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Finalists chosen in 2021 Grow-NY food-agriculture contest

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Twenty finalists have been selected for year three of Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage, and agriculture innovation in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. Grow-NY will award a total of $3 million in prize money to seven winners — this includes a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.

In all, 330 startups applied from 32 countries including Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland. In the U.S., 23 states were represented. About 44 percent of applicants included a female founder, and 51 percent included a founder from an underrepresented minority group. Twelve of the 20 finalists were from New York.

The winners will be chosen at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit on Nov. 16 and 17, 2021.

A panel of 30 independent judges, reflecting a depth and breadth of agriculture, food production, and entrepreneurial expertise, reviewed all the applications to determine the top 20 finalists that will pitch their business plans at the November summit. Among the characteristics the judges will look for are viability of the startup’s business model, diversity and quality of the startup team, and value the innovation offers to customers.

The 20 selected finalists were:

Agri-Trak, Williamson, N.Y. — Agri-Trak is a farm management application suite, developed especially for the apple industry. The suite includes customizable modules that provide real-time information in easy-to-read widgets allowing farms to make daily data-informed decisions.

Asarasi, Katonah, N.Y. — Asarasi recovers the wasted 97% maple water by-products of the maple industry, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional bottled water and helping family farms double their profits on their existing maple crops.​​​​

Ascribe Bioscience, Ithaca, N.Y. — Ascribe Bioscience uses naturally occurring signaling molecules from the soil microbiome to produce a novel class of broad-spectrum, non-toxic biopesticides that prime the plants’ immune systems to enhance resistance to pathogens and increase crop yields.

Beemmunity, New York City, N.Y. — Beemmunity uses microparticle detoxification to provide solutions that protect and preserve pollinator species, changing the impacts of agrochemicals, preserving pollinator species for future generations.

Crystal Creek Organics, Rochester, N.Y. — Crystal Creek has a patented process that converts soluble phosphorus in dairy farm manure into by-product that can be sold to generate additional revenue. The remaining, phosphorus-free liquid is left on the farm, dramatically lowering the farm’s spreading costs.

DraughtLab, Webster, N.Y. — DraughtLab produces high-quality sensory tools for every level of sensory expertise, offering practical and approachable sensory analysis solutions that deliver real-world value to companies of any size.

EmGenisys, Houston, Texas — Emgenisys is a state-of-art embryo health assessment platform that provides the most comprehensive embryo evaluation system, improving pregnancy outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies in livestock.

Every Body Eat, Chicago, Ill. — Every Body Eat makes, markets, and sells delicious food that is free from the most common 14 allergens, corn, and sugar so that people can enjoy it, together, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences.

Foodnerd, Buffalo, N.Y. — Foodnerd creates positively processed food with a purpose from plant-based foods. Their sprouting process maintains or increases increase the nutritional content found naturally in food, rather than degrading it.

Heat Inverse, Ithaca, N.Y. — Heat Inverse has developed a photonic metamaterial that offers cooling solutions with none of the energy input or waste heat associated with conventional cooling—it has the power to revolutionize cooling technologies in agriculture and food production.

Kyomei, Oxford, United Kingdom — Kyomei is making fundamental breakthroughs in animal protein production via plant-based delivery systems at scale, utilizing innovative chloroplast transformations to turn plant structures into animal proteins.

Lupii, Brooklyn, N.Y. — Lupii is unleashing the power of the small‑but‑mighty Lupini bean and disrupting the snack and meal bar category with its first snack-size line of flavors. Lupii Bars, the most unique, vegan protein bars on the block, offers one of the first whole bean based bars on the market.

Neupeak Robotics, Surrey, British Columbia — Neupeak’s fully autonomous berry harvesters are designed to work in all weather and lighting conditions, alongside human workers, to save farmers money by charging a fixed rate per pound of berries collected.

Nordetect, Copenhagen, Denmark — Nordetect provides rapid chemical analysis for nutrients in the Agrifood industry. The company’s first product is a lab-on-a-chip test for nutrients found in soil, water, and leaf samples, aimed at optimizing the amount of fertilizer used to cultivate crops.

Nutreat, Geneva, N.Y. — Nutreat is a line of low glycemic, healthy sweet snacks that leverage science-driven innovation, 100% natural, real, whole food ingredients, and a commitment to uncompromising flavor, and can be enjoyed on the go.

Persistent BioControl, Austin, Texas — Persistent BioControl™ produces biocontrol nematodes that attack, kill, and multiply inside Western Corn Rootworm larvae before they damage crop yield. They are compatible with all CRW management programs, traited corn varieties, soil insecticides, and soil types.

Pheronym, Davis, Calif. — Pheronym uses pheromones to control the behavior and development of microscopic roundworms called nematodes, offering a non-toxic, sustainable, and effective path for farmers as they transition away from conventional pesticides.

ProAgni, Lavington, Australia — ProAgni ProTect is a revolutionary range of supplements and feeds for livestock that lowers methane emissions from sheep and cattle without the use of antibiotics, decreasing a producer’s environmental footprint without increasing costs.

Tropos Technologies, North Tonawanda, N.Y. — Tropos uses patented air control and state-of-the-art environmental controls to offer a superior climate management system, improving sustainability, operations, and food safety standards for greenhouses and indoor farms.

WeRadiate, Rochester, N.Y. — WeRadiate has a turnkey solution to improve soil quality using hardware, software, and data technology, offering a complete array of tools to create high-efficacy and high-quality compost end products at all composting sites.

All finalists will receive:

  • Dedicated mentorship from a hand-selected business advisor;
  • Additional pitch training to hone their live pitches for the judges;
  • Business development support and workshops to connect them to potential partners and opportunities;
  • Introduction to the region’s leaders and resources
  • Networking introductions, business tours, and valuable appointments for finalist team representatives.

The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit will be held in two formats simultaneously this year, both in-person and virtually. The in-person Summit event — where finalists will pitch their business ideas live in front of an audience and answer questions from a judging panel — will be held at the OnCenter in Syracuse. Under current plans, finalists will be on-site for the pitch competition and attendees will have the opportunity to experience a two-day symposium featuring panel discussions on the biggest issues facing the food and agriculture industry.

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