Take a look below at the 2023 Keynote Speaker roster! Sign-up for our newsletter to be the first to know about our 2024 programming announcements as they are announced!
"Unlocking the Potential: Trends & Opportunities in AgFood Investing"
Partner, Chairman & Founder
Listen in as Jaleh Daie, Founder & Chair of AgFood Tech at Band of Angels offers her valuable insights and expertise on the latest trends and opportunities in the AgFood tech industry. As an experienced investor, Jaleh has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing this dynamic sector. In this session, she will share her insights on the most promising areas of AgFood tech investing, highlighting the latest trends and developments that are shaping the industry.
Women in Tech Hall of Famer Jaleh is a seasoned thought leader, biologist, investor, board director, and strategic advisor. Jaleh is a multifaceted thought leader whose career spans academia, business, philanthropy, government and NGOs. She has served the administrations of three Presidents and collaborated/worked in several countries. Her success in navigating disparate careers in both private & public sectors stems from her ability to apply the appropriate mental model to each role.
Whether you are an investor, entrepreneur, or simply interested in the future of food and agriculture, this session is a must-attend for anyone looking to unlock the potential of AgFood tech.
"The Next Green Revolution: How Canada can feed the world, sustainably”
Climate and Agriculture Policy Lead
Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in Canada and critical to our country’s growth, prosperity, and net-zero climate goals. By 2050, we must increase our food production by a quarter just to maintain our contribution as the world’s population swells. We need to grow more for humanity, with less impact on the planet. This can be Canada’s moonshot for 2030 and beyond, if we can harness the imagination and enterprise of Canadians in every sector and geography. Mohamad Yaghi, RBC’s Agriculture and Climate Policy Lead, will examine agtech’s integral role in helping Canada achieve its agricultural potential to become the world’s sustainable breadbasket.
"2023 Venture Capital Outlook"
VP, Research & Product
In light of ongoing global conflict, rapidly rising interest rates, high levels of inflation, and concerns about a global recession, the last few years have seen venture capital and private equity push to new records and pivot focus to respond to various market variables. Join us for a conversation around 2023’s venture capital outlook, and an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and gain insights into the latest markets trends affecting the VC and PE investment landscape. The CVCA is the authoritative source of private capital data, with industry research that connects private capital professionals with statistics and valuable insights to gain a more accurate understanding of the market, the issues affecting the industry, and to best position your organization to drive growth.
Christiane Wherry is the Vice President of Research & Product and Head of ESG at the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA), a voice for Canadian Private Capital, where she leads industry research and provides VC and PE investors with expert insights into the latest macroeconomic trends affecting the private capital industry. A trained economist with deep experience funding Canada’s innovation sector, she has contributed to building multiple companies and to driving change across technology, government, and non-profit domains in Canada and globally. Prior to joining the CVCA, she was a Principal at Quantius, an IP-based lender focused on Canadian Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in knowledge-based sectors. She holds advanced degrees from the London School of Economics and University of Toronto, Faculty of Law.
"Strategic M&A in Agtech - Patient Capital & Open Innovation Models"
Combyne Ag was recently acquired by Bayer Crop Science, in line with Bayer’s broader focus on investing in solutions that support the increasingly digital management of farm operations. Continuing to operate as a stand-alone business, Combyne focuses on building grain marketing management software purposefully built for farmers. Hear from a founder’s perspective on how this unique transaction came to be, and the types of opportunities this model opens up for collaborations and strategic partnerships with other industry incumbents and agtech innovators alike.
2022 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
2021 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Telling Stories: Highlighting Women Innovators in Agtech
Founder & Chief Content Director
As investment and interest continues to grow in the agtech sector, it is important to document and hear the stories of women, and women of colour, creating new technology in agriculture. Amy Wu, Founder and Chief Content Officer of “From Farms to Incubators” talks about how her documentary, book and how the digital platform of Farms to Incubators has served as a connector and convener for women in the agtech space and those who want to connect with them.
Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for the women’s ag and agtech movement
She is the Creator & Chief Content Director of From Farms to Incubators, a multimedia platform that uses documentary, video, photography and the written word to tell the stories of women leaders and innovators in agtech. It has a mission of highlighting women in food, farming, and farmtech, especially women of color. From Farms to Incubators includes an award-winning documentary short that has been screened at SXSW, and a best-selling book “From Farms to Incubators: Women Revolutionizing How Our Food Is Grown” that was released in May 2021.
In 2020 Amy was named on Worth magazine’s “Groundbreakers 2020 list of 50 Women Changing the World” list. She was also a recipient of the Women in Agribusiness Demeter Award of Excellence. In 2021 she was named by Food Tank as one of “27 Inspiring Women Reshaping the Food System.”
Scaling Disruptive Companies | Fireside Chat
Dennis Woodside is the President of Impossible Foods. He joined the company in 2019 in the newly-created role and oversees the company’s operations, manufacturing, supply chain, sales and HR functions.
Previously Chief Operating Officer of Dropbox, Dennis is a tech industry veteran and has more than 25 years of experience at both startups and major multinationals. At Dropbox, Dennis helped increase Dropbox’s global revenue to nearly $1.4 billion, and he was part of the company’s IPO in early 2018.
Prior to Dropbox, Dennis was the Chief Executive Officer of Motorola Mobility after its acquisition by Google. During his tenure there, Dennis restructured the business and refined the product strategy, then sold the mobile device business to Lenovo and the cable infrastructure business to Arris.
Before Motorola Mobility, Dennis held various leadership roles at Google from 2003-2012. Underlying every role was the challenge of scaling a fast-growing business with an expanding product set and a consumer pool of literally billions of people.
The Milkman Model, Reimagined
Founder & CEO
Julia Niiro is the founder & CEO of MilkRun, a weekly service delivering locally farmed food directly to consumers through an online marketplace. Recognized for solving two key problems of the local food movement: distribution and low pay, Niiro’s two-year-old business grew 15x in 2020 as she and her team helped farmers shift to eCommerce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Niiro is a Y Combinator, TechStars Accelerator Alum and TEDx speaker and has been recognized for her innovation and resilience, landing on Inc. Magazine’s list of Top 100 Female Founders and Forbes Next 1000 list.
Problem: Farmers are facing extinction
90 percent of small farms in America are on the brink of extinction. If we don’t change the way food is currently distributed, locally grown food will simply disappear. If mega-industrialized farming becomes our only option for food, we’ll have no more farmer’s markets, no more CSAs, and no more farmers who are stewards to the land. Without radical new systems, the only options for food will come from huge corporations pushing profit over people, and we just don’t want to live in that kind of world.
Solution: The milkman model, reimagined
Groceries travel an average of 1,500 miles to get to your local grocery store. We’ve knocked that average down to a mere 35 miles by cutting out the middleman and introducing the MilkRunner —team members that seamlessly deliver MilkRun directly to your doorstep. That means less pollution, less food waste, less cold storage, and more money kept in our farming community which helps boost the local economy.
True innovation isn’t about inventing “more.” It’s about reimagining and taking the very best of what has always worked in our systems. It’s then about applying the resources that we have available to us today to make them better for the people and communities that need them. Join me to learn about how we’re changing the future of food distribution here at MilkRun.
Global Agrifood Tech Investing - An Asia Pacific Perspective
Robert Williams is a director at Artesian, the most active early-stage venture capital fund in Australia which now manages +$300m USD. Artesian is a global alternative investment management firm with staff in NY, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Jakarta, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. They specialize in funds focused on credit arbitrage and relative value strategies across global financial markets. Their VC strategy is designed to access the financial and strategic returns that the asset class can provide and mitigate the risks of the innovation ecosystem, with a focus on the Asia Pacific region.
Robert leads Artesian’s agrifood VC investment activities and is a portfolio manager for the GrainInnovate Fund and SproutX VC Fund. Prior to joining Artesian, Robert most recently worked as a manager within the agricultural investment team at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, a division within the asset management arm of the Macquarie Group.