Agriculture US 2015

With agriculture accounting for more than 60 percent of the Nation's water withdrawals, 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, 19.5 percent of U.S. homes with children experiencing food insecurity, and grocery store food costs increasing by 3.5 percent last year, there is a demand to address these national and even global issues. Innovation through entrepreneurship is the solution to solving the worlds greatest problems, and Village Capital wishes to find and train the best entrepreneurs solving these major problems within the agriculture industry.

Village Capital and its partners are particularly interested in:

  • Ventures that increase the resource efficiency of the agricultural supply chain.

  • Innovations that make crop production more efficient or that optimize the use of inputs, with particular emphasis on increasing the productivity of small farms. Examples include innovations related to water or pesticide use; new irrigation technologies; inventions related to crop production, aggregation or distribution.

  • Inventions that enable the aggregation and distribution of food using fewer natural resources.

Overview

Workshop Dates

Workshop 1: 10/27-10/30 (Louisville, KY), with a launch event 10/29

Workshop 2: 12/2-12/5 (New Orleans, LA) with a public Stakeholder Forum 12/4

Workshop 3: 1/25-1/28 (Louisville, KY), with our Louisville Venture Forum 1/27

Our New Orleans Venture Forum will happen during New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week, March 11-18, 2016.

Peer-selected Ventures:

The two winners of $75,000 each in investment from VilCap Investments, Radicle Capital, and Sustainable America were:

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Kuli Kuli is creating an international market for moringa, a green superfood, to improve nutrition and livelihoods for rural women farmers in the developing world.

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Stony Creek Colors manufactures US grown, sustainable natural indigo dye for denim dyeing that is a plug and play solution for denim mills to replaces imported indigo synthesized from coal tar.

Partners

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Blue Sky Network

The Blue Sky Network believes it can create opportunities for people to realize their own potential and improve the quality of their own lives. When people take the initiative to make life better for themselves, they can share the benefits with their families, become more active in their communities, and be a more positive force in society.

As a venture philanthropy organization, we support market-based approaches with the potential for large-scale, catalytic impact. Regardless of the sector, we invest in organizations that have the potential to embody innovation, scale, and sustainability or help bring them about within their industry.

Our mission is to encourage individuals and communities to imagine and work toward a world with a higher quality of life, education, and economic and technological development.

We focus our efforts where we have direct experience and can have the greatest impact--in emerging markets and our local community.

We believe productivity requires dependability, and ultimately, connectivity. The ultimate outcome we strive for is individual participation that can catalyze economic and social advancement on a global scale and leads to greater connectivity within our communities.

We execute on our mission by partnering with organizations that have similar vision and the ability to have an exponential impact.

Stephen Reily

Stephen is an attorney, businessman, and social entrepreneur whose philanthropic energy has focused in recent years on building the local food economy in Louisville and a more sustainable future for Kentucky’s farmers. In 2011 he founded Seed Capital Kentucky, a non-profit whose projects have included commissioning the first-ever formal evaluation of regional demand for local food; organizing annual events for the local food movement to convene and share knowledge; and providing grants for technical assistance to help regional farmers build more sustainable businesses. Stephen also led a group that recapitalized Grasshoppers Distribution, the leading locally owned distributor of local foods. Stephen graduated from Yale College and Stanford Law School, after which he clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the Co-Founder of IMC, a licensing agency that represents some of the world’s largest consumer brands, and the Founder of Vibrant Nation, the leading online community for women 45+.

Owsley Brown Charitable Trust

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The Owsley Brown Charitable Foundation is a family foundation based in Louisville, KY with varied philanthropic interests.

Reily Foods
Based in one of the world's great culinary centers, New Orleans, LA, Reily Foods Company has been offering consumers high-quality products and service for more than 100 years.

 

Co-Investor

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Radicle Capital

Radicle Capital can be found at the very intersection of business expertise and social responsibility. The firm was established with the purpose of helping companies, organizations, and funds that foster the ideals of generating a social and environmental impact. These young, emerging ventures may range from farm-to-table food producers, to eco-friendly product suppliers, to any number of environmentally friendly and socially responsible entrepreneurial startups. Prospects can be rooted local to Radicle Capital in Louisville, Kentucky, or in states across the nation, and even globally. It is the idea of Radicle Capital that prospects be primed to grow even larger by way of their owners’ dedication to doing well by doing good. By making responsible investment decisions, funding the brilliance of its own local community, and reaching across borders around the globe, Radicle Capital hopes to develop a greater, more global community and appreciation of resources by germinating the world’s seedlings in business.

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Sustainable America

Sustainable America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to make the nation’s food and fuel systems more efficient and resilient. Through broad public education, hands-on technical assistance, and strategic investment in emerging entrepreneurs and technologies, we work to reduce oil usage and increase food availability in the United States.

Mentors

Mentors will be posted below as they are confirmed. In the meantime if you would like an idea of the type and caliber of mentors we work with please peruse the mentors from our Agriculture Louisville 2014 program.

Ventures

3Bar Biologics improves farm productivity and sustainability with beneficial microbial inoculants which increase crop yield while reducing dependence on chemicals.

Arise AgTech is developing a new way to grow plants with soil, anywhere, using less water, land, energy, labor and no chemicals, waste or pollution.

Earthineer is a social platform for hyper-local food and sustainability

Emmer & Co. produces the best tasting and most humanely raised heritage chickens.

Follow That Meat! de-commodifies beef by managing the flow of relevant data about each inpidual animal.

FoodTrace makes it easier for food businesses to operate and grow.

Full Harvest is a mission-driven B2B marketplace that helps growers bring their excess to market.

Global Plant Solutions produces and distributes environmentally-safe, nutrient-based fungal and bacterial control products that enhance plant growth, strength and vitality.

Hemp Foods America distributes and manufactures highly nutritious hemp foods.

IDIAS enables farmers to grow more, higher quality produce, with less effort.

Kuli Kuli is creating an international market for moringa, a green superfood, to improve nutrition and livelihoods for rural women farmers in the developing world.

Stony Creek Colors manufactures US grown, sustainable natural indigo dye for denim dyeing that is a plug and play solution for denim mills to replaces imported indigo synthesized from coal tar.

Sunstrand manufactures eco-friendly bio-materials, with densities less than carbon fiber, for virtually limitless polymer composite & plastic applications.