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Inside IFPA’s Fresh Field Catalyst program

ifpa catalyst

The applications have been reviewed and the winners have been chosen and the International Fresh Produce Association’s BB #:378962 Fresh Field Catalyst is really about to get exciting.

The winners of the International Fresh Produce Association’s Fresh Field Catalyst program will all embark on an immersion week from May 9-13 across Central California visiting some of the biggest players in the produce world.

Unlike other development programs that seek to provide essential funding to help develop technology solutions, the Fresh Field Catalyst seeks to address another critical barrier for tech development – knowledge.

“One of the first challenges is always funding and creating a market ready product,” said Vonnie Estes, vice president of AgFood tech innovation at IFPA. “These companies have done the work already and have proven to be effective in what could be an adjacent or more focused market. It’s important for companies to have the opportunity to go after funding but for this program, we were looking to support companies at a different point in their process. The accelerator is taking that middle part of the product development life cycle, where companies are finding partners, creating pilots and collecting data on trials of their product.”

The Fresh Field Catalyst is meant to help these winners quickly learn as much as they can in a short amount of time.

Between industry mentors who have volunteered to share feedback, experiences and failures of their own to first hand visits at some of the industry’s largest operations, the winners will essentially step into an elevator and skip ahead in their development process.

Who are the winners?
The list of winners is a global cohort of innovators who are working across a variety of categories to solve challenges across the entire supply chain. They come from 8 countries including Canada, Australia, Israel, Finland, Ireland, Slovakia, Singapore and the U.S. These winners also have a viable product already, which is key, said Estes.

  • Provision – Calgary, Canada
    Provision helps growers, packers and shippers of produce advance their food safety program from paper based to a digital (paperless) format.
  • Routeique Inc – Calgary, Canada
    Routeique is a cloud-based, end-to-end order and delivery management solution built to make supply chains seamless.
  • Nexus Robotics – Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Canada
    Nexus Robotics offers precise weed removal in vegetable crops while collecting invaluable data to inform growers on crop and growing conditions.
  • Ten Carbon Chemistry Pty Ltd – Melbourne, Australia
    Ten Carbon Chemistry unlocks the antimicrobial power of fatty acids leading to the development of products with an exceptionally low toxicity profile.
  • Morphix Technologies – Virginia Beach, United States
    Morphix Technologies is a Biotech company specializing in chemical detection and explosive detection devices.
  • Netled – Prikkala, Finland
    Netled is a 360-degree vertical farming company that designs and builds cutting edge turnkey vertical farm technology.
  • Clarifruit – Rishon Le’zion, Israel
    Clarifruit provides growers, marketing companies, wholesalers and retailers with fresh produce quality control software.
  • DiMuto – Singapore
    DiMuto simplifies every step of global agrifood trade. From product, trade, finance, to market, they help people trade with visibility.
  • The Yield Technology Solutions Pty Ltd – Sydney, Australia
    The Yield Technology Solutions use AI to help corporate customers grow, sell and distribute more profitably with less environmental impact.
  • Vitiport – Bratislava, Slovakia
    Vitiport is a revolution in crop protection, aiming to replace conventional chemical methods of plant protection.
  • CarbonSpaceTech – Dublin, Ireland
    CarbonSpace is an AI and satellite powered platform for remote carbon footprint monitoring of land assets in the food & beverage and forestry industries.
  • SoundAg – Emeryville, United States
    SoundAg is building a more agile and resilient agricultural system, establishing a new way of growing food that unleashes the natural power of plants.

Mentors & Ongoing Education
The Catalyst companies will also benefit from the knowledge and experience from industry leaders. These leaders will provide insight, context and background information for the tours and bi-weekly webinars that will take place from May through October. Topics for the biweekly virtual seminars include deep dives with produce industry experts on data sources, regulatory frameworks, non-dilutive funding, creating industry partnerships and more.

Mentors will also provide critical feedback to the winning companies on their innovative solutions, offering guidance as many of these companies explore the fresh produce sector for the first time.

The current mentors are:

  • Gary Wishnatzki, CEO, Wish Farms
  • Judy Clark, CEO, Fresh From Texas, LLC
  • Jennifer Petersen, EVP / Chief Science Officer, Sun World International
  • Andy Hamilton, CEO, Markon
  • Jan DeLyser, Vice President Marketing at California Avocado Commission
  • Scott Komar, Senior Vice President of Global R&D, Driscoll’s
  • Ted Taylor, Head of New Ventures & Business Development at Taylor Farms
  • Curtis Garner, COO, Co-founder Verdant Robotics
  • Max Teplitski, CSO, IFPA
  • Dorn Wenninger, Sr VP Produce UNFI
  • Dave Vosburg, Chief Innovation Officer, Local Bounti

Those who are interested in following the participants can see more on the IFPA social channels.