Left to right: Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures; Matthew Walker, principal in S2G Ventures; Sanjeev Krishnan, managing director and CIO of S2G Ventures; Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers; Bruce Rasa, CEO of AgVoice; Aidan Mouat, CEO of Hazel Technologies Inc; Edwin Camp, president of D.M. Camp & Sons; Rob Yraceburu, president of Wonderful Orchards LLC; Ryan Talley, farm manager and co-owner of Talley Farms stand together at the AgSharks pitch competition during the Western Growers annual meeting.

S2G Ventures made investment offers totaling $2.25 million to two startups, Hazel Technologies and AgVoice, at the recent AgSharks pitch competition.

That amount was nine times the $250,000 that was expected be available for participants. S2G decided on the increase because of the positive audience reaction to the presentations of Hazel and AgVoice.

“The feedback in the room was so compelling,” said S2G managing partner Sanjeev Krishnan, “and it was clear that Hazel needed more money than that.”

The firm offered to invest $2 million in Hazel, which makes products designed to extend shelf life. Chicago-based Hazel has also received two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Our success at the AgSharks event is the latest market validation point for Hazel Technologies,” CEO Aidan Mouat said in a news release. “We are grateful that Western Growers and S2G gave us this platform to show how Hazel Tech increases returns, reduces labor cost and opens new markets for grower-shippers.”

S2G also offered to invest $250,000 in AgVoice, a technology designed to allow industry members with hands-on roles to take notes by speaking rather than by writing on a clipboard or a tablet.

“These are specialists like agronomists, plant breeders and crop inspectors who provide support to the farmers, ranchers and growers who feed our nation and world,” CEO Bruce Rasa said in the release. “Prior to AgSharks, our team had never seen this type of live negotiation event take place in the ag tech community, and we are so thankful that Western Growers and S2G had the bold vision to bring it to fruition.”

Both startups accepted their respective offers, and the deals are in the process of being finalized.




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