SVG Partners and Land O’Lakes, Inc. Extend AgTech Innovation Relationship for Next Three Years

SVG Partners and Land O’Lakes, Inc. Extend AgTech Innovation Relationship for Next Three Years

SAN FRANCISCO (November 13, 2017) – SVG Partners announced today that one of the leading agriculture cooperatives, Land O’Lakes, Inc., has renewed its commitment to the THRIVE AgTech Venture and Innovation Platform for the next three years. In 2016 and 2017, Land O’Lakes brought its knowledge and experience as a judge and mentor to THRIVE, a highly selective investment program accelerating technology-enabled agricultural startups in the U.S. and globally. To date, Land O’Lakes distributes over 30 AgTech solutions through its Winfield United AnswerTech™ platform and with the help of SVG Partners’ and the THRIVE Accelerator, works to identify the next generation of breakthrough companies.

Clinton Talks Technology

The Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton unveiled her technology manifesto, which includes a plan to upskill America for the 21st century and invest in female entrepreneurs. Her manifesto also includes a plan to invest in computer science and STEM education.

A Five Point Plan:

  • Investing in computer science and STEM education to boost the human capital pipeline
  • Rolling out broadband for all Americans and laying the groundwork for the next generation of the mobile internet and the internet of things
  • Ensuring the US maintains its role as a leading country for technology by ensuring more tech exports and the free flow of data
  • Supporting innovation by creating rules that foster healthy competition and intellectual property and safeguard privacy. This suggests Clinton has plans to take on the blight of the patent trolls that are stifling America's innovation economy
  • Looking at e-government initiatives to make government smarter and more efficient

Clinton has pointed out that only one in five Americans has ever taken a computer science course, at a time when there we ore than 500,000 well paying tech jobs unfilled last year. By 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs in America but only 400,000 computer science jobs to fill them.

If elected President, Clinton plans to provide every student in the United States with the opportunity to learn computer science by creating new computer science grants called CS-i3. She also plans to engage the private and non-profit sectors to train up to 50,000 computer science teachers in the next decade.

The overall subject of STEM education will be tackled, with under-represented populations given priority. According to Clinton, less than 40 percent of high school graduates have taken a physics course and the lack of STEM education is even more pronounced in schools with students of color.

To build the human talent pipeline for 21st century jobs, Clinton proposes to provide continued access to higher education and training opportunities for people at all stages of their career. Her plan also proposes $10b of federal funding to enable students to participate in new kinds of education programs, from nanodegrees to accelerated learning programs around coding and technical training.

A core aspect of Clinton's tech agnda involves diversiofying the tech workforce with a special emphasis on the advancement of minorities and women in research, tech and engineering.

She said that diversifying the tech workforce can generate an additional $500b in new value for the tech industry and boost America's GDP by up to 1.6%.

Clinton has pointed out the percentage of bank loans that have hone out to small businesses has declined by a third since 2000 and that 70% of venture capital is clustered mostly around three states. In addition, she notes that only 7% of VC goes to firms with women founders and a mere 1% is directed to African American women founders. 

 

CEO and Founder of SVG Partners John Hartnett has been appointed to chair a new group that will advise the Northern Ireland Executive on trade and investment opportunities

John Hartnett will advise the executive on west coast and Silicon Valley trade openings

John Hartnett will advise the executive on west coast and Silicon Valley trade openings

From BBC News

Two prominent US-based businessmen have been appointed to chair a new group that will advise the Northern Ireland Executive on trade and investment opportunities.

The first and deputy first ministers made the announcement on a US visit.

Shaun T Kelly will advise on east coast opportunities and John Hartnett will advise on the west coast and Silicon Valley.

Mr Kelly, from Belfast, is the New York-based chief operating officer of professional services firm KPMG.

Mr Hartnett is the founder of SVG Partners, a technology investment company.

Competitive

The men will assist Invest NI in developing opportunities as part a renewed effort investment effort that involves lower corporation tax.

The tax rate in Northern Ireland is due to be cut to 12.5% in 2018.

Shaun T Kelly said a lower rate of corporation tax would make Northern Ireland "a much more attractive proposition" for potential investors

Shaun T Kelly said a lower rate of corporation tax would make Northern Ireland "a much more attractive proposition" for potential investors

Mr Kelly said Northern Ireland was working in a "very competitive environment" but does stand out to potential investors.

"[Companies] are also looking at eastern Europe, India, Asia," he said.

Influence

"Yes, Northern Ireland is definitely on the map, but it's competitive and that's where the lower corporation tax is going to really help.

"It makes [Northern Ireland] a much more attractive proposition."

