Media contact: Emily Breslin, Emily.Breslin@SVGPartners.com
Salinas, Calif., June 28, 2018—SVG Partners announced Philadelphia based startup Augean Robotics as the winner of the 2018 THRIVE AgTech Innovation Award early this morning during the fourth annual Forbes AgTech Summit. In addition to Augean Robotics, precision agriculture company Aker and microbiome company Intrinsyx Bio received honourable mentions.
SVG Partners Founder and CEO John Hartnett and THRIVE Platform Director Mareese Keane presented the award on the Forbes main stage as day two of the summit kicked off. “Each year we are continually impressed not only by the innovative technologies of these companies, but also the caliber and level of leadership of each team,” Hartnett said. “The THRIVE Innovation Award is awarded to companies exemplifying the best in technology and leadership, and this year’s Augean Robotics team and their Burro robot continually demonstrated these qualities during the accelerator program and onstage during demo day yesterday.”
The award ceremony was the culmination of THRIVE’s 10-week accelerator program, which began in April and ended yesterday morning with a demo presentation featuring nine companies from this year’s cohort. Demo day, the hallmark event of the THRIVE accelerator program, provides startups the opportunity to showcase their solutions before a curated audience of investors, corporate partners, and local and national media. The pitches of Augean Robotics, Aker, and Intrinsyx Bio, along with the other six startups, Boost Biomes, Agronow, Re-Nuble, Napigen, Persistence Data Mining and Orbis MES, from this year’s cohort were judged by THRIVE’s corporate partners Trimble, Taylor Farms, Wilbur-Ellis, Coca Cola, Land O’Lakes, Western Growers Association, Driscoll’s Berries, Wells Fargo, JV Smith, Yamaha, Sun World Innovations, Turatti, City of Salinas, and Produce Marketing Association.
AGR develops labor-saving robots for farmers like Burro, its robotic cart that follows pickers like a dog, and can run back down a row to be emptied at a collection point. With Burro, hand-pickers are able to pick continuously, allowing them to avoid wasting upwards of 30% of their time running picked produce from pick point to collection point. The two-wheel Burro can carry 300 pounds to 450 pounds and is powered by sealed lead acid batteries, and can travel up to 15 miles on a charge.
Augean Robotics targets hand-picked / hand-shuttled crops including table grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Growers of these specialty crops face rising labor costs, and often have hand-harvesting crews who spend 20-30% of each day running what they have picked back and forth. In these settings, our machine provides a 1 to 2-year payback, and a robotic platform that can later do far more.
THRIVE ‘Highly Commended’ Recipients
Aker is the first ever company to create patented technology that effectively automates ‘ground truthing’ or the process of collecting pest, and crop damage inside the canopy of crops during the growing season. Aker provides geo-referenced real observed data and crop diagnostic tools, not inferred or approximated by current crop models.
In the face of decreasing water and soil conditions, Intrinsyx’s formulation increases crop yield while it also increases nutrient use efficiency. These inoculants successfully colonize the roots and shoots of any crop type and offer a broad range of plant benefits which drastically increase yield and quality, most notably through nutrient use efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance (drought and salinity), and antifungal properties. Intrinsyx Bio is finalizing an exclusive license of its shelf stable microbial inoculant technology, which can be applied as seed coats, in granular form, and as liquid.
THRIVE V Applications Open
During its Demo Day yesterday, THRIVE opened applications for its fifth accelerator program. Unlike previous years, the THRIVE V accelerator program will take place over five months instead of 10 weeks.
About the SVG Partners-THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform
The THRIVE Venture & Innovation Platform works with leading corporations, startups, universities, and growers to solve the biggest challenges facing the food and agriculture industries. THRIVE hosts a highly selective program for seed and growth stage AgTech and FoodTech startups, providing investment, top-tier mentorship, trials, and go to market support and in addition provides advisory and corporate open innovation services to the largest agriculture and technology companies. THRIVE was launched in 2014 by Silicon Valley Global Partners (SVG Partners), a venture, innovation and advisory firm based in Silicon Valley, CA. www.svgpartners.com www.thriveagtech.com