QBE North America Supports Future Farming Innovation Startups

-- 12 Early-Stage Food and Agricultural Startups to Participate in Investment-Readiness Program --

NEW YORK, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- QBE North America, an integrated specialist insurer, is pleased to announce a partnership with Village Capital to participate in an investment-readiness program in support of 12 early-stage food and agriculture startups that were selected to take part in Food and Agriculture: US 2018.

Village Capital builds support networks for entrepreneurs seeking to solve real-world problems, providing them with training and investments to drive growth and successful outcomes. This partnership with the QBE Foundation will leverage QBE's expertise and knowledge, as well its philanthropic resources, to encourage a more efficient, sustainable and accessible food system. The cohort will participate in three 4-day workshops with strategic partners, investors, and sector experts - including members of the QBE Crop and Ventures teams.

"Our team is excited to be involved in this partnership and support innovative and smart solutions that benefit the future of the agriculture industry," said Jim Korin, President - Crop, QBE North America. "Interacting directly with these startups through workshops and one-on-one sessions will accelerate their market-readiness, while focusing on new ways to help the American farmer."

As a leader in the Crop sector, QBE has the expertise and leadership to not only provide an experience of excellence for our farmer policyholders, but to guide the future of the agriculture industry.

"At QBE we look forward to applying our expertise in crop, agricultural technology and innovation to advise entrepreneurs in creating solutions for food security," said Josie Barnett, Manager, QBE North America Foundation. "The QBE Foundation, Crop and QBE Ventures teams are excited to partner with Village Capital to assist in implementing market-based solutions to de-risk our global food system."

Participant startups will have access to the QBE teams, including data and learnings of the QBE Ventures team and the Global Innovation Lab, allowing them the chance to hone their solutions.

"QBE Ventures is focused on discovering and supporting startups who are developing industry-changing ideas," said Ted Stuckey, Head of Global Innovation Lab at QBE. "This cohort represents a diverse group of talented entrepreneurs who are tackling problems that can make a meaningful impact on food and agriculture systems. We look forward to working alongside our peers from across QBE to support this exciting initiative."

The cohort is comprised of:

Athena Intelligence: Provides data driven services for the food and agriculture market, delivering insights that improve quality, crop yield and sustainability.

Augean Robotics: On a mission to solve the crippling labor problem faced by farmers by making robots like Wall-E a reality, beginning with Burro, a robotic following platform for work outdoors.

Cambridge Crops Technologies: Creates natural and edible coatings for extending the shelf-life of perishable goods.

Cerahelix: Manufactures advanced molecular filters that simplify the wastewater re-use process.

Goodr: A sustainable surplus food management company, leveraging technology to combat hunger and reduce food waste.

Grow Bioplastics: Developing a platform of naturally degradable and compostable plastics made from lignin, a waste product of the paper and biofuel industry, for applications in agriculture, food service packaging, and beyond.

ProteoSense: Provides food processors with a biosensor technology that detects pathogens at the front end of the supply chain in 90 minutes or less.

Pulp Pantry: On a mission to transform juice pulp, a neglected resource, into delicious and nutritious snacks that make it easy to eat more servings of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.

Seal the Seasons: Brings farm-to-table products to grocers year-round by freezing and marketing local food from local farms.

SwineTech: Provides technologies to prevent piglet deaths due to disease, starvation, and crushing.

Vega Coffee: The first specialty coffee roasted at origin and delivered directly to customers in the U.S. within five days of roasting. Vega Coffee upends the coffee supply chain by training women farmers in Latin America to roast and package their own coffee; customers receive unique curated coffees via subscription, and Vega's farmer roasters earn up to 4x more income than they would through the typical supply chain.

Wexus Technologies: Wexus Technologies Inc. is an IoT (Internet of Things) software company that empowers farmers and food processors to automate tasks and reporting, reduce waste and costs, and drive energy and water efficiency with its technology platform that remotely accesses utility data and billing systems.

Find out more about Village Capital and the Food and Agriculture startup partnerships online.

About QBE
QBE North America is an integrated specialist insurer, which is part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, one of the largest insurers and reinsurers worldwide. QBE NA reported Gross Written Premiums in 2017 of $4.6 billion. QBE Insurance Group's 2017 results can be found at www.qbena.com. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 31 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries. QBE insurance companies are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and "A+" by Standard & Poor's. Additional information can be found at www.qbena.com, or follow QBE North America on Twitter.

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