Agritech venture forum

2020 Program Coming Soon!

Each year, the Forum is a converging point for the global ag tech elite. Industry giants, investors, accelerators, and innovators provide insight on the latest sector headwinds, technology milestones, and key challenges facing the future of ag tech.

Click Here to download a PDF version of the 2019 program, complete with speakers and company listings.

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Registration, Coffee Breaks, and Reception: Grand Ballroom Foyer

Presentations, Sessions and Meals: Grand Ballroom Salon A/B + Crush

07:00 - 08:00

Registration & Networking Breakfast - Sponsored by BIOTECanada & Calgary Economic Development

08:00 - 08:15

Opening Remarks

08:15 - 09:00

Panel Session: Meet the Investors

Put faces to names at the Meet the Investors panel session and hear straight from active Venture Capital and Private Equity investors as they lend insight into exactly what they are looking for, and what they are excited about, within the current opportunity landscape.

David Gauthier


Vice President, Investment

Brad Blomstrom


Matthew Walker

Managing Director

Ingrid Fung

Senior Associate, Agriculture Technologies

Pat Morand


Jinesh Shah

Managing Partner

John Ream


Wes Mills

Portfolio Manager

09:00 - 09:15

AVAC Address

09:15 - 10:15

Company Showcase Presentations

Leaders from competitively selected high growth potential emerging companies present their business models in concise 10 minute presentations.

Matt Rooda


Daniel McCann


Patrick Henry


Rory O'Sullivan


Kelly Hagen


Tzvi Aviv


10:15 - 11:15

Networking Break - Sponsored by Prairie Biosciences Canada

11:15 - 11:45

Keynote Speaker

Brett Brohl

Managing Director

19 Ways to Kill Your Company

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.

11:45 - 12:45

Networking Lunch

12:45 - 13:45

Panel Session: Engaging the Corporate Strategics

Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) is playing an ever increasing role in the venture funding ecosystem. Companies are turning to CVC as an alternative to the traditional venture funding model, and internally, CVC is stepping in to ensure that there is a viable, healthy emerging ag tech ecosystem to feed their corporate parents’ long term needs. Listen in as our panel of key players discuss the current opportunity landscape and how to successfully engage with the broader CVC community.

Andrew Casey


President & CEO

Denise Hockaday

Climate Commercial Lead – Canada

Colin Steen

Managing Director

Andrew Spahr

Director, Primary Nutrient Sales

Jacob Grose

Investment Manager

13:45 - 14:35

Company Showcase Presentations

Leaders from competitively selected high growth potential emerging companies present their business models in concise 10 minute presentations.

Virginia Corless

Chief Growth Officer

Erik Westblom


Ryan Tucker


Paul Shenouda

CPO & Co-Founder

Ken Jackson


14:35 - 14:50

Tech Talk

Henry Gordon-Smith

Founder & Managing Driector

A Vision of Smarter Cities Through Agriculture

“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?

At #AGRIForum, Henry 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.


14:50 - 15:30

Networking Break

15:30 - 16:15

Panel Session: How to Approach Deal Terms

Take a deep dive into the relationship between ag tech entrepreneurs and the funding ecosystem. Panelists reflect back on lessons learned, finding the right partners, and how to navigate deal terms in the midst of raising multiple rounds.

Aki Georgacacos


Co-Founder and Managing Director

Lawrence Page


Ben Hoogland


Pete Nelson

President & Executive Driector

Brad Fabbri

Chief Scientific Officer

Michael Lanahan

Chief Commercial Officer

16:15 - 16:45

Keynote Speaker

Suzanne Livingston

IBM Food Trust Director of Offering Management

How Blockchain is Revolutionizing our Food System

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.

16:45 - 19:00

Official Networking Reception