- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Silicon Valley venture capitalists will focus on investment opportunities in Central Valley agriculture during a conference at UC Davis this summer, Grow-California.com announced yesterday. The California Agriculture Innovation Conference takes place in Freeborn Hall July 20 and 21.
Conference participants will meet with policymakers such as California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston. and “game changing” agriculture companies, the Grow-California news release said. LA Times reporter P.J. Huffstutter and Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters are also on the agenda. Other prominent speakers include the president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and a deputy editor of Forbes magazine.
Conference organizers believe that by bringing the venture capital community together with the agricultural community, there will be potential to create an innovative technology hub for agriculture in the Central Valley as was done in the Silicon Valley for high tech.
Grow-California was formed in April 2011, a spin-off of Golden Capital Network, the website said. The new company aims to foster job and wealth creation by connecting innovative entrepreneurs, growth companies and market leaders with capital, talent, academia, customers and partners.
Grow-California plans two other conferences this year, a Clean Tech Innovation conference in Oakland Sept. 14 and 15 and a Web & IT Innovation conference in Pleasanton November 16 and 17.
Online registration for the Agriculture Innovation Conference is available on the GrowCalifornia website. Registration for the two-day conference is $245. One day registration is $125. There is a $75 charge for the VIP dinner on July 20.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
A group of "big name" investors are on a tour of California's Central Valley today to introduce them to the state's $30 billion agriculture industry and to ag-related companies as potential investments. The tour started yesterday at UC Davis, where the group heard from researchers and professors about water policy and UC Davis research priorities, according to a press release published on Stock Market News. The tour ends this evening in Fresno.
Investors on the tour represent such firms as Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, US Venture Partners and J.R. Simplot Company.
"By bringing the investors to the farm, we want to show them various businesses so the two groups can better understand each other's world and requirements," said venture capitalist and tour organizer Joe Hudson.
Phil Christensen, an agricultural asset manager and another tour organizer, said a significant number of large private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world's need for food will continue to grow.
"As California's agricultural industries evolve and their capital requirements increase, we believe that more companies will look to new and non-traditional sources of capital for their growth," Christensen said.