Sustainability Challenge Looks to Startups and Scaleups for Ag Solutions

Brian German General

The THRIVE | Bayer Sustainability Challenge looks to support the development of viable agricultural technologies to make the industry more sustainable. There are two individual tracks for the overall challenge. One avenue of the challenge is for agtech and foodtech startup companies looking to bring their idea to fruition. The other is for scaleup companies that have a workable solution for agriculture but need support to bring the product to market on a wide scale.

sustainability challenge

“There are a lot of really smart scientists at Bayer, but there are a lot of smart people in the world, and we sure don’t have all the answers. So, we talk about specific technologies you and I, but what we’re really looking to see is what people are going to think of that we just haven’t thought of,” said Allen Christian, Head of Open Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for Bayer. “We feel that working with people having these great new ideas and helping them to grow and develop and working with us is probably a fantastic way to get new sustainable technologies on the acre.”

Startup and scaleup companies will have until June 14 to submit an application to compete in the Sustainability Challenge. Three areas of focus have been identified as priorities for new technologies and sustainability approaches. Companies with viable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, or support smallholder farmers are all encouraged to submit an application. “We know that we’re going to need technology that may not exist yet to help us continue to drive sustainability through the next few decades. We’re really interested to see what technologies come out of this challenge,” Christian noted.

Finalists in the two different categories will be selected on July 30. Selected startups and scaleups will pitch their solutions to a global audience of industry leaders on September 9. Winners of the Sustainability Challenge will receive significant support from both THRIVE and Bayer to bring their solutions to the next level. Christian noted that there are multiple ways that winners will benefit from the challenge.

“They will have immediate access to our R&D team resources working with my team and with the investment teams within Bayer. They will have the opportunity technically to discuss what they’re doing with us and to see how we can help,” said Christian. “There’s an investment out of the THRIVE fund and additional benefits coming from the THRIVE organization as well.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West