The Empire State Development and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement announced that Every Body Eat was named the $1 million grand prize winner of Grow-NY, an international food innovation and agriculture technology business competition focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier.
Marking its third year, the competition attracted a group of exceptional start-ups and entrepreneurial talent from around the globe to compete in its two-day pitch competition and symposium. Every Body Eat—a company that makes, markets and sells delicious food that is free from the most common 14 allergens, corn and sugar so that people can enjoy it, together, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences—was one of eight finalists to take home prize money during Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit.
“I want to congratulate all the companies that took place in the third round of the Grow-NY competition,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This competition not only helps these companies continue to innovate but will further support New York State’s regional economies by drawing even more worldwide attention to our globally renowned food and agriculture industry.”
The winners included:
Grand prize $1,000,000 Winner: Every Body Eat, from Chicago, IL, makes, markets and sells delicious food that is free from the most common 14 allergens, corn and sugar so that people can enjoy it, together, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences.
$500,000 Winner: Ascribe Bioscience, from Ithaca, N.Y., uses naturally occurring signaling molecules from the soil microbiome to produce a novel class of broad-spectrum, non-toxic biopesticides that prime the plants’ immune systems to enhance resistance to pathogens and increase crop yields.
$500,000 Winner: Neupeak Robotics, from Surrey, Canada, produces fully autonomous berry harvesters that are designed to work in all weather and lighting conditions, alongside human workers, to save farmers money by charging a fixed rate per pound of berries collected.
$250,000 Winner: DraughtLab, from Webster, N.Y., produces high-quality sensory tools for every level of sensory expertise, offering practical and approachable sensory analysis solutions that deliver real-world value to companies of any size.
$250,000 Winner: EmGenisys, from Houston, TX, features a state-of-the-art embryo health assessment platform that provides the most comprehensive embryo evaluation system, improving pregnancy outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies in livestock.
$250,000 Winner: Nordetect, from Copenhagen, Denmark, provides rapid chemical analysis for nutrients in the agrifood industry. The company’s first product is a lab-on-a-chip test for nutrients found in soil, water and leaf samples, aimed at optimizing the amount of fertilizer used to cultivate crops.
$250,000 Winner: WeRadiate, from Buffalo, N.Y., offers a turnkey solution to improve soil quality using hardware, software and data technology, offering a complete array of tools to create high-efficacy and high-quality compost end products at all composting sites.
Judges based award decisions on the following five criteria:
- Viability of Commercialization and Business Model – Generation of revenue and maintenance of a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business; demonstrated readiness of the applicant’s technology or innovation to fulfill its needed value proposition.
- Team – Demonstration of a level of cohesion, completeness, and readiness within, and diversity and inclusion amongst the founders, employees, and advisors of the business that will allow the team to deliver on its potential.
- Customer Value – Provision of significant value for customers for which they are willing to pay; addressing a substantial market.
- Agriculture and Food Innovation – Pushing the state-of-the-art in food and agriculture and contributing to making Upstate NY a global leader in agriculture and food innovation.
- Regional Job Creation – Potential for creation of high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY region and relevance to the existing food and ag ecosystem.
In addition, the competition also featured an “Audience Choice” award for the start-up voted by the public to have the most innovative and promising pitch. Agri-Trak from Williamson, N.Y. received $10,000 in prize money sponsored by Wegmans and $5,000 in marketing services from The Martin Group. Agri-Trak features a farm management application suite developed especially for the apple industry. The suite includes customizable modules that provide real-time information in easy-to-read widgets allowing farms to make daily data-informed decisions.
In all, 330 startups applied from 32 countries including Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland. In the U.S., 23 states were represented, including 138 entries from New York. 44% of applicants included a female founder and 51% included a founder from an underrepresented minority group, which is a significant increase from last year’s applicant pool. The 20 finalists received dedicated mentorship from hand-selected regional business advisors leading up to the competition. Those selected as winners will now immediately get to work executing their business plans in New York State, leveraging the connections they made and regional knowledge they gained from the competition.
To learn more about the winners, mentors and judges, please visit grow-ny.com.