Nutrien Radicle Challenge Pitch Day brings together entrepreneurs, investors to accelerate innovation Radicle Growth, an acceleration platform for early-stage ag and food technologies, revealed Tuesday the eight Canadian-based entrepreneurs who will compete at the first-ever Nutrien-Radicle Challenge Pitch Day Competition in Saskatoon on Oct. 1-2. One growth-stage company will receive US$1 million in funding and an early-stage company will receive US$250,000.
More than 100 of Canada’s most ambitious ag and food technology innovators submitted proposals, with four companies selected as growth-stage finalists and four earning a spot in the early-stage competition.
“We are very pleased with the outstanding response that the Nutrien-Radicle Challenge Canada has received from leading entrepreneurs and start-ups developing groundbreaking agricultural technologies all across the country,” said Mark Thompson, EVP & Chief Corporate Development and Strategy Officer at Nutrien. “By providing funding and strategic support to the winners of the Challenge, Nutrien and Radicle are accelerating the pace of innovation in Canada and enabling new agricultural solutions that can help make growers around the world more sustainable, efficient and profitable. As a global leader in agriculture, Nutrien is excited to bring this unique and innovative Challenge to Canada for the first time.”
Meet The Finalists The Nutrien-Radicle Challenge Canada invited Canadian ag and food tech entrepreneurs developing groundbreaking solutions to apply for investment. Radicle Growth evaluated the applicants to identify and accelerate the development of the most promising ag and food tech companies in Canada. Growth-stage applicants were required to have raised a minimum of US$3 million in investment capital, while early-stage companies needed to have previously raised a minimum of US$100k in investment capital, in-kind capital or have gone through an incubator or accelerator program. The innovators represent the full spectrum of agriculture – from input development to innovative data and crop management technologies to food safety and distribution systems. The finalists in the US$1 million growth-stage category are:
● FarmLead, Ottawa, Ont.– A marketplace that enables grain farmers and buyers to prospect, negotiate, and execute grain deals within a trusted network.
● Renaissance Bioscience, Vancouver, B.C. – A bioengineering company that uses yeast as a platform microbe to create valuable industrial products for commercial partners.
● P&P Optica, Waterloo, Ont. – A food processing technology provider that leverages hyperspectral imaging to detect foreign objects and assess food quality.
● Terramera, Vancouver, B.C .– A developer of high-performance natural alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers that has pioneered a method to target active ingredients to cellular delivery. The finalists in the US$250,000 early-stage category are:
● First Pass Technologies, Calgary, Alta. – Uses machine learning to optimize route selection within a farm by integrating into existing, embedded guidance hardware supplied by equipment manufacturers.
● Livestock Water Recycling, Calgary, Alta. – Segregates and concentrates manure nutrients into two valuable fertilizer products while recycling clean water for reuse.
● Motorleaf, Montreal, Que. – Uses artificial intelligence to make precise and automated yield forecasts for commercial hydroponic greenhouses.
● Precision.ai, Saskatoon – Builds artificially intelligent drones that autonomously survey fields in real-time to recognize plant growth and spot-spray weeds with surgically targeted micro-doses.
Companies will be evaluated by a panel of judges, including: • Chuck Magro, President and CEO, Nutrien • Mark Thompson, Chief Corporate Development and Strategy Officer, Nutrien • Neal Gutterson, Chief Technology Officer, Corteva • Claudia Roessler, Director of Agriculture, Microsoft • Kirk Haney, Managing Partner, Radicle Growth
“There is a shortage of funding and company building expertise to carry ag and food tech entrepreneurs forward to sufficiently develop their technology before trying to raise their next round of funding,” said Kirk Haney, Managing Partner, Radicle Growth. “Through investing the amount that entrepreneurs need to be successful at various stages of development, preparing them for their next round of funding, and providing them access to Radicle and Nutrien’s platforms, the Nutrien-Radicle Challenge Canada will ensure the success of rising stars in the ag and food tech landscape.”