- Call for start-ups, industry leaders and BASF employees worldwide to
co-create solutions for a more sustainable future of agriculture
- Launch in North America with future collaboration expansions in Europe and Asia Pacific
- Global roll-out benefits from successes in Latin America, where BASF has cooperated with 14 start-ups to develop digital agricultural solutions
Over the next decade, agriculture and the food system will undergo a massive transformation to produce enough and affordable food for the growing population on limited arable land. Innovative and breakthrough technologies are needed and BASF supports this transition by leveraging the potential of the best digital agriculture ideas from inside and outside the company with its open innovation platform AgroStart which will now be established on a global level.
AgroStart pairs these ideas with mentorship, market access, exploratory capital and new ways of working. Bringing together trusted capabilities from BASF and entrepreneurs enables quick, efficient and cost-effective co-creation of digital agricultural solutions that help farmers worldwide to tackle the many challenges they face.
“With the global launch of our open innovation platform AgroStart, we combine the world’s most promising ideas – be it from BASF’s or external’s bright minds – with our expertise, direct access to our global customer base and markets, mentoring, as well as capital to cultivate the future of digital agriculture together,” said Vincent Gros, President of BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division.
First introduced in 2016 in Brazil and continuously rolled out across Latin America, AgroStart benefits today from learnings and successes that pave the way for the expansion of the open innovation platform in North America and for future market entries in Europe and Asia Pacific.
In North America, AgroStart will initially focus on identifying solutions that enable farmers to manage and extract value from the large amount of data they create on the farm. To help discover these solutions, BASF is teaming up with SVG|THRIVE, a leading global agrifood investment and innovation platform, headquartered in Silicon Valley, to leverage their network and expertise to identify the best emerging start-ups. “We are delighted to work with BASF on AgroStart as it expands its footprint into North America,” said John Hartnett, CEO and Founder of SVG|THRIVE. “It’s been great to see the program grow over the years and we are excited to join forces leveraging our ecosystem and innovation platform to advance the future of foodand agriculture through innovation.”
In Latin America, AgroStart has partnerships with international companies and institutions like Bosch, Samsung, Banco do Brasil and Mercedes Benz, and more than 600 start-ups across Latin America applied to work with AgroStart. Over the past few years, multiple technologies have been developed, such as drone-assisted application of crop protection products. Up to now, BASF has partnered with 14 start-ups on digital agricultural solutions.
One of these start-ups is Tbit. Their solution, developed with AgroStart, uses artificial intelligence to analyze and classify agricultural products. It allows automized quality control of soybean seeds, which can increase the amount of tested seeds and reduce the time spent by five times, enabling to reduce costs by up to 90%. For Tbit’s CEO, Igor Chalfoun, AgroStart allowed for testing their solution in practice and identifying areas for improvement. “Thanks to AgroStart, we have been able to adapt our technologies to real-world requirements. This would have been a major challenge without the support of a well-structured open innovation platform like AgroStart,” said Chalfoun.
AgroStart complements further co-creation initiatives and programs from BASF. The Open Innovation Platform Agro focuses on collaboration with scientists from universities, research institutes, biotech companies and pharmaceutical companies to develop new crop protection compounds. The AgInnovation & New Business team is interested in working with start-ups and entrepreneurial teams outside the company that have ideas for alternatives to conventional crop protection or for improved crop production. BASF can support them by accelerating their idea, identifying partnership options or facilitating investments. