Seed World

Ag Innovation Showcase to Spotlight 18 Early-Stage Companies

Larta Institute, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Bio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park announced 18 early-stage companies that will spotlight their innovative work at the 9th annual Ag Innovation Showcase, Sept. 11-13 at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Presenting companies will showcase their innovations in the areas of precision agriculture, robotics and big data, pathogen and disease control, biologics, processing technology and alternative food systems designed to address a range of challenges in global agriculture.

For the past eight years, Ag Innovation Showcase has proven to be a valuable experience for startups in the agtech sector. Since its inception, 150 industry technologies have been vetted and many have garnered the attention of investors. Since 2009, $510 million in capital has been raised by presenting companies. In addition to a focus on early-stage innovators in food and agriculture, a total of 14 diverse prominent speakers in the field will take the stage, including an opening keynote address from Adrian Percy, Bayer head of the Crop Science Research and Development division.

A panel of judges selected the 18 companies from a competitive field of 63 applicants based on their ability to positively disrupt agriculture in six sectors: ingredients and markets, decontamination and disease detection, beneficials and biologics, genetics, forecast and visualization, and recovery of inputs.

“Each year, we seek to showcase innovations and innovators, foster conversations and point to trends affecting agriculture and food,” says Rohit Shukla, Larta Institute founder and CEO. “We have plotted the evolution of the showcase from its earliest days pointing to precision agriculture, biologicals and the development of data as a driving force. And we’ve sought to highlight and encourage the growth of diversity in our community. This is innovation at ground zero.”

Supporting this trend, four of the participating agtech companies were founded by women, SomaDetect, Amebagone, LLC, Visual Farms, LLC and Climate Forecast Applications Network, LLC, and will be represented by their CEO and founding teams.

2017 presenting companies are listed below in their categories.

Ingredients & Markets:

  • Bonumose Biochem, LLCProduces sweet ingredients that lack the same negative health consequences of traditional sugar, while significantly reducing production costs.
  • Aspire Food GroupUses robotics, IoT and automation to farm insects that have a similar protein quality to meat and environmental footprint of plants. Fully-automated and modular technology can be scaled to any size in any geography.
  • Bugeater Foods Food products with improved nutrition value containing insect protein powders.

Decontamination & Disease Detection:

  • SnapDNA – Develops low cost, rapid, high throughput, genetic analysis for seeds and pathogens. For food safety, SnapDNA can eliminate 3-day test/hold with projected 2-hour total time-to-result pathogen analysis, elevating supply chain transparency, providing quantitative, strain specific results for rapid identification, isolation, and eradication of pathogen contamination in food production.
  • NanoGuard – A new non-thermal pasteurization technology for grain, fresh produce, spices and other food articles to reduce losses and improve the safety, wholesomeness and security of our food.
  • SomaDetect – A precision-dairy company that is creating an in-line system for measuring the two most critical indicators of dairy-quality: somatic cells and fat content. It connects farmers with every cow and enables early diagnosis of problems than might arise.

Beneficials and Biologics:

  • 3Bar Biologics Inc. – Biologics microbial inoculant delivery system, Bio-Yield, stabilizes beneficial microbial preparations improving their efficacy on farm, shelf-life, and ease of application and also expanding the types of microbes available for commercialization.
  • NovoBind Livestock Therapeutics, Inc. – Cost-effective feed additives that function as alternatives to antibiotics. Their products specifically target and neutralize specific pathogens like Salmonella, from livestock.
  • Amebagone Inc. – Natural biocontrol agents of bacterial pathogens of plants to control invasive and destructive bacterial diseases naturally, without spraying antibiotics or copper, which have limited effectiveness and can be toxic to crops.
  • Bee Vectoring Technologies- Turns bees into delivery agents for mixtures of biological inputs for crop pest management.


  • Agribody Technologies, Inc. – Genetic modification (GM) or genome editing (GE) technology delays onset of plant senescence, while increasing resistance to diseases and sub lethal stresses such as drought, heat, cold, salt, low nutrients and crowding in many key crop plants.
  • New West Genetics – Ensures stable genetics, optimizes desirable traits, and leads the industry as the first commercial organization to adapt cannabis for sustainable and large-scale production in the U.S.
  • Accelerated Ag Technologies, LLC –PowerPollenSM enables hybrid crops through cross pollination. The novel pollen handling process decreases the need for multiple resource processes in seed production and increases yield and seed genetic integrity.

Forecasts & Visualization:

  • Climate Forecast Applications Network, LLC – AgriCast, integrates meteorological forecast information, crop specific forecasts, yield/development models and web-based interactive decision tools. It has the potential to change the current dynamics of the agricultural sector through reducing yield loss and disaster payouts, reducing on-farm resource use, stabilizing food and input prices, making commodities trading more profitable and supporting long-term investment strategies.
  • Visual Farms, LLC – Improves farm profitability and sustainability by providing independent machine learning systems to farms with algorithms that match optimal hybrids from virtually the entire available market to each farm’s growing conditions and over time, become farms’ Machine Learning system
  • Wisran – Identifies operation logistic inefficiencies in real-time for growers to capture profits.

Recovery of Inputs:

  • Renix Inc. – Delivering excellence in Ion Exchange, Renix provides innovative and integrated solutions for agricultural and industrial liquid purification and recovery of valuable solids
  • Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling, LLC – Develops systems that recover and upcycle low-grade resources into high value products, such as high-quality fertilizer from water waste systems that helps prevent pollution, ensure food security, and lower the cost of waste water treatment.

“Agriculture technologies are responding to shifting consumer demands and disrupting how farmers and the food industry grow and produce food under changing environmental conditions,” says Claire Kinlaw, Ag Program director at Larta Institute.

For tickets and additional information, visit