39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
E.B. Solomont, Reporter- St. Louis Business Journal, Sep 11, 2013, 9:27am CDT
The days of a single scientific advance alone having a maximum impact on agriculture are over, Monsanto’s top technology executive told the crowd at the Ag Innovation Showcase on Tuesday.
The three-day event, taking place at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, drew more than 300 participants, from investors to entrepreneurs and heavy hitters in the ag industry.
In a keynote talk, Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley described “tremendous challenges and tremendous business opportunities” to use advances in agriculture to address global issues such as food security.
A key is integrating technologies available to growers, he said. “A better seed needs better planting technology. All advances are linked,” he said. The “interaction of systems is key, to ratchet up yields, create new business opportunities.”
Tapping into Fraley’s theme of collaboration, Ag Innovation Showcase organizers introduced a new networking tool this year: an online meeting planner.
Developed in-house by the Larta Institute of Los Angeles (the event’s co-organizer with BRDG Park), it enables users to search for attendees and request a meeting at a specific time and place inside the Danforth Center, where the showcase event is taking place.
As of Tuesday, 293 confirmed meetings were scheduled via the online tool.
Over the course of the three-day event, 19 plant science startups will showcase their technology, including St. Louis-based Benson Hill Biosystems Inc.
The event has previously been a fertile ground for plant startups. Since 2009, presenting companies have secured $95 million in funding.
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