AGRIVEST 2022 – The empowerment of startups is for the benefit of everyone
I was honored to attend the AgriVest Conference, Israel’s premier agtech event that took place for the 10th time, on November 8th in Tel Aviv. The conference, a joint event from GrowingIL, The Trendlines Group, and Greensoil Investments has been firmly established during the past years and has played an important part in putting foodtech & agtech on the map. During the same week of the conference, ‘The World’s Climate Conference’ took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. These two major events taking place so close to one another emphasized the importance of the search for solutions for dealing with the climate crisis.
Fascinating speakers on compelling issues:
The hall entrance was the place to meet and mingle and get to know more than 30 representatives from various Startups that came to reveal their latest technologies and inventions. After networking and small talk, we took our places for the beginning of the conference.
The conference opened with the keynote speaker Adam Bergman (Citi) with an explanation of the importance of creating Sustainable Food Systems for a Net Zero Future, and how agtech plays the main role in this procedure.
The second session, held by Bob Grossman (Greenberg Traurig) and Ryan Teksten (Leaps by Bayer) addressed the issue of unearthing the Currency of Ag Carbon, Soil Health, and Sustainability. Grossman expanded on the subject of carbon measuring, the benefits for the farmers, and the understanding of regulations and the different stakeholders in the industry.
The lecture and explanation ‘Sowing the Seeds for Exits’, powered by Start-Up Nation Central consisted of several speakers:
Ido Yosovzon (Start-Up Nation Central)
Shubhang Shankar (Syngenta Group Ventures)
Ranveer Chandra (Microsoft)
Covadonga Fernandez (Kbota)
Each explains the challenges startups face, and traces recent investment trends in agtech.
The next session arose the question “Alternative Protein – Fad or the Future?”
Led by Amit Harel (Deloitte Catalyst), Gil Shalev (Equinom), Jolene Lum (Nurasa), Angela Ailloni (Ginkgo Bioworks), and Sarai Kemp (Trendlines Agrifood Fund).
All trying to answer the above question and to predict whether alternative protein is a bubble waiting to burst or will this be a strong lasting trend.
Right after, a new and fascinating session started, held by Arama Kukutau (Plenty), Steven Sibolkin (BioLumic), and Alexey Pud (Vertical Field) on taking Indoor Ag. to Scale Over the Next Decade, sustaining a growing population in the face of climate change, and the evolving food system with an emphasize on vertical farming.
On the topic of Farm Management and Supply Chain Optimization, we listened to Dr. Gal Ehrlich (Erlich Group), along with Noa Isralowitz (InNegev), Tomer Tzach (CropX), Fredrik Östbye (Aliaxis Next), Arnon Rosenbaum (Netafim), Dganit Vered (smart Agro).
They spoke about the way digital technologies are completely transforming the agricultural sector worldwide, and who will be the biggest winners of this emerging sector. And from digital to Regenerative Agriculture, we learned about regenerative farming practices and the technologies that support them, from Dr. Roy Steiner (Rockefeller Foundation) Barbara Guerpillon (Dole), Ofer Hochberg (Adama), and Dr. Naruemon Srisumam (Thai Wah).
The closing of the sessions was an investors panel under the headline: ‘Investing in Agtech in an Ever-changing Environment’. In between the sessions and panels, the ‘Best Israeli Agtech Company Competition’ took place, presenting pitches from 12 companies selected out of dozens for a chance to win the iconic AgriVest Startup Competition. The winner of the competition ‘BeeHero’ – a startup that provides premium bees that pollinate crops with precision, was announced right before the final investor’s event: fast-paced pitches of 30 leading Israeli AgTech startups of different product stages and sectors of their latest technology.
Addressing world challenge:
The challenge growers around the world are facing is common to all: to grow more with less- more crops and more food with less land, less water, and less energy. Israel might be a small area geographically, but consists of a scarcity of agricultural and natural resources and has pioneered numerous solutions to make the desert bloom. This makes Israel the ideal place to learn about and embrace new agtech ideas and technologies that will help the world “grow more with less” in the upcoming decades.
It was a great pleasure, both professionally and personally to have the opportunity to share knowledge, manage networking and hear about innovative technologies in the agtech field from international investors and industry leaders.
I want to thank Dana Keidar & GrowingIL for the organizing the event, looking forwards to participating next year!