Israeli agtech blooms at 4th international AgriVest

Some of the most promising and innovative Israeli agtech start-ups pitched their technologies at the fourth International AgriVest Conference held at the Weizmann Institute of Science on 27 September 2017. The conference is an initiative of Trendlines Agtech, Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israel Ministry of Economy & Industry and GreenSoil Investments, an Israeli VC focused on agro & food tech investments.

Some 450 businesspeople, entrepreneurs, government officials, scientists, and investors from Israel and abroad attended the conference.

In her opening remarks, Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines Agtech, said: "We have instituted an event that is not only an integral part of the Israeli agtech landscape, but may well have the power to influence the agriculture of the future. This year we have included the farming community which is so heavily influenced by developments in agtech. The AgriVest conference is a unique platform for Israeli start-ups and entrepreneurs to meet with investors and key people in the global agricultural industry, with an eye to reveal the potential of investing in innovative developments."

Oded Distel, Director of Invest in Israel at the Israel Ministry of Economy & Industry, added: "The Ministry of Economy & Industry is delighted to once again be showcasing some of the most exciting and innovative Israeli agtech companies at AgriVest. There is no better place in the world to learn about and embrace the ideas pushing the sector forward than Israel. How to achieve less with more has been one of the country’s drivers since its inception and the Israeli ability to take innovation from one discipline such as aerospace or defense and apply it to agtech quite unique."

The highlight of the conference was a competition between 12 Israeli start-ups that presented the newest innovations in Israel’s agricultural technology. The companies were selected by a professional, independent committee headed by Dr. Avi Perl, Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture from more than 40 companies that vied for the privilege of exhibiting at the conference. During the event the start-ups were assessed and graded by participants with prizes awarded to the companies with the most points — based on a weighted calculation of votes from the audience and judges during the day.

AgriVest attendees from the international agtech community with Nitza Kardish of Trendlines Agtech (l to r): Johan Botterman and Bernard Leroux of Bayer Crop Sciences, Kirk Haney of Radicle, Nitza, keynote speaker Adrian Percy of Bayer Crop Sciences

The winning start-up was Enzootic, developing a platform for crustacean aquaculture and the 2nd prize went to FieldIn, developing a pest management solution for high-value crops.

A new prize category this year was the Impact Prize, which went to ATPLabs, developing a system to integrate ag data to enhance the food-production chain.

Gideon Soesman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, GreenSoil Investments, remarked: "AgriVest showcases technologies that will enable us to produce unique foodstuffs, additives, seeds and agricultural products to combat the stress on our dwindling natural resources. Investing in new crops, treatment methods, waste reduction and yield enhancement will provide solutions to the world’s food crisis and can deliver sizable returns to investors."

AgriVest 2016 keynote speaker at AgriVest 2016, Adrian Percy, Head of R&D at Bayer Crop Science

The conference included an array of distinguished speakers and guests: Adrian Percy, Head of R&D at Bayer Crop Science, and Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director of Large Corporate Food & Agri at Rabobank made the keynote addresses.

Two professional panels featured international and local agritech opinion leaders. Mitchell Presser, Freshfields, moderated a discussion on the role of the farmer in agtech investments. Pat Christie, Conservis; David Gray, Altima Partners; Tom Green, Spearhead International were panel members. Gideon Soesman led a discussion on trends in agtech investing. Panel members were Maarten Goosens, Anterra Capital; Robert Grossman, Greenberg Traurig; Ofer Haviv, Evogene; Arama Kukutai, Finistere Ventures; and Michael Lee, Syngenta Ventures.

The 12 companies that took part in the company competition were AseptoRay, ATPLabs, Enzootic Holdings, Farm Dog, FFMH Tech, FieldIn, InPlant Technologies, NeoTop Water Systems, NRGene, Tevatronic, UniVerve, and ViAqua Therapeutics.

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