39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
Dust off your elevator speech and put on your sports coat: It’s time again for the Ag Innovation Showcase.
The annual event, hosted by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, brings in startup founders and venture capitalists from around the country and the world to St. Louis to discuss the latest technologies. But instead of talking about social media or ride-sharing apps, the Ag Innovation crowd talks about how to grow the most food per acre, reduce environmental impact and use natural resources more efficiently.
The forum also gives companies trying to be the most cutting edge at what they do a chance to pitch their products and services to potential investors and business partners. Among the topics at this year’s showcase is the growing field of precision farming, which often involves the application of data analytics to farming.
Executives from four companies pitched four different platforms that use data to manage different kinds of farms or aspects of farming. Among them was John Corbett, president and CEO of Wheat Ridge, Colorado-based aWhere, which Corbett describes as “big data for agriculture.” AWhere’s platform takes local weather data, agronomic models and market information to feed cloud applications and produce “hyper-local” recommendations for farmers.
Fresno, California-based OnFarm also produces analytics and data-based decision-making tools for farmers, often by pooling and analyzing data from farm machines and sensors. CEO and founder Lance Donny said that plenty of data exist for farmers, but often are siloed or disconnected from other kinds of data. “Farmers want a single system and dashboard they can make decisions from,” he said.
The company expects to generate $50 million in revenue by 2018, Donny said.
The forum for precision ag companies also included:
| impactBRDG ParkAg innovation showcase