Showcase Features Future of Food, Ag Innovation

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Greg Deason from the Purdue Research Foundation spoke during the showcase at Launch Fishers. Greg Deason from the Purdue Research Foundation spoke during the showcase at Launch Fishers.

AgriNovus Indiana Chief Executive Officer Beth Bechdol says an event held Thursday at Launch Fishers highlights the "marrying" of old and new Indiana industry sectors. The Agbiosciences Start-up Showcase featured presentations from five high-tech entrepreneurs to investors and leaders in the space. "We're really focused around demonstrating that Indiana is a leader and can be an even greater leader in 21st Century food and ag innovation and ingenuity," Bechdol tells Inside INdiana Business.

She says for the industry to be successful, it takes contributions from companies of all sizes, including startups. "And that's everything from the talent pipeline that we have here, the companies that are here -- many of them global and even quite large," Bechdol says. "in an ecosystem that needs to be built to focus on economic development, it also takes the early-stage, venture capital-based/invested startup companies to make sure that you've got a really vibrant economy around that ag innovation space."

At the time AgriNovus Indiana was launched in 2013, Bechdol says the number of food and ag innovation startups could be counted on one hand. Today, the statewide initiative is following 30 that fit the bill.

Thursday's event was a collaboration among AgriNovus, the Purdue Foundry and Launch Fishers. It featured five entrepreneurs of early-stage companies:

  • David Rowe of Indianapolis-based Choco Finesse LLC
  • Kelvin Okamoto of Carmel-based Gen3Bio Inc.
  • Scott Massey of West Lafayette-based Hydro Grow LLC
  • Larry Blaszczak of Indianapolis-based Teichos Laboratories LLC
  • Bruce Applegate of West Lafayette-based Phicrobe LLC
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