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RealEats America won the inaugural Grow-NY competition last year Photo courtesy of RealEats America
FIRST WINNER: RealEats America won the inaugural Grow-NY competition last year. Twenty finalists are vying for the $1 million top prize this year, and the winner will be announced in November.

Grow-NY competition announces 20 finalists

Winners will be chosen Nov. 17-18 during virtual Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the 20 finalists for year two of Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier.

In all, 264 startups applied from 27 countries, including Israel, Germany and Argentina. In the U.S., 26 states were represented, including 98 entries from New York.

A panel of 30 independent judges comprising the spectrum of food, beverage and agriculture businesses, and academics reviewed all the applications to determine the top 20 finalists who will pitch their business plans at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit this November. 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. 

The 20 finalists include:  

  • AgTrace, Florianopolis, Brazil. Provides a traceability solution that incorporates farming information and captures, stores and processes data while connecting stakeholders.
  • ARPAC, Porto Alegro, Brazil. Creates and integrates heavy-lifting drones that apply pesticides in a fast and localized manner, with uniformity and precision.
  • Asarasi, Katonah, N.Y: Recovers the wasted 97% maple water byproducts of the maple industry, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional bottled water.
  • Brytlife foods, Kerhonkson, N.Y. Crafts sustainably sourced vegan artisanal cheese and yogurt with next-level nutrition from 100% plants.
  • Candidus, Hull, Ga.: Develops cost-effective supplemental lighting strategies and control systems for commercial greenhouses. 
  • Crystal Creek Organics, Rochester, N.Y. Converts soluble phosphorous in liquid manure into a non-soluble, revenue-generating, solid byproduct.
  • FreshSource, Giza, Egypt. Empowers smallholder farmers by connecting them to fair, modern and transparent markets. 
  • Halomine, Ithaca, N.Y. Develops anti-microbial products to ensure the safety of our food supply.
  • InnerPlant, Davis, Cal. Genetically transforms plants into living sensors to increase yield and reduce agrochemical waste.
  • Leep Foods, Rochester, N.Y.  Grows premium organic mushrooms using regenerative soil methods on nutrient-enriched American hardwoods for consumers and restaurants.
  • Nordetect, Copenhagen, Denmark. Provides rapid chemical analysis for nutrients in the agrifood industry.
  • Norwhey, Ithaca, N.Y. Transforms New York state’s yogurt whey into delicious and sustainable alcoholic beverages. 
  • PittMoss, Ambridge, Pa. Produces a next-generation growing media that is proven to grow bigger, stronger plants than most peat-based mixes.
  • PureSpace, Busan, South Korea. Extends shelf life and improves food safety by decomposing ethylene gas, airborne mold and viruses effectively and efficiently.
  • Re-Nuble, New York, N.Y. Transforms food waste into industrial-grade, water-soluble, organic hydroponic nutrients for soil-less farming.
  • Ripe.io, New York, N.Y. Provides a platform to access transparent and reliable information on the origin, journey and quality of one’s food. 
  • Simply Good Jars, Philadelphia, Pa. Expands access to sustainable, restaurant-quality meals in a convenient, prepackaged format. 
  • SoFresh, Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. Manufactures a unique packaging material with an organic vapor to extend the shelf life of fresh bread.
  • Soos Technology, Kidron, Israel. Mitigates male-chick culling by transforming male chickens into egg-laying females.
  • Zetifi, New South Wales, Australia. Enables farmers to access fast and reliable connectivity across the entirety of their property.

Judges will base final award decisions on the following five criteria:

1. Viability of Commercialization and Business Model. The potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business.

2. Customer Value. The degree to which the entrant is providing something that customers are willing to pay and addresses a substantial market.

3. Food and Agriculture Innovation. The extent to which the entrant is pushing what’s considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries.  

4. Regional Job Creation. The potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint.

5. Team. The quality and completeness of the team and its readiness to deliver.

All finalists will receive dedicated mentorship from a hand-selected business adviser; additional pitch training to hone their live pitches for the judges; business development support and workshops to connect them to potential partners and opportunities; and networking introductions, business tours and valuable appointments for finalist team representatives. 

The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit attracted more than 900 attendees last year and will be held virtually this year on Nov. 17-18. Finalists will still have a chance to pitch their business plans and answer questions from a live panel of judges.

Attendees can also experience a symposium featuring a series of panels discussing the biggest issues facing the food and agriculture industry. 

Registration is now available and the event is free and open to the public. 

Source: New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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