Trad, Kilimo; Chinmay Soman, EarthSense; Zack James, Rabbit Tractors.

RSVP for upcoming field days on August 2 and August 9, 2018

Growing Acres Field Day

Agricenter Field Day

Ray Tyler from Rose Creek Farm shows us the control center for his new automatic roll-up sides & climate control system designed for small scale vegetable production.

 

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