SVG Ventures | THRIVE is the leading global Agrifood investment and innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. This week the two companies announced the winners of their 2021 Sustainability Challenge.
The Sustainable Startup Award was presented to US based company Haystack, the firm enables carbon market scalability by helping farmers and carbon markets quantify carbon accurately and cost-effectively. Haystack will receive a prize package that includes investment from SVG Ventures and a place in THRIVE’s award winning Accelerator Program, in addition to access to Bayer’s investment and R&D teams.
MagGrow is the winner of the Sustainable Scaleup Award. MagGrow’s technology helps farmers significantly reduce waste and drift linked to conventional crop spraying, delivering optimal plant protection using permanent rare earth magnets. As a winner, MagGrow will have the opportunity to explore a proof-of-concept pilot project with Bayer, receive automatic nomination for THRIVE’s TOP 50 listing, and gain access to Bayer resources and THRIVE’s ecosystem.
The Agtech community also cast its votes for its favourite start-up and recognized AgroCognitive as the People’s Choice Award winner. AgroCognitive is an automated precision agriculture platform that gives insights to farmers. Powered by an AI visual recognition engine, analytics models, blockchain, and compatible with IoT management devices, farmers place data and images into the platform which returns key diagnostics and analytics about what is happening to crops. AgroCognitive then recommends actions, tell farmers what to expect in terms of crop yields, and provides other important KPIs.
Bayer and SVG Ventures | THRIVE partnered to explore the vast agricultural innovation ecosystem for the ideas needed to realize a step change in the sustainability of agriculture. The focus areas for the Challenge centred around three ambitious commitments set by Bayer for 2030 – reducing on-field greenhouse gas emissions produced by key crops in major ag markets by 30 percent; reducing the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent; and empowering 100 million smallholder farmers with access to agronomic knowledge.
“Initiatives like this demonstrate the entire industry’s commitment to shaping a sustainable future for agriculture, and collaboration is key to making this future a reality and unlocking new possibilities for more productive and efficient farming,” said Bob Reiter, Head of Research and Development at the Crop Science division of Bayer. “We are honoured to acknowledge and celebrate this year’s winners and look forward to seeing how these innovative minds bring their ideas to life.”
“Climate change is one of the biggest crises currently facing humanity, and we all have a responsibility to play our part in making our global food systems more sustainable,” said John Hartnett, Founder and CEO SVG Ventures | THRIVE. “We’re delighted to partner with Bayer on this Challenge to accelerate sustainable agriculture innovation across the entire value chain.”
Ten finalists, including six start-ups and four scaleups, were selected from a pool of around 300 applicants across 57 countries—two from Australia and one each from Argentina, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, UK, and the US. Each finalist pitched to an expert judging panel featuring representatives from Bayer’s Crop Science division, Leaps by Bayer impact investment team, Yamaha Motor Ventures, and Cargill. The finalist companies were Autonomous Pivot, AgroCognitive, ClearLeaf, Dronebee, Goanna Ag, Haystack, MagGrow, Ponce, Think Bio and Vatorex.