Today the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology will hold its grand opening on Main Street in Salinas Valley and announce the center’s first six tenants.
The center aims to be a hub for the accelerated development and rapid deployment of agriculture technology startups.
Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, will be joined at the event by some of the centers new sponsors: Bruce Taylor, chairman, and CEO of Taylor Farms and Vic Smith, president and CEO of JV Smith Companies.
Other sponsors to the center are Bayer CropSciences, Farm Credit, Monsanto, Prophet North America and Toro Micro-Irrigation.
The sponsors are providing financial support for the center to keep the costs low for the startup tenants and they will be asked to participate in an advisory group to help the center identify and prioritize key technologies for the industry. The center will also seek their advice on the programming which has yet to be finalized but is expected to include monthly talks from CEOs, business-oriented education, and briefings on industry challenges, according to a spokesperson for the center.
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“In addition to the routine programming, we are contemplating several standalone events that will vet, showcase and/or develop technologies,” he told AgFunderNews.
The first six tenants to join the center are:
California Safe Soil, a biological fertilizer manufacturer using food waste;
GeoVisual Analytics, a warning and monitoring system to diagnose field problems using aerial imagery and leaf-level photos;
HeavyConnect, a cloud-based platform that automates and simplifies a farmer’s daily tasks;
iFoodDecisionSciences, a food safety software application for the specialty crop industry value chain;
Inteligistics, a cool chain company using IoT and Big Data;
Concentric Power, a clean energy infrastructure company for the agriculture industry.
These businesses were chosen as part of an initial prospecting process and have “already established themselves as solid companies with intriguing technologies” said the spokesperson.
But the center is still accepting applications as it can carry up to 34 companies at full capacity at a combination of hot desks and workstations.
A resident workstation costs $500 a month, whereas a hot desk costs $250 a month.
An advisory committee consisting of Western Growers’ board of directors and staff, sponsors of the center and collaborative partners like SVG Partners, the venture capital firm, will assess applicants.
Startups interested in joining the center can contact Lisa Dobbins on [email protected] or (831) 588-4505.
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