SVG Ventures and Produce Marketing Association (PMA) have entered a three-year strategic partnership to connect PMA growers with cutting-edge technology. SVG Ventures will lead panel conversations on AgriFood and AgTech at PMA’s annual Fresh Summit Convention & Expo and, debuting this year, the organizations will launch the Thrive Fresh Summit Challenge live-pitch competition. Start-ups working to create technology for the produce and floral industry will compete for an opportunity to pitch on stage at Fresh Summit to receive a $100K investment award and other prizes.
The winner will receive an opportunity to join the Thrive VI Accelerator Program with an investment value of $100K ($50k cash, $50k program), and a further opportunity to present at the Forbes AgTech Summit Salinas for a chance to win an additional $100k investment. The winner will be featured as part of the PMA Center at the Expo.
The 2019 Thrive Fresh Summit Challenge will be open to start-ups from around the world developing AgTech and AgriFood innovation focused on sustainability, digital solutions, food waste reduction, or food safety solutions within the produce and floral industries, it said. Applications are now being accepted with a submission deadline of September 10th.
SVG Thrive will select four exceptional startups from among the applicants to participate in a live-pitch challenge on stage at PMA’s 2019 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo to be held in Anaheim, Calif., scheduled Oct. 17-19 this year. A panel of judges will evaluate the finalists on their ability to present a clear business strategy and communicate their respective AgTech innovations.
The 2019 judging panel includes Robert Herjavec, entrepreneur and shark on ABC’s Shark Tank; John Hartnett, CEO SVG Ventures-Thrive; Jennifer Maloney, food stakeholder manager at Bayer; and Ted Taylor, head of new ventures and business development at Taylor Farms. The winner will be selected and announced on-site at Fresh Summit.
“Both SVG Ventures and PMA have been working closely with experts from Driscoll’s, Taylor Farms and Sun World Innovations to deeply understand the specific industry challenges,” says John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Ventures. “This pitch competition serves as an opportunity to fast-track entrepreneurs who drive us toward a more efficient, sustainable and secure agricultural future.”
“The innovations that are made possible by this partnership will be critical next steps to addressing the big questions of how we will feed our growing world,” adds Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology at PMA. “Our industry will be central to implementing these solutions and I’m thrilled that with this partnership with SVG Ventures, we are key to finding and developing those solutions as well.”
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