Ag Innovation Showcase Blog

SomaDetect Wins 1M Grand Prize from Pitch Competition

By October 19, 2017 Companies
(Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

(Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

SomaDetect, which provides dairy farmers with key milk quality indicators to identify diseases in cows and produce the best quality milk, has won the $1M Grand Prize Winner of 43North, a startup pitch competition.

Founded in 2016, SomaDetect uses light-scattering to track the particles in milk samples in order to detect diseases, track fat and protein content within the milk, and help farmers make informed decisions. The company has recently reached another breakthrough: a new advanced technology that detects the presence of progesterone and somatic cell counts, which will allow farmers to monitor the reproductive status of their herds.

“Winning 43North is absolutely incredible for our company, and a concrete sign that people care about their food and are stepping up to support farmers who are making great products for us and our families.” says Bethany Deshpande, CEO of SomaDetect. “In addition to the $1 M, this win gives us access to office space in Buffalo, and access to mentors and advisors in the region. It’s incredible because New York is a state with lots of dairy and is a huge opportunity for us! We are excited to get our product to market in New York and to begin making sales throughout the region.”

This is SomaDetect’s third award in three months. Just one month prior to winning the 43North grand prize, SomaDetect won the Ideas, Energized award at Larta’s Ag Innovation Showcase. In August, the company won $50,000 at a Fierce Founders Bootcamp competition.

SomaDetect will be staying in Buffalo for at least the next year and anticipates growing by 25 members by the end of 2018. Read more here.

Mango Materials to Make Clothing Industry More Sustainable

By October 10, 2017 Companies


Mango Materials announced at SynBioBeta 2017 that the company is paving a path to biodegradable fibers with greenhouse gases. Waste methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2, is now the key to create fibers that can be made into clothing.  Mango Materials technology uses microorganisms to turn CO2 into a biological version of polyester that is economically competitive with conventional oil-based materials.

With Mango Material’s innovation, consumers will be able to compost clothing made from the biopolymer.  Even if garments end up in a landfill, they will biodegrade naturally.  If garments made of their fiber land in the ocean, marine organisms will be able to digest the fibers .  If the methane released in landfills is captured at the point of production, it can be used make new garments, creating industrial  loops of product to waste to product.  While the company will focus on clothing markets first, their biopolymer can be applied to packaging and other plastic-based goods, too.

Made up of engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators, Mango Materials was incorporated in 2010 and received its first round of funding in 2011.  Mango Materials first connected with Larta when they were awarded an NSF SBIR grant and participated in a commercialization assistance program in 2012.  The company was then selected to present at the 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase in St Louis.

Read more about Mango Materials biodegradable fibers at Fast Company.

DuPont Pioneer Launches Open Innovation to Expand Capacity to Solve Global Ag Problems

By August 30, 2017 Companies, Speakers, Updates

DuPont Pioneer, one of world’s largest agriculture companies, recently launched an Open Innovation program because, in the words of the company’s Mat Müller, Director of Business Development, and an Ag Innovation Showcase advisory committee member and speaker at this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase, “We are fully aware that we cannot do it alone.”

Sessions Organized by our Partners at this Year’s Ag Innovation Showcase

By August 29, 2017 Speakers, Updates

Don’t miss the exciting content at Ag Innovation Showcase 2017 that is being organized by our partners on far ranging topics from:

  1. Early stage companies from Canada sponsored by the Canadian Consulate
  2. Projects from DOE ARPA-E program on Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture sponsored by ARPA-E
  3. Strategies for strategic partnerships sponsored by Sidley Austin, LLP
  4. Innovations in agriculture from Argentina sponsored by the Argentina Investment and Trade Promotion Agency
  5. An introduction to a public-private model sponsored by Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  6. University stage innovations sponsored by Technology Acceleration Partners
  7. Strategies for commercial partnerships that do good and do well sponsored by Bryan Cave

Larta’s agtech startups recognized in Forbes magazine

By August 27, 2017 Companies, Updates

(replicated from Vox By | August 23rd, 2017)

farmer for forbes highlight blogWith the 2017 Ag Innovation Showcase rapidly approaching on September 13, we at Larta Institute have ag-tech and ag industry disruption on the brain. In anticipation of cutting-edge ag technologies yet to be unveiled, we are taking a look back at some of our Larta portfolio companies who were highlighted for their innovation within the ag industry, including Granular, mOasis, Spensa Technologies, TerViva, and Trace Genomics. These companies are stand alone successes in their own right, and have been recognized by Forbes Magazine as among the 25 most innovative ag-tech companies. Read the article here.