9 Cutting-Edge Startups Named In Row Crop Challenge

Teams spent five days in Tennessee refining their value proposition, meeting with leading farmers and agricultural industry experts, and improving their pitches for the Row Crop Challenge at AgTech Expo. ( Farm Journal )

Nine early-stage agtech startups focusing on row crop innovations were in Memphis last week preparing for Farm Journal’s AgTech Expo in Indianapolis in December. Teams spent five days in Tennessee refining their value proposition, meeting with leading farmers and agricultural industry experts, and improving their pitches for the Row Crop Challenge at AgTech Expo.

“This is the ideal environment for up-and-coming agricultural technologies,” Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “AgLaunch is at the forefront of developing and supporting companies that will positively influence the future of agriculture. We look forward to seeing the impact of these companies as they advance from concept of product to reality on the farm.”

Finalists for the Row Crop Challenge were selected using a panel of farmers from across the country as part of the AgLaunch Farm-Centric Innovation Model and are each addressing an identified problem in agriculture. AgLaunch’s model, catalyzed and supported by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, aims to position farmers to be competitive in a changing global marketplace.

The 9 startups accepted for the Row Crop Challenge are: 

  1. AgBio Tech: AgBioTech provides high-value products that work symbiotically to reduce production costs, improve soil health, and increase profits for the farmer.
    Location: Lakeville, NY
  2. Agrynex: A Cornell University startup, Agrynex packs and deploys antimicrobial systems for efficient crop protection with fewer chemicals. 
    Location: Ithaca, NY
  3. Continuum Ag: Continuum Ag quantifies and improves soil health by integrating diverse soil data into the online platform, resulting in actionable results.  
    Location: Washington, IA
  4. Grain Discovery: Grain Discovery creates a chain of trust for the next generation of global ag marketing by focusing on price discovery and traceability.
    Location: Toronto, Canada
  5. Lepidext: Lepidext is revolutionizing corn earworm pest control with an organic method for suppressing adult moths. 
    Location: Lexington, KY
  6. Nexyst360: Nexyst360 is a mobile solution for crop storage and transportation. We provide high-quality crops with full traceability to field of origin and date with the crop.
    Location: St. Cloud, MN
  7. Nori: Nori is a platform that makes it easy for farmers to get paid for storing carbon in their soils. 
    Location: Seattle, WA
  8. Row Shaver: Row Shaver has developed ag implements to help control herbicide-resistant weeds.
    Location: Great Bend, KS
  9. Sigma0: Sigma0 enables crop management companies to access agronomic insights from radar technology, enabling them to zero in on crop details and provide better decisions for farmers. 
    Location: Des Moines, IA

At the AgTech Expo in December, Row Crop Challenge finalists are competing for up to 6 spots in AgLaunch365 programming beginning in January 2020 and $75,000 in venture capital investment and startup support services valued at over $125,000.

“These startups have access to AgLaunch’s Farmer Network, best-in-class partners, and renowned accelerator model, all serving as a unique platform for commercialization and the leading pipeline to get an agtech product from idea to market- all right here in Memphis,” said Schuyler Dalton, Director of Farmer Network and Entrepreneurship.

The AgLaunch365 programming and investment package includes: 

  • Venture capital funding from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV and Ag Ventures Alliance;
  • Access to the AgLaunch farmer network, which provides cost-share supported field trials with leading farmers and access to field-level data;
  • Opportunity to participate in the Digital Acre program at Agricenter International;
  • Agricultural-focused accelerator program with Start Co.;
  • Access to data and market information from Farm Journal;
  • Marketing and communications support from Archer Malmo, a top 5 US agricultural marketing company;
  • Legal support from attorneys with Baker Donelson, one of the largest law firms in the country; and
  • Investor Demo Day and demonstration at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis on February 28-29, 2020.