SVG Ventures Thrive has launched two new programs dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, researchers, and early-stage startups in the agri-food technology sector.
SVG Ventures is set to kick off Thrive Academy, a new pre-accelerator in Alberta. The pre-accelerator has secured government backing of $3 million from Alberta Innovates and $700,000 from Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) that will be spead over the course of three years.
The pre-accelerator will offer hands-on training and access to testing sites, such as the Olds College Smart Farm, and other applied research opportunities to validate early-stage ideas.
Thrive Academy is set to begin in September with its first fall cohort of 15 participants. SVG Ventures noted that the program, which runs for 12 weeks, will alternate between sites across Alberta.
Applications will be accepted all year for the Thrive Academy with two intakes annually. The winter cohort for the program’s inaugural year will begin in January.
Alongside the Thrive Academy, SVG Ventures now also offers the Thrive Venture Studio, which focuses on forming new companies in response to what the organization calls “some of the most pressing issues across the agri-food value chain.”
With this venture builder model, SVG Ventures said it plans to leverage its existing relationships with farmers and the industry to identify these opportunities, source founding teams, and make seed investments.
Formed in 2010 and based in Silicon Valley, SVG Ventures touts a community of over 6,000 startups from 100 countries. It claims to have made over 50 investments in the agriculture sector. The investment firm’s partners include government, agriculture, and technology corporations such as Corteva, Taylor Farms, Bayer, ICL, Nutrien, Intel, Yamaha Motor Ventures, Shell and Wilbur-Ellis.
SVG Ventures established its Canadian subsidiary, Thrive Canada, in Calgary last year. Backed by the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, Alberta Innovates, and the Alberta government, Thrive Canada supports early-stage Canadian startups from all areas of the food supply chain.
The Thrive Canada Accelerator, along with the pre-accelerator and venture studio, is part of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program that is run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates.
Earlier this year, SVG Ventures unveiled the 10 startups that make up the first iteration of its Thrive Canada Accelerator program. The participants consisted of four from Ontario, two from Québec, two from British Columbia, and one each from Alberta and Newfoundland.
SVG Ventures said that its Thrive Accelerator program has graduated seven global cohorts with a total of seventy three startups, seven of which are Canadian.
The Canadian chapter of the program received a total of 168 applicants, according to SVG Ventures.
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