First Minister Arlene Foster said it was important to have "two men who know Northern Ireland very well, situated here in the United States to advocate for us".

"We will come to the United States and talk to people of influence, but they are here all the time and we felt they could help us bring more jobs to Northern Ireland."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the two men were "doing this because they are emotionally and intellectually engaged in trying to assist our process".

In its Second Year, Thrive Accelerator Sees Twice as Many Applicants

Salinas, CA -- After a successful first year, the Thrive Accelerator program (thriveaccelerator.com) has seen a doubling of applicants for its second class. By the deadline of Jan. 31, nearly 200 agtech startups had applied for one of 10 slots in the eight-week Thrive program, which includes mentoring, strategic consulting, matchmaking with technology users, pitch training and a demo day.

The most promising of the applicants will be invited to a March 23 "Seedcamp" pitch session, after which the top 10 will be chosen by a jury that will include industry experts, investors and Salinas City Manager Ray Corpuz.

San Jose-based SVG Partners (svgpartners.com) will help selected startups secure funding. Winners will also be recognized at the second Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit, to be held in Salinas July 13 and 14.

Last year's first place Thrive winner was Nuritas (nuritas.com), a company focused on "the discovery of novel and natural active ingredients with scientifically proven health benefits." 

"Winning the Thrive Accelerator award delivered in so many ways," said Nuritas founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Nora Khaldi. "However, two vital areas stand out above all others. Firstly it provided Nuritas with the oxygen of great publicity throughout the full arena of our key national and international stakeholders. It then also provided invaluable connectivity at the highest levels of industry through ongoing face-to-face opportunities. Thrive Accelerator and Salinas have been true rocket fuel to Nuritas."

SVG Partners CEO John Hartnett, Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, and Nuritas Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Nora Khaldi at the Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit, July 8, 2015. A high resolution version of this photo will be available temporarily for download from this link.

SVG Partners CEO John Hartnett, Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, and Nuritas Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Nora Khaldi at the Forbes Reinventing America: The AgTech Summit, July 8, 2015.

A high resolution version of this photo will be available temporarily for download from this link.

The Thrive Accelerator is a part of a strategy developed by the City of Salinas and SVG Partners to establish Salinas as an agtech capital. That strategy is based on building an ecosystem for agtech business development based on the region's existing strengths: land, climate, knowledge, its status as an ag capital, and its location in one of most innovative parts of the world. The strategy's components include education; research; access to investors, customers and partners; marketing; and active assistance to promising startups.

Thrive's accelerator program is one form of that assistance; another is the incubator established by the Western Growers Association in the new Taylor Farms Building. The Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology comes with an initial $4 million investment fund seeded by the WGA.

Thrive is now an international community of more than 500 food and agtech entrepreneurs, professionals, and industry experts.

This year's Thrive program applicants come from 36 countries in the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America. They represent a range of agtech sectors, including cleantech, precision farming, farm management, food innovation, food packaging, food safety, biotech, alternative growing, production efficiency, and robotics.

"With Salinas as its base, Thrive is bringing together a global network of innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and technology and ag companies," said John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Partners. "They're drawn together by the huge opportunity that arises from a huge challenge: feeding the world, sustainably."

"We're delighted that so many entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders see the potential we see," said Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter. "Salinas has a history as a leader in ag. Our future is as a leader in agtech."

Photo and Graphics

Go to this temporary link to download:

  1. High resolution photo of John Hartnett, Steve Forbes and Nora Khalid (as above)
  2. City of Salinas logo
  3. Thrive Accelerator logo
  4. SVG Partners logo

Recent Media Coverage

Los Angeles Times: "Salinas hopes to turn farm workers' children into computer scientists"
Salinas Californian: "Salinas new home for innovation, technology in ag biz"

More Information

Thrive Accelerator: thriveaccelerator.com
SVG partners: svgpartners.com
City of Salinas business development: businessinsalinas.com

Calling All AgTech and FoodTech Entrepreneurs!

Calling All AgTech and FoodTech Entrepreneurs!

Join the most vibrant innovation ecosystem shaping the future of Food and Agriculture. Apply before January 31, 2016 for the second annual THRIVE Accelerator Program.   

THRIVE Accelerator brings together a powerful community of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and technologists, all with a common trait: the ability to dream big and execute on a vision for making an impact on the world of food and agriculture through technology. Through THRIVE, select companies will gain access to the best expertise and resources of top agriculture and tech leaders to help deploy their innovative technologies. There is no cost to participate. 

THRIVE Accelerator is an 8-week program for startup companies in the Ag Tech or Food Tech space from around the world. It begins in Spring 2016 and culminates with ten finalists highlighted at the Forbes AgTech Summit in the Summer of 2016.