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Connecting Innovators, Investors, Industry Professionals and Early Adopter Customers

From improvements in nutritional value, to better resource efficiency, to improved yield, to better cost controls, the agriculture industry is ripe for disruption. It’s happening already, with harvesting automation systems, sensor-based farm management tools and other advanced technologies already appearing on the modern farm. iSelect is investing in the entrepreneurs who are making these innovations happen.

Gone are the days when big, industry-shaping innovations came out of corporate R&D departments. With the recent mega-mergers in agriculture, the market has changed to allow entrepreneurship to set the pace for food and agricultural innovation.

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“Given the overall AgTech entrepreneurial activity in the region, and the large number of multinational players, the American Heartland can be a powerful influence in driving the objectives of the AgTech revolution. Taken together, these resources indicate a regional competitive advantage in AgTech, similar to what the Silicon Valley cluster has provided for the IT industry.”

“AgTech: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Growth”, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, April 2014

iSelect Portfolio Companies

iSelect focuses on early-stage food and agriculture companies that are poised to help push the next agricultural revolution forward. We deliberately invest in companies that can make a positive impact on our society, as well as on the bottom line.

Harvest CROO has developed a robotic strawberry harvester designed to solve the labor crisis in specialty agriculture. The Company designs and delivers robotic harvesters via a service model that combines advanced robotics, computer vision and machine learning to inspect, pick and pack specialty produce at equal to or greater than the speed and accuracy of human picking crews.
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Geltor, Inc. designs recombinant proteins that are produced by its proprietary cellular factories in bulk and at low cost for consumer and technical products. Using its platform technology, Geltor can quickly and inexpensively manufacture proteins for a wide range of industrial customers. Geltor’s first product, N-CollageTM, is synthetic collagen sold to brands and ingredient manufacturers in the cosmetics and personal care (C&PC) industry.
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Series Seed Extension
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Bonumose is commercializing low-glycemic index, natural sugars through a proprietary, cost-effective process. Due to public health issues connected to obesity and diabetes, consumer packaged goods firms are reducing traditional, added sugars and ramping their search for alternative sweeteners. The global market for food sweeteners is estimated to reach nearly $111.0 billion by 2020, of which traditional sugars hold an 80% market share. According to estimates, alternative sweeteners have the potential to replace between 2% and 25% of sugar. However, expensive production processes, bitter taste profiles, and poor food functionality, have stymied the growth of alternative sweeteners. Bonumose uses a proprietary enzymatic process to cost effectively convert commodity, agricultural feedstocks (e.g., corn or potato starch) into beneficial, natural sugars with taste and food functionality profiles like those of sucrose.
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Agrilyst, Inc. is a SaaS platform that tracks and analyzes farm data, helping indoor farms optimize plant performance and reduce operating expenses. From 2016 to 2023, the global indoor farming market is projected to grow at a 24% CAGR, reaching $6.4 billion in size by 2023 . On average, profitable indoor farms have been operating for at least 7 years . This is driven largely by an inability to understand, measure, and monitor the key cost drivers of production. Agrilyst’s SaaS system allows indoor farmers of all sizes to focus on the linkage all the way from sales forecasting to production planning, enabling them to reduce costs and increase profitability.
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Agrible sells software that connects the agricultural supply chain from field-to-market, providing critical sustainability, agronomic, and yield data. In an era when consumers demand to know what is grown (e.g., GMO vs non-GMO) and how it is grown (e.g., sustainable, organic, etc.), Agrible is the only solution that provides verifiable visibility from what goes in the ground to what goes in the package, with implications on how agricultural products are grown, traded, transported, processed, and labeled.
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ProteoSense is commercializing a proprietary biosensor for food safety testing. Current tests require expensive, specialized equipment and personnel, take anywhere from 12-hours to days, and often require food to be placed on hold until results are available. ProteoSense’s high-sensitivity, portable system detects foodborne pathogens in less than 2-hours, reducing test time from days to minutes, an important distinction for perishable foods with a limited shelf life.
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Benson Hill Biosystems, Inc. is a crop design platform that taps the natural genetic diversity of plants to develop healthier, more sustainable and higher yielding food choices. Using its cloud biology computational platform CropOS™, Benson Hill evaluates millions of genetic options, identifying those that optimize traits such as crop yield, nutritional value and resource efficiency with 10X the predictive value of standard methods. The Company then uses plant breeding, transgenics and/or genome editing, including proprietary, patented CRISPR methods, to develop seeds for planting – all in half the time and cost of conventional methods. Benson Hill has made the platform available to partners for use across a broad spectrum of applications from breeding to genome editing to transgenics. Breed, powered by CropOS™, provides decision support that can reduce typical breeding cycles by up to 50%. Edit, powered by CropOS™, which launched in 2017, enhances target selection and optimizes design of genome editing approaches.
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Holganix produces and sells 100% organic plant probiotics that significantly reduce the need for fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and water while improving plant vibrancy and yield.
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Kultevat, Inc., based in St. Louis, MO, combines genetic breeding and chemical process engineering to produce natural rubber from Russian dandelions. There is a strong need to develop a domestic source of natural rubber. Russian dandelions can be grown across wide swaths of the U.S., and produce rubber that matches the characteristics of rubber derived from rubber trees.
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Meet Our Selection Committee

Our Food and Agriculture Selection Committee consists of industry and subject matter experts who help guide iSelect’s investment decisions. With firsthand experience and a true pulse on the industry, we consider these individuals key to our success in finding and investing in food and ag innovation.

Bill Northcott is the Chief Innovation Officer at Agrible. He works on developing and researching the science and feasibility of new products. Bill is a sixth generation farmer and currently manages a 500 acre corn/soybean operation in East Central Ill …

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Chris Harbourt

Chris Harbourt, Ph.D., co-founder of Agrible, Inc., is a world-class scientist and engineer with an eye on innovation and growth. Chris brings over 25 years of agricultural experience to Agrible and is heavily involved in every aspect of the business, …

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Mr. Tom Willis serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Conestoga Energy Partners LLC. Mr. Willis is responsible for all aspects of the business. He joined Conestoga in November 2006. He possesses widespread knowledge in the ethanol industry. He has ov …

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Todd Mockler

Todd is a recognized expert in functional genomics, bioinformatics, and plant systems biology, and is focused on accelerating discovery and development by more accurately predicting plant performance. He has built capabilities and toolsets that manipul …

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Tim is Vice President of G.M. Lawerence and Company, with a demonstrated history of working in the farming industry. He is skilled in management, agricultural production, precision agriculture, agribusiness, and strategic planning. Tim graduated with a …

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Mr. Steve Barr is a Co-Founder of Osborn & Barr Communications, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Barr has more than 35 years of marketing and communications planning experience. He is a Co-founder of Farmergy, Inc. and serves as its …

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Natalie DiNicola

Dr. DiNicola has over 20 years of experience in the agri-food industry and a decade of experience in sustainability and agriculture development. Through DiNicola LLC, she consults for established and emerging companies and public institutions across th …

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Kevin Van Trump

Kevin has over 20 years experience in the grain and livestock industry. He is the publisher of The Van Trump Report, a daily agricultural newsletter that contains some of the best and most comprehensive agricultural information in the world from some o …

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Eric is the Chief Executive at Pipeline Foods. Eric started his career at The Pillsbury Company where he received his classic commodity merchandising training and became the Manager of Market Development for their Speciality Commodities Group. In 1988, …

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Dr. Bruce German is a Professor and Chemist of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis and researches the role of fats and other components in the diet. He develops ways to assess health and metabolism in response to foods. M …

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Alex is the Co-founder of Geltor and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to co-founding Geltor, Alex obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, where his research led him to launch the Company. In addition, Alex holds a …

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Chas Eggert

Charles R. (Chas) Eggert has 40 years of experience in the specialty chemicals industry with a proven track record of creating value for startups and large global businesses. Chas is an operating partner focused on specialty chemical investments with A …

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Andrew Daniels

Andy Daniels is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Daniels Trading. He oversees the daily operations of the firm, while maintaining his own trading, as well as advising several selected, long-established customers. In everything he does, Andy s …

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Trey Sherman is President of Oak River Farms

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Rachel is a Senior Associate at The Context Network, a business management and strategy consulting firm providing services to the world’s leading agriculture, biotechnology and food companies. She was previously an International Sales & Project Manager …

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Roger Beachy

The founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri where he served as Emeritus President and Director for 10 years. Roger is currently Executive Director at World Food Center at University of California, Davis and …

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Glen Swanson

Glenn Swanson serves as the President of Daniels Trading. He brings a well-rounded commodity and foreign exchange background to the firm’s day-to-day operations. Glenn has an in-depth knowledge of trading technology and the order execution process that …

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Braden Hudye

Braden Hudye is a managing partner of The Hudye Group, a 3rd generation family owned company involved in Agriculture, Commercial Real Estate, Multi Family Residential Real Estate, Development Property, as well as other equity investments in both the Un …

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Engage With Our Food and Ag Network

Join Our Food & Agriculture Innovation Network.

Join the over 5,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and industry professionals driving the future of food and agriculture.

Resources and News

Microsoft is Coming for Agriculture. Is That a Good Thing?

Microsoft is Coming for Agriculture. Is That a Good Thing?

Here’s a headline I didn’t expect to see: “Microsoft Bringing AI to Ag.” From the author of that headline in Farm Journal: “Standing before a crowd of farmers at the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo, keynote speaker Josh Henretig voiced what he believed a lot of farmers were thinking.

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Agrifood Conversations, a New Agriculture Innovation Webinar Series

Agrifood Conversations, a New Agriculture Innovation Webinar Series

iSelect Fund, The Van Trump Report and The Yield Lab Institute are pleased to announce the launch of a new weekly webinar series entitled Agrifood Conversations featuring the best in agricultural innovation. With in-depth presentations from some of the leading companies and entrepreneurs in the agtech space, Agrifood Conversations is all about driving agriculture innovation forward and sharing the stories, successes and developments in the industry.

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Agrilyst: Developing New Tools to Help Indoor Farmers Thrive

Agrilyst: Developing New Tools to Help Indoor Farmers Thrive

Based in Brooklyn, NY, Agrilyst’s SaaS-based platform provides indoor farmers with data-driven insights to make more profitable production decisions, optimizing labor cost efficiency and improving crop yield. With Agrilyst, indoor growers create seeding plans, schedule harvests, assign tasks, manage climate and nutrient density, and forecast yield, sales, and varietal performance.

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