Thrive Accelerator Selects 2016 Cohort as Land O’ Lakes Joins Mentor Team

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Thrive Accelerator, the Salinas, CA-based food and agriculture startup program, has chosen the 12 finalists for its 2016 cohort and announced a new partnership with Land O’ Lakes, the agriculture cooperative and food brand.

Land O’ Lakes joins other program sponsors such as Western Growers, the member association, Taylor Farms, the fresh produce company, and communications giant Verizon to provide startups with advice, and mentorship.

The program, which venture capital firm SVG Partners launched last year, received nearly 200 applications from 35 countries for its 2016 edition. The pool was whittled down to 30 applicants, who pitched their companies to a diverse group of judges and experts at the March 23 Seed Day.

Judges on the panel included experts from Dole Fresh Vegetables, Taylor Farms, Land O’Lakes, Western Growers, Verizon, Wells Fargo, SAP, Alvarez Technology Group, Royal Rose, Crestlight Venture Productions, and UC Davis and California State University.

The panel selected 12 companies to participate in the accelerator program:

  • AGVOICE – Voice-interactive, hands-free data service for Ag professionals on-the-go
  • Edyn – Smart soil sensors and irrigation controllers for agriculture and gardening
  • Food Origins – Precision harvest data to high-value hand crops
  • GeoVisual Analytics – Machine Learning-based platform to rapidly analyze crop imagery from drones
  • Inteligistics – Wireless temperature visibility solutions for food products
  • MagGrow – Magnetic spraying technology
  • Soliculture – Greenhouse integrated photovoltaics for combined power & agriculture
  • Trace Genomics – Genomics diagnostics for soilborne diseases & early disease risk prediction
  • Wheyhey – High protein, sugar-free ice cream

The program involves an 8-week acceleration process during which the participants will engage in weekly mentor meetings, business strategy reviews, individual pitch training, and matchmaking to help deploy their technologies. Each week of the program has a unique focus, including Pitch Camp, Mentor Engagement, and Field Day.

The companies will also have access to Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology, a new facility in Downtown Salinas dedicated to research and development efforts in agriculture, including water supply and water quality.

Throughout the program, Thrive works with each company to help secure funding from either Thrive or another source.

The accelerator kicks off on April 4, and the participants will participate in a demo day on June 9. The top winning companies will get to participate and feature at the Forbes AgTech Summit on July 13-14, 2016.

Last year’s Thrive Accelerator winners were food-waste to soil input developer California Safe Soil and data-driven health-benefiting ingredients company Nuritas.

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