Agritech venture forum

2020 Keynote Speakers

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2020 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

The Price of Tomorrow

Jeff Booth

Entrepreneur, Tech Leader, and Author

Jeff Booth is a visionary leader who has lived at the forefront of technology change for 20 years. He led BuildDirect, a technology company that aimed to simplify the building industry, for nearly two decades through the dot-com meltdown, the 2008 financial crisis, and many waves of technological disruption. 

Jeff has been featured in ForbesTechCrunchInc.comThe Globe and Mail, BNNFast Company, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2015, he was named BC Technology Industry Association’s (BCTIA) Person of the Year, and in 2016 Goldman Sachs named him among its 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. 

He is a Founding Partner of OtioLabs, Co-Founder of addyinvest.com and NocNoc, and serves on the boards of Terramera, Cubic Farms, LlamaZOO, Synthiam and the Richmond Hospital Foundation as well as numerous advisory boards.

Building the Future of Agriculture & Food

Mark Kahn

Managing Partner

Omnivore defines itself as a “financial first” impact investor, seeking to deliver marketrate venture capital returns, while impacting the lives of Indian smallholder farmers and rural communities. Every day, Omnivore portfolio companies drive agricultural prosperity and transform food systems across India, making farming more profitable, resilient, and
sustainable.

Power of the Network

John Hill

VP of Network

John is the VP of Network for Techstars, a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program that dreams big and accelerates the growth of tech companies. To date, hundreds of companies have gone through the Techstars accelerator, and John is charged with supporting and growing a global network of tech entrepreneurs, mentors and investors who surround them.

Once an Evangelist at LinkedIn, now the VP of Network at Techstars, John is a huge proponent of “the hustle” and believes “changing the world” can be more than hyperbole. A firm believer that a network needs love and attention, John’s presentation will outline how you can build a diverse network that can actually help forge your career forward. Whether you’re focused on online or offline connections, his speech highlights valuable tips and tricks that every entrepreneur needs to know when it comes to networking effectively!

2019 Keynote Speakers

How Blockchain is Revolutionizing our Food System

Suzanne Livingston

IBM Food Trust Director of Offering Management

Ever wonder how blockchain is transforming our food system?

As the IBM Food Trust Director of Offering Management, Suzanne Livingston brings transparency, accountability, and traceability to the food supply chain using blockchain. Food’s journey from farm to table is complex, involving numerous actors and transactions. A number of issues, including food waste, food fraud, and food-borne illness, are exacerbated by limited transparency in the supply chain. Blockchain technology can create unprecedented visibility and accountability within complex, multi-party systems by connecting all actors through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data.

Prior to blockchain, Suzanne launched and scaled new offerings for IBM, including social software, cloud collaboration, and the fintech platform for developers. Suzanne leads product management organizations with a collaborative, inclusive approach having been on the front lines of product management, engineering, and user experience. Suzanne founded the MIT Product Management Club, and was a Product Management 101 & 102 Teaching Fellow at Harvard Business School.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from Suzanne about how IBM’s Food Trust blockchain is tackling these issues and why collaboration is key to industry adoption and success. 

19 Ways to Kill Your Company

Brett Brohl

Managing Director

What are the ways you can screw up your company past the point of no return? Brett Brohl is the Managing Director of the Techstar’s Farm to Fork Accelerator and he’s no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship. Brett is an entrepreneur, investor, and mentor, who has bootstrapped, raised venture capital, taken three companies to exit and has had at least one failure along the way. With no shortage of first-hand experience, his keynote presentation will outline the 19 ways you will destroy your company and how to avoid them.

Brett is driven by making a difference in the world by helping entrepreneurs succeed. The Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator is the first Techstars program focused on the digital side of food and agriculture. Partnered with Cargill and Ecolab, the program is looking for the best entrepreneurs across the entire food value chain, from ag tech, to food safety, waste reduction and trace-ability.

Prior to the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator Brett served as Director of the inaugural Techstars Startup Next Food & Ag in Partnership with Land O’Lakes and as the Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars Retail Accelerator in Partnership with Target. Brett is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Syndicate Fund, an early stage venture capital fund investing in retail, marketing, food and agriculture. When he’s not engaging the world’s start-up scene Brett can be found hanging with his wife and kids, driving a lobster boat, or pretending to be a tennis pro.

A Vision of Smarter Cities Through Agriculture

Henry Gordon-Smith

Founder & Managing Director

“Imagine living in a city that values food security as much as it values wifi.”

Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Agritecture Consulting, is on a mission to teach people what happens when we approach agriculture from an architectural perspective.

As the demand for local food grows, innovations in controlled environment agriculture promise to help restaurants and retailers keep up with the preferences of their consumers. All the while investment in indoor agriculture technology and companies continues to skyrocket every year. But as the global food system faces increasing strain, which farming models will pave the way for profitable and resilient food production in and around cities over the next 30 years?

Join industry thought-leader, Henry Gordon-Smith, at #AGRIForum, where he will be discussing the commercial case for vertical and urban farming at a time when food systems and cities are under ever-increasing threat from climate events, population growth, and limited year-round fresh food options.