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Finalists Announced for the $1.5M Radicle Challenge to be held at WIA Summit

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall, Women in Agribusiness Media (September 12, 2023)

Since 2019, The Radicle Challenge has recognized the best and brightest entrepreneurs looking to disrupt existing business models or provide solutions in the world of food and ag. Through the years, Radicle has partnered with global ag industry leaders – such as Syngenta, Corteva, World Agri-Tech, and this year, Nutrien – who are spearheading technological innovation and advancement. Together, they host a pitch-day competition where startups present to a panel of industry experts to claim the notable material investment, access to Radicle Growth’s company-building platform, and the valuable collaboration with senior executives, both at Radicle and the partnering company.

Winners of the 2022 Radicle Inclusion Challenge Presented by Nutrien stand along with challenge finalists, judges and Nutrien and Radicle teams

Past winners have included: Agtools, a worldwide SaaS platform gathering real-time government and institutional data of over 500 specialty crops and commodities; FA-Bio, providing game-changing bio-products for agriculture that can replace chemical inputs; Pluton Biosciences, utilizing novel microbes to develop solutions for agriculture and climate; Phospholutions, better solutions for sustainable production and responsible use of phosphorus; MycoTechnology, harnessing the power of mushroom mycelia to create delicious and nutritious foods; and BluNalu, a global leader in cellular aquaculture.

This year, set upon the backdrop of next month’s Women in Agribusiness Summit, complementary to the current theme of inclusion and diversity, the 2023 Radicle Inclusion Challenge Presented by Nutrien, will divide a $1.5 million investment between two recipients from four finalists.

For this Challenge, the focus is on startups owned and/or operated by food and tech entrepreneurs who are women and/or Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in an effort to assist these underrepresented groups (less than three percent of U.S. venture capital is invested in these groups) in their journey towards advancing a sustainable food value chain.

Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, partnered with Radicle Growth to assist diverse groups in agriculture when securing venture capital and access to resources that could help them bring their technologies to market. The impressive applicant pool of over 190 entrepreneurs from 40 countries speaks to the impact diverse leaders and disruptive technologies are having on the industry.

“Building on the success of past Radicle Challenges, and layering in Nutrien’s desire to focus on diversity and inclusion, we have magnified the reach and impact of our combined efforts to transform our food system,” said Kirk Haney, managing partner at Radicle Growth, in this press release. “The mission of these challenges is to find and fund the most innovative entrepreneurs and technologies that are essential to systems-level change, both for the environment and society.”

Finalists for this year’s Challenge, which will take place September 28 in Nashville, Tennessee, alongside the Women in Agribusiness Summit, are:

FarmSense -- Founded in 2016, FarmSense helps farmers simplify pest management and take the guesswork out of insect monitoring. The company's patented FlightSensor™ technology provides real-time insect counts and classifications, giving immediate access for farmers to make mission-critical decisions on crop and pest control.

PheroSyn -- PheroSyn uses sustainable "green chemistry" to produce complex-structured, high-value, unavailable insect pheromones, formulated and sold to distributors for monitoring crop pests in agriculture and horticulture.

Reazent -- Reazent has developed a patented agri-biological technology platform that provides high-efficacy, sustainable alternatives to synthetic agrochemicals. Its biological technology utilizes specific plant growth promoting bacteria strains that exhibit improved root colonization in the soil and increase production of plant-beneficial metabolites enabling them to exhibit enhanced plant growth and crop protection effects.

Vitiport -- Vitiport is developing first-of-its-kind marking pheromones -- sprayable zero-residue products that prevent pests from laying eggs on crops, yet pose no health risk to farmers and the environment.

The four finalists will present to a panel of judges that includes:

  • Consuelo Madere, Board of Directors, Nutrien

  • Noralee Bradley, KC, Executive Vice President, External Affairs and Chief Sustainability & Legal -- Officer, Nutrien

  • Diane Allemang, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, FMC Corporation

  • Kirk Haney, CEO, Radicle Growth

Haney continued, “As an industry, we need to bring new, diverse viewpoints to the table and the Radicle Inclusion Challenge has proven to be a great way to find the best and brightest ag-tech entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world. The Challenge acts as a platform to bring attention, funding, mentoring and access to our ecosystem in a way that drives innovation for our entire industry.”

Learn more here.


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