Future Of Food Conference Debuting In Central New York

On September 26, 2018, the Upstate Capital Association of New York is hosting The Future of Food, the inaugural event highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in food and agricultural technology in Upstate New York, together with FuzeHub and Bond, Schoeneck and King.  The event will be hosted at Hourigan’s Dairy Farm in Elbridge NY and will include investors, entrepreneurs and farm tours as highlights of the ½ day program.

Venture capitalists put $344 million into New York-based agrifood startups in 2017, ranking the state third in total dollars raised. With Upstate New York arguably being one of the nation’s best product testbeds for agrifood startups, entrepreneurs are piloting innovative product startups that are changing the face of food globally. One of those companies is SomaDetect, the 2017 43North $1M grand prize winner. They are building a new milk quality testing system that uses a combination of lasers and artificial intelligence to evaluate milk as it’s being produced, automatically flagging irregularities in real-time. SomaDetect CEO and cofounder Bethany Deshpande estimates their product will generate farmers a return on investment of around $680 per cow per year. Deshpande will speak at the Future of Food event alongside other successful CEOs from startups across New York State, including Greg Levow of Agronomic Technology and Todd Kletter of Tierra Farm. 

Tech-focused investors and seasoned entrepreneurs will talk about their lessons learned with New York State agriculture and food startups. Warren Zeiser, a 20+ year veteran, will talk about his experience with food startups and turnarounds, including Death Wish Coffee and Mastroianni Bakery. Mike Waterman of Canopy Holdings will present his company’s thesis on food and agriculture investment around a systems-based thesis. His NYC-based company is focused on sustainability and strategically building a better food system. Somak Chattopadhyay, Managing Partner at Armory Square Ventures, will talk about investing in food technology vs. agriculture technology, and his reflections on his investment of Agronomic Technology, a farm-focused data startup that raised $2.7 million in venture capital and was acquired last year by Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara.

The program will be presented at a live working mid-sized dairy farm operating near Syracuse, with opportunities to see and hear first-hand how the farm operates, adopts new technologies, and faces challenges.  Commenting on the event, Upstate Data Project said, “Urban-focused Tech & Innovation events are the norm, so it’s really cool to see a rural, agribusiness focused event in Upstate NY.”

The goal of The Future of Food is to bring together members of the business and entrepreneurial communities to build connections and support Upstate Capital’s mission of spreading education and access to capital across Upstate New York. The event will feature a showcase of startups who are shaping the future of food and agtech in the region and beyond, and people attending will include food and agtech startups, business executives and leaders, enterprise farmers, investors, university faculty, government, and other food & agtech enthusiasts.

For more information, please our event page for details.