For startups, the upcoming AgriFutures evokeAG. 2023 Down to Earth event is a major opportunity to showcase their vision to Australia’s agrifood tech community and connect with potential customers and investors. Companies have until the end of this month to apply to participate.
evokeAG. is the Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event. Equally well known is the AgriFutures evokeAG. Startup Program, which since 2019 has been instrumental in helping agrifood startups — both local and global — to connect with farmers, researchers, corporates, governments and investors.
evokeAG. Down to Earth will take place in Adelaide, South Australia on 21-22 February 2023 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
One place, many connections
Past participant Nancy Schellhorn, CEO of pest management startup RapidAIM, sees the evokeAG. Startup Program as a chance to engage with a wide array of individuals in a single place.
“It was very well integrated in terms of the type of stakeholders,” she says of evokeAG. “Of course there were lots of startup companies, but also everything from government to industry to investors and also media. And then of course, there are customers.”
Brisbane-based RapidAIM helps farmers detect and deal with pests through its mobile monitoring system. This insect trap is equipped with sensors that can identify certain species when they land in the trap. With this, farmers can see which pests are in their fields, and at what precise location.
At the evokeAG. 2020 Investor Pitch Dinner, Nancy spoke to a room of investors about how the platform reduces costs and losses related to insects like the fruit fly.
“Everybody knows how challenging it can be to get investors and customers when you’re a brand-new company. I took the opportunity to have time with investors – we got to know Sarah Nolet and Matthew Pryor from Tenacious Ventures more – to showcase what we were doing and to see what others are doing. So much can be learned and gained in such a short period of time.”
Since that time, RapidAIM has raised funding from Tenacious Ventures and evolved its bio-digital crop protection product and service to address mega-pests. That product is set to launch in early 2023.
She describes evokeAG. as a “fantastic concentration of innovation in the agricultural space, both within Australia and globally.”
Connection beyond Australia
Regrow Ag founder and CEO Anastasia Volkova echoes Nancy’s thoughts on the many opportunities for cultivating connections through evokeAG.
She said many events only target a segment of agrifood: corporates or farmers or manufacturers. “It’s quite rare to have an event where you have all the different audiences coming together and having a conversation and all voices are included and amplified.”
This variety translates into more connections with investors and even entrepreneurs, she explained. It also helps strengthen Australia’s ties to the global agrifoodtech community and vice versa.
Anastasia pitched her remote sensing app, FluroSense to investors at evokeAG. in 2019. At that time, she was already scaling her agritech startup, then FluroSat, in the US and saw an opportunity to build a stronger bridge between Australia and the US through the event.
“We wanted to bridge the two markets to help innovative Australian companies see their way into the US market. And we have our own network that evokeAG. has helped reinforce. We have a framework for bringing together our Australian investor and support networks with our team of leaders from the US.”
FluroSat acquired soil health company Dagan to form Regrow in 2021, and the Regrow team raised a $38 million Series B round this year. Numerous high-profile agrifood companies, including Cargill, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s use the company’s monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) platform to quantify their GHG emissions and help their farmers transition to regenerative agriculture.
Anastasia attributes part of her company’s growth to events like evokeAG..
Regrow has scaled to around 400 million acres since the company participated in evokeAG.. “We are monitoring a very large percentage of arable land between the two continents [North America and Australia]. These are the kinds of things [events like evokeAG..] are capable of doing.”
Opportunities for startups
Startups attending evokeAG. 2023 will have three opportunities to showcase their technologies and products:
- Startup Alley will feature 40 local and international startups via exhibition-style booths. Successful companies will exhibit alongside Startup Showcase and Investor Pitch Dinner participants.
- Startup Showcase will invite seven local and global startups onto the evokeAG. stage to give a three-minute presentation on their product or service.
- The Investor Pitch Dinner will feature five Australian and/or New Zealand investment-ready startups. These companies will pitch the room of Australian and international investors. Startups preparing for or in the midst of seed funding and above are eligible.
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