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California venture, innovation firm to expand to Midwest

SVG Partners to work with Indiana-based entities to advance livestock and plant sciences health.

November 29, 2018

4 Min Read
California venture, innovation firm to expand to Midwest
Purdue’s animal husbandry program performs distinct and complementary roles to ensure animal well-being in research, testing and teaching. THRIVE will work with the National Pork Board and other partners to enhance animal husbandry around the Midwest even further.(Purdue University, College of Agriculture photo)

SVG Partners, a California-based venture and innovation firm, announced Nov. 29 the expansion of its West Coast-based THRIVE AgTech program to the Midwest to focus specifically on animal health and support agriculture advancements.

The expanded accelerator follows the Forbes AgTech Summit held this fall in Indianapolis, Ind. The collaboration will build a bridge between THRIVE Silicon Valley and the Midwest with new corporate partners, including the National Pork Board, AgriNovus Indiana and Elanco Animal Health, long-term THRIVE partner Land O’Lakes and with start-up services from Purdue Foundry and collaboration opportunities with Purdue University, the announcement said.

With this expansion, THRIVE said it aims to develop a targeted pipeline of livestock management and animal health start-ups, validating and scaling new technologies for the livestock vertical and expanding its support of emerging plant science and biotechnology start-ups.

“Monitoring animal health and preventing animal disease outbreaks is vital to our food supply chain,” SVG Partners founder and chief executive officer John Hartnett said. “We look forward to leveraging our new partnerships with the National Pork Board and AgriNovus Indiana as well as our existing partner Land O’Lakes to provide strategic and technical expertise and key resources to start-up companies developing technologies for livestock producers.”

SVG Partners launched the THRIVE Accelerator in 2014 to accelerate technology for agriculture with early partners, including Taylor Farms, Driscoll’s Berries, JV Smith and western growers. With the Forbes AgTech Summit, SVG Partners said it recognized the opportunity to expand THRIVE into the Midwest in order to more readily address the region's "robust livestock sector and biotechnology expertise."

“Working with new local partners in Indiana, we will be able to build on the success of our West Coast-based accelerator in order to deliver targeted technology to livestock farmers in the region and beyond,” Hartnett said.

THRIVE also welcomes the National Pork Board to its AgTech Venture and Innovation Platform.

“We look forward to working closely with THRIVE to accelerate animal health technologies,” National Pork Board CEO Bill Even said. “This partnership aligns well with our producers’ ongoing efforts to build upon our foundation of providing a healthy, safe, environmentally sustainable product for the food supply chain. Over the past several decades, pork producers have decreased the carbon footprint and both land and water usage. Technology is critical to driving sustainable, efficient production through a commitment to environmental sustainability and animal welfare.”

Elanco, a leading animal health company with headquarters in Greenfield, Ind., also joins the program.

“We are pleased to see THRIVE AgTech expand into the Midwest, especially at a time when Indiana’s AgBioScience innovation ecosystem is flourishing,” said Aaron Schacht, executive vice president of innovation, regulatory and business development at Elanco. “We believe programs such as THRIVE can provide a valuable and complementary path for the development of next-generation technologies in animal health. We’re looking forward to the opportunities this will bring.”

This program expansion will bring together existing and new partnerships with corporations, academia, investors and start-ups to foster new agricultural technology opportunities for the region’s economy, the announcement said.

“Our region is home to a large concentration of livestock producers and animal health-focused corporations and equally strong in its advancements in the plant sciences,” Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, said. “We are delighted to bring SVG Partner’s resources and expertise to the Midwest to support the vision of making Indiana the home of globally recognized ag-bioscience innovation.”

Purdue University is Indiana’s land-grant university with a nationally ranked College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine, while Purdue Foundry is a start-up accelerator that manages the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The technologies coming out of the outstanding research in agriculture, veterinary medicine and across campus support a strong pipeline of technology commercialization and start-up creation,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making for the Purdue Research Foundation. “We are excited about what THRIVE will bring to the Midwest in advancing the entire region’s growth in the agrosciences and agbiosciences.”

Existing THRIVE partners such as Corteva, EY and Trimble already have significant resources in the Midwest and will help deepen THRIVE’s activity in row crop production agriculture. As another strategic geographical partner, Purdue Foundry will help root THRIVE's expansion in the Midwest by connecting university talent with THRIVE’s network and resources.

Since 2011, SVG Partners has been building a global AgTech innovation platform that accelerates, invests and works with entrepreneurs, investors and Fortune 500 food, agricultural and technology corporations. Founded in 2014, THRIVE AgTech’s mission is to solve key industry challenges, test technologies in the field and across the supply chain and build partnerships across the ecosystem in order to shorten the time it takes to bring innovation to market.

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