Western Growers ag tech center exceeding expectations

Ashley Nickle for The Packer:  More than 50 startup companies now work with the Salinas, Calif.-based Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology, which opened two years ago.

Startups there have raised more than $26 million, created about 140 jobs and connected with numerous growers, said Western Growers president Tom Nassif.

“It’s been a success beyond our wildest expectations but a very welcome one because this is a desperate need of agriculture,” Nassif said.

Through events that it hosts and events in which it partakes — like the Forbes AgTech Summit — the center has enjoyed a rising profile.

“People have come to know us, they’ve visited our center, and now we have people coming in to us asking if we have something they can actually invest in, whether it’s a fund or a list of companies that might be of interest to them and are compatible with their investment goals,” Nassif said. “That’s what you always dream of is people are coming to you rather than having to chase them to make something work, and that seems to have been what’s happened today.”

The center continues to work on strengthening relationships with the venture capital community, and it is seeking feedback from growers on the startups at the center and the technology in development.  Full Article:

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