SVG Ventures of Los Gatos, Calif., and the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association (PMA) have entered into a three-year strategic partnership to connect PMA growers with cutting-edge technology.
An agri-food innovation ecosystem, SVG Ventures-Thrive will lead panel conversations on agri-food and ag-tech at PMA’s annual Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Anaheim, Calif., to be held Oct. 17-19. SVG will also partner with PMA to launch the Thrive Fresh Summit Challenge live-pitch competition in October.
Entrepreneur Robert Herjavec of ABC’s “Shark Tank” will serve as a celebrity panel judge for the competition, in which startups developing technology for the produce and floral industry will compete for the chance to receive a $100,000 investment award and other prizes.
The Thrive Fresh Summit Challenge winner will have the opportunity to join the award-winning Thrive VI Accelerator Program and present at the 2019 Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, Calif., with the chance to win an additional $100,000 investment.
In addition to Herjavec, the 2019 judging panel includes John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Ventures-Thrive; Jennifer Maloney, food stakeholder manager for Bayer; and Ted Taylor, head of new ventures and business development for 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,” Hartnett said in a release. “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,” said Vonnie Estes, VP of technology for PMA.
Applications are now being accepted until Sept. 10. SVG Ventures-Thrive will select four startups from among the applicants to participate in a live-pitch challenge on stage at PMA’s 2019 Fresh Summit. To apply, visit the Thrive website.