The University of Alberta is partnering with a leading Silicon Valley firm to support innovation growth in Alberta’s agriculture and food sectors.

An agreement with SVG Ventures|THRIVE, a venture capital firm investing in agricultural technology startups and supporting corporations with open innovation, powers the U of A to accelerate its development and adoption of technology-driven solutions that support the agri-food sectors in Alberta and beyond.

“This partnership leverages the ingenuity and talent of U of A researchers to strengthen Alberta’s innovation ecosystem,” says Aminah Robinson Fayek, vice-president (research and innovation).

“Our researchers are pursuing new ideas and technologies to help make the agriculture and food sectors more sustainable and profitable. Working with THRIVE will accelerate these innovations coming out of the U of A, connect emerging businesses with funding and support, and get new ventures into the market.” 

The U of A and THRIVE will work together to support the U of A’s startup and applied research community while building competitiveness across Alberta’s agriculture and food industries through effective adoption of technology.

“The partnership supports our researchers as they generate new technologies that will increase revenues and decrease costs in the agriculture and food sectors,” says Stan Blade, dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES).

THRIVE’s demonstrated expertise working globally with partners to advance agtech innovation gives researchers and their innovative work an effective pathway to further development and commercialization, he notes. 

“ALES has a legacy of turning our portfolio of research into commercial opportunities such as Forge Hydrocarbons, and THRIVE gives us a way to do that in a more intentional way. It will really open up new opportunities for us.”

The partnership will assist U of A researchers, entrepreneurs and early-stage companies in commercializing their promising innovations, through THRIVE’s Studio and Academy programs designed to test and validate ideas while building go-to-market strategies. THRIVE’s Accelerator program then offers potential funding as well as other resources to help build market strategy and connect globally with customers and investors. 

The partnership will leverage the strengths of both the U of A and THRIVE to play a key role in highlighting Alberta ideas and companies on a global level, says John Cassidy, managing director for Canada at SVG Ventures|THRIVE.

“The University of Alberta has a long track record of producing high-quality research and tech solutions to solve big challenges; this partnership allows us to increase adoption of these solutions to a larger market while nurturing the agtech ecosystem in Alberta,” he says.

“It’s exciting that together, we can build out a robust innovation ecosystem putting Canada, and Alberta, at the forefront of sustainable agtech solutions,” Cassidy adds.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, SVG Ventures|THRIVE comprises top agriculture, food and technology corporations, universities and investors. With a community of more than 7,000 startups from over 100 countries, the THRIVE platform accelerates and creates unparalleled access for entrepreneurs to scale globally. 

The alliance with the U of A also supports THRIVE’s commitment to elevating the next generation of entrepreneurs with the resources and expertise to address critical challenges facing the global agri-food sector, Cassidy notes.

“We look forward to expanding our reach within the Alberta ecosystem to harness the power of technology to advance the future of food and agriculture.” 

The partnership will reap economic benefits for the province, Blade adds.

“Alberta is starting to see new startup companies in the food and agtech space, so this is a valuable opportunity to grow the industry and jobs here.”

SVG Ventures|THRIVE is a partner in the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program led and managed by Alberta Innovates. SVG Ventures|THRIVE activities in Alberta are co-funded by a consortium that includes the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Alberta Innovates, Prairies Economic Development Canada and Olds College.


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