MBJ: Agtech bringing scientists, farmers and investors to Memphis
With presentation topics like gene editing, robotics, and rubber made from Russian dandelions, a meeting next week will bring scientists, farmers and investors to Memphis.
Davos on the Delta will be held May 16-18 at the Peabody Hotel.
According to event cofounder John Santi, the aim of the event is to strengthen and energize the agtech network in the Midwest and the South. In addition to continuing the Davos event in Memphis, the founders plan to host future events in St. Louis and Baton Rouge.
“After this first event, [one of our] goals is for the energy at the event to be not replicable at any other event in agtech,” said Santi, managing director at Avondale Partners and a strategist for St. Louis-based venture capitalist firm iSelect Fund.
The Davos agenda includes a farm tour in Wilson, Arkansas, and time at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Competition.
“They’re coming down here to learn and to eat and drink,” Santi said. “That’s where the business happens.”
Another event founder, Pete Nelson, president of AgLaunch Initiative, said a of the event is to help create a pipeline for workforce development.
AgLaunch is a joint initiative of Memphis Bioworks Foundation and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to facilitate the creation of 100 new companies in the Memphis region in agtech by 2022 and get $100 million in public and $500 million in private investment into ag innovation.
Even though Memphis has a long history of agriculture and hundreds of industry companies, the sector is sometimes overlooked.
Davos on the Delta is open to the public, particularly those with a strategic interest.
“For iSelect to see this event become the high-end, intimate conversation around innovation and tech,” Santi said of the event’s goals. “We want this to be like a lightning rod and speed this process up.”