Leading entrepreneurs squared off at the Western Growers/S2G Ventures' AgSharks® competition this week and 3Bar Biologics walked away with a $250,000 equity investment offer to take its microbe technology from development to market. The seed funding was awarded by S2G Ventures after 3Bar Biologics competed against four other companies inventing new technology solutions to solve agriculture’s most pressing issues. Based in Ohio, 3Bar Biologics is the global leader in customized technologies and bio-manufacturing solutions for living agricultural microbe products.  In addition to investment capital, 3Bar Biologics will receive international recognition, mentoring from WG and S2G, potential access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies and exposure to WG’s expansive network of leading fresh produce companies.

“In an industry forced to shoulder the crushing weight of poorly designed regulations, perpetual labor shortages and water supply insecurity, innovation is essential,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. “3Bar Biologics embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that will help our farmers overcome these challenges and continue to feed the world.”

During the competition, the agtech startups pitched to six expert judges and a live audience where they were evaluated on the strength of their solution and potential to scale, among other assessment categories. Naïo Technologies was the audience winner.

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"The AgSharks Competition continues to bring together leading growers and entrepreneurs in the space," said Aaron Rudberg, Managing Director and COO, S2G Ventures. He noted that the biologics market is rapidly growing, but struggles with issues of efficacy and stability. “3Bar's innovative solution is poised to solve many of these challenges.”

AgSharks premiered in 2017 with the goal of supporting game-changing startups and technologies, and since its inception, three agtech starts ups – Hazel Technologies, AgVoice and Burro – have received a total of $2.5 million in investment offers from S2G Ventures. More than 100 applicants applied for the AgSharks event in 2021.

In photo above: On left, 3Bar Biologics CEO Bruce Caldwell joined the judges’ panel after his firm was selected as the AgSharks winner. Judges included: Aaron Rudberg, Managing Director and COO, S2G Ventures, Cristina Rohr, Principal, S2G Ventures, Audre Kapacinskas, Vice President, S2G Ventures; Frank Maconachy, President and CEO, Ramsay Highlander, Inc., Dominic Muzzi Jr., CEO/COO, Muzzi Family Farms, LLC, and Alexandra Allen, Compliance Counsel, Main Street Produce, Inc. Photo Credit: Western Growers

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