Through agriNEXT, Foresight’s ag-specific accelerator and network hub, Foresight works with agtech innovators across Canada, helping them commercialize their solutions for the agrifood sector. We are constantly amazed by the ingenious ideas these Canadian entrepreneurs are launching into the market, both here and around the world.

We had the opportunity to showcase some exciting emerging agtech ventures to investors, industry experts, and the cleantech community on November 3 at Western Canada’s 5th Annual Agrifood Tech Investment Summit, hosted by VANTEC Angel Network in collaboration with agriNEXT.

After vetting a range of promising seed and scale-up companies from across the farm to fork value chain, the Selection Committee chose 17 ventures to pitch at the Summit. Read on to meet some of Canada’s emerging agtech stars!

While modern technology has changed wine production in many ways, routine processes remain as time consuming and costly as they were decades ago. The first-of-its-kind BarrelWise Barrel Management System enables wine barrel sampling, topping, and sulfite additions to be done without removing the bung, which can save over 50% of time currently spent on routine barrel work. 

Gentle Processing™ is proven technology that uses energy to process food and food ingredients in a way that enables complete nutritional preservation and nutrient retention. Current methods use heat, chemicals or pressure to treat food items at the expense of nutritional loss and changes to flavour profiles, but do not actually remove volatiles. Gentle Processing™ uses only energy, no chemicals or excessive heat, in the application of the minimal thermal process principle of food product sanitization. 

Soil degradation, agricultural runoff, and declines in nutrient density are the greatest threats to humanity’s ability to feed itself. Current micronutrient fertilizers like chelates, oxides, and oxy-sulphates are expensive, can pollute soil and groundwater, and are typically ineffective in alkaline soil. Lucent BioSciences has developed a new, cost-efficient and carbon neutral ‘smart’ micronutrient fertilizer that allows greater nutrient uptake by the plant, resulting in healthier and more nutrient-dense crops.

Mycorize is building Canada’s first “Full Spectrum” nutraceutical mushroom production and processing facility. Mycorize is using robotics, AGVs, and gamification to develop an automated growing platform that will increase mushroom production efficiency and minimize production cost. 

Food waste is a vastly overlooked driver of climate change. Worldwide, 30% of food is wasted across the supply chain, making up 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nada champions businesses that are tackling this issue head on, such as those who are reducing surplus food in their manufacturing, using imperfect or recovered ingredients in their sourcing, or supporting food insecure households with donations. Nada is an omni-channel package-free grocery store & delivery service on a mission to connect people to just food by championing a community food system.

Neupeak wants to help farmers protect against chronic labour shortages and dropping industry profit margins. Neupeak is designed to save farmers money by charging a fixed rate per pound of strawberries collected, at a rate competitive with traditional labour.

NovusEarth is a novel approach that harnesses the earth’s heat for aquaponics, delivering energy sovereignty and food security.

Nutrienvisus provides a new alternative for advanced organic crop production, where growers can improve the selling proposition of their products to customers (bigger and healthier plants and increased plant shelf-life) and at the same time, growers can increase profits (lowered cost production due to less plant loss, and more uniform plant growth to ensure reduced harvesting time), while using eco-friendly products.

OneCup AI uses computer vision to identify, track, and monitor livestock. OneCUP AI helps ranchers stay on top of animal welfare and maximize the return per cow by using BETSY to detect lameness, sickness and track activity. Using their fast, comprehensive, and actionable system, farmers can make their businesses more effective, efficient, and more sustainable.

Scout is a craft cannery and sustainable seafood brand modernizing seafood consumer packaged goods in North America by sourcing from regional partners that meet the highest standards in seafood sustainability, including reduced bycatch and minimal ecosystem impact.

Susgrainble is a circular economy food company producing upcycled barley flour from spent grain (beer “waste”) improving nutrition and reducing food waste.

Colour greatly affects the market value of food products and consumers are increasingly aware of the potential health risks associated with synthetic colours (allergenicity, toxicity, carcinogenicity, links to hyperactivity in children). Colours sourced from nature are thus highly sought-after in industry. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and removal of CO2 from the atmosphere are of critical importance to the environment. Synergia Biotech sits at the juncture of these two global necessities to create highly marketable pure phycocyanin that can be used as a natural, vibrant blue dye in industry.

Information systems running seafood supply chains are archaic. ThisFish’s mission is to improve profitability and sustainability in the seafood industry through digitization, traceability and innovation. Their AI-enabled digital helper can automate many tasks and run predictive analytics using machine learning algorithms.

Verdi is building the technology that enables farmers to customize nutrition for every plant by modernizing farm control systems to customize water and nutrient delivery. Verdi reduces the cost of irrigation automation by up to 80% and enables growers to scale irrigation to the precision their crops need. 

VeriGrain is an automated grain sampling and data management system. With the ever-increasing demand for food, combined with the decreasing quality and quantity of land, it is crucial we ensure every bushel grown gets utilized to the fullest. VeriGrain gives growers and buyers detailed digital grain qualities information sooner, which ultimately results in more and better food getting to consumers. 

Vinterre is a web-based platform with a mission to organize the world’s wine information, connect wine producers with wine buyers and turn vineyards into carbon sinks. Vinterre, standalone, and in combination with other FVC companies has the power to transform the wine industry.

Winecrush is an innovative agritech company in British Columbia, Canada that has created a patent-pending bio mechanical process for transforming wine derivative into highly nutritious content. The Winecrush® process enables wineries to lower their carbon footprint by avoiding the methane emissions from derivatives sent to the landfill.

If you missed the Agrifood Tech Investment Summit, you can still access the sessions:

Event Recording  – Western Canada 5th Agrifood Tech Investment Forum

Panel – Investing in Transformative Agrifood Tech to Address Climate Change

Join us for Climate Connections: Agtech Edition, connecting industry challenges and solutions, on Nov. 24.

Find out more about agriNEXT, Canada’s ag-specific accelerator and network hub.

Stay updated about cleantech news and opportunities. Subscribe to the Foresight newsletter.

Written By:

Karen Speirs

Karen Speirs is a communications specialist with experience in journalism, public relations, and corporate communications. Her passion is storytelling; Karen has authored several books and has provided writing services for a broad range of private and public sector organizations. Her most recent role was leading external communications for Best Buy Canada. The BC tech industry figures prominently in Karen’s work experience, including Communications roles with Innovate BC and the Digital Technology Supercluster.

More By This Author