Research Foundation News

November 29, 2018

California venture, innovation firm to expand to Midwest, partner with Indiana-based entities, advance livestock and plant sciences health

SVG Partners expands THRIVE AgTech into livestock and agbiosciences in Midwest with newest partners National Pork Board, AgriNovus Indiana, Elanco Animal Health, Purdue Foundry and with long-term partner Land O’Lakes

SAN FRANCISCO and INDIANAPOLIS - SVG Partners, a California-based venture and innovation firm, announced Thursday (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 on the heels of Forbes AgTech Summit held in Indianapolis this fall. The collaboration will build a bridge between THRIVE Silicon Valley and the Midwest with new corporate partners, including the National Pork Board and AgriNovus Indiana, Elanco Animal Health, long-term THRIVE partner Land O’Lakes and with startup services from Purdue Foundry and collaboration opportunities with Purdue University.
Deason Thrive 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) Download image

With this expansion, THRIVE aims to develop a targeted pipeline of livestock management and animal health startups, validating and scaling new technologies for the livestock vertical and expand its support of emerging plant science and biotechnology startups. 

“Monitoring animal health and preventing animal disease outbreaks is vital to our food supply chain,” said SVG Partners founder and CEO John Hartnett. “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 startup 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 recognized the opportunity to expand THRIVE into the Midwest in order to more readily address the geography’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. The National Pork Board, funded by more than 60,000 U.S. pork producers and pork importers, centers its industry’s work on reinforcing pork’s as a sustainable and responsibly raised protein. 

“We look forward to working closely with THRIVE to accelerate animal health technologies. 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,” said Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. “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 its headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana, also joins the program. The company works to provide veterinarians, food producers, and pet owners with the tools needed to help animals live healthy lives. 

“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 corporates, academia, investors and startups to foster new agtech opportunities for the region’s economy. 

“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,” said Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “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 agbioscience innovation.” 

Purdue University is Indiana’s land-grant university with a nationally ranked College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine. The Purdue Foundry is a startup 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 startup creation,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making for 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 to deepen THRIVE’s activity in row crop production agriculture activity there. As another strategic geographical partner, Purdue Foundry will help to root THRIVE expansion in the Midwest by connecting university talent with THRIVE’s network and resources. 

A THRIVE partner since 2016, Land O’Lakes is committed to modernizing agriculture through digitalization. 

“Land O’Lakes is committed to bringing valuable technology tools to market to help farmers produce more with less, in the most sustainable way possible,” said Teddy Bekele, CTO of Land O’Lakes. “We look forward to working with THRIVE and other Midwest partners to accelerate animal health technologies to strengthen our food supply chain.”

THRIVE’s expansion into the Midwest was announced today (Thursday, Nov. 29) during AgriNovus’ fourth annual Agbioscience Innovation Summit in Indiana. 

For more information about THRIVE, visit www.thriveagtech.com.

About SVG Partners

Since 2011, SVG Partners has been building a global AgTech innovation platform that accelerates, invests, and works with entrepreneurs, investors, and Fortune 500 food, agriculture, 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. SVG Partners is based in Silicon Valley, California.

About National Pork Board

The National Pork Board is a group of 15 pork producers or importers, nominated by Pork Act Delegates at the National Pork Forum and appointed by the U.S. secretary of agriculture. The board collects the National Pork Checkoff funds and utilizes those dollars to implement programs of promotion, research and consumer information designed to enhance the marketing of U.S. pork and pork products. 

About Elanco

Founded in 1954, Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 90 countries around the world. We value innovation, both in scientific research and daily operations, and strive to cultivate a collaborative work environment for more than 5,800 employees worldwide. Together with our customers, we are committed to raising awareness about global food security, and celebrating and supporting the human-animal bond. Our worldwide headquarters and research facilities are located in Greenfield, Indiana. 

About AgriNovus Indiana

AgriNovus Indiana is the state’s initiative focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector as a nationally recognized leader through education, research and talent development; strategic collaborations among corporations, industry associations, government and universities; the creation and support of new companies; and branding and targeted promotions to elevate the sector. AgriNovus Indiana is part of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. To learn more, visit agrinovusindiana.com.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was co-named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. 

About Land O’Lakes

Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2017 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 216 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 97 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn. 

Media contacts:

Emily Breslin, SVG Partners, (650) 666-7521, Emily.breslin@svgpartners.com

Cynthia Sequin, Purdue Research Foundation, (765) 588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Libby Fritz, AgriNovus Indiana, (574) 595-5154, lfritz@agrinovusindiana.com

Colleen Parr Dekker, Elanco, (317) 989-7011, parr_dekker_colleen@elanco.com


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