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Peter Wren-Hilton

Agritech New Zealand & the Farm2050 Ideation Day. It’s time for lift off!

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Agritech New Zealand is proud to be the first ‘Country Partner’ of the Farm2050 ecosystem, committed to advancing the future of food by supporting agritech entrepreneurs and start-ups. This unique ecosystem will be coming together in an Ideation Day, hosted by Innovation Endeavors and Finistere Ventures in Palo Alto on 4 September to help founders think through some of the most difficult technical and business challenges they face.

Farm2050 is a unique collective of global venture funds and international agribusinesses. Corporate members include Bayer CropScience, Syngenta, Corteva, Mars & PepsiCo. Its membership includes global tech firms such as Microsoft & Google X. In August last year, I had the honour of signing the Partnership Agreement with Farm2050 as New Zealand became the collective’s first ‘Country Partner’. The photograph above was taken in Innovation Endeavors Palo Alto office shortly before the signing.

Next month’s Ideation Day is the first initiative if its kind. In New Zealand, Agritech New Zealand is working with the Sprout Accelerator and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise to identify potential start-ups to pitch next month. Each start-up will have the opportunity to present what they are working on at a high level to the broader group and to make specific requests of the Farm2050 membership (e.g. strategy feedback, partnership opportunities, etc.). The entire group will then go into an open brainstorming/Q&A session to provide the start-up with feedback and collaboratively ideate on ways they can be more successful.

This model goes way beyond anything I have seen to-date. By bringing together not only major global investment funds, but also some of the world’s leading agritech minds, start-ups will be able to significantly increase their visibility to a connected audience.

One word of caution. New Zealand’s definition of a start-up and those gathering in Palo Alto are not always the same. Typically, they will have already landed seed funding from professional investors. They will almost certainly have secured or be in the market for Series A funding, enabling them to accelerate growth. But Farm2050’s Ideation Day is more than just about access to capital. It’s about engaging with potential global partners to scale internationally and explore actionable next steps regarding investment, commercial and partnership opportunities.

For any ‘start-up’ selected to pitch at Farm2050’s Ideation Day, the opportunity to connect and engage with the world’s leading agritech collective will be truly transformational.

These are really exciting times for the global agritech sector. It’s crucial that New Zealand plays its part.

Peter Wren-Hilton Peter is Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand and founder of Wharf42 in Tauranga. Peter helps organise major agritech conferences in New Zealand and offshore and connects early stage New Zealand agritech companies with international markets.