Scarcity of clean water poses an enormous threat to food security around the world. Both in the developing world, including China and India, and even here in the United States, farmers increasingly face the arduous challenge of obtaining sufficient clean water to grow crops. Faced with this daunting challenge, the team behind the GreenTop platform developed an innovative system that uses wind power to capture atmospheric water moisture, which in turn is used to grow fruits and vegetables hydroponically. By creating an affordable, scalable technology that relies solely on renewable energy, the GreenTop platform enables farmers to boost food production, particularly in developing countries where the climate is arid, arable land scarce and access to clean water limited.
While working for a Uruguay-based multi-national software company, Eddie Rodriguez von der Becke, whose in-laws raise livestock in Argentina, realized that the same level of technology sophistication that he employed at his company could be used to develop a livestock management system to help his family’s operations run more smoothly and efficiently.
The solution that he came up with was Tambero.com, a free global software solution for agriculture and cattle management.
News Release – PALO ALTO, CA. Silicon Valley’s first food and farm startup accelerator has announced its Fall 2012 class. Over 50 startups vied for only twelve slots in the program. Entrepreneurs were selected based on a competitive application process. Startups from around the country were chosen both for their business potential and for their dedication to disrupting the conventional food system through sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices.
As entrepreneurs, one of our early challenges is finding funding faster than we’re burning through our savings; it’s a choke point that’s so common that it’s referred to as “the Valley of Death”. This realization often comes at the worst possible time – when you’re equally busy trying to figure out packaging, and which regulations you need to meet, and then you realize that you’re going to need more cash to make it all happen. “I need to find the path that leads to funding fastest,” concluded one sustainable agriculture entrepreneur.
Two obvious paths to funding for young startups are through Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants, especially the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and via Kickstarter, the crowdfunded donation site.
Over its three year life span, Kickstarter, a crowdfunded donation site, has become quite the boon for sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs, raising $9.1 million in funding for 846 food projects. Indeed, many of the startups profiled here at Seedstock, such as Freight Farms, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm, and Bitponics are Kickstarter graduates.
Until recently, there wasn’t a great deal of data to tell us what works when putting together a Kickstarter campaign. The company has been criticized for not publishing the success rates of projects, and a number of blogs made valiant efforts to calculate these in the absence of official numbers. In June, Kickstarter began tracking statistics, and this, along with the increasing maturity of the site, has led to a plethora of advice to would-be fundraisers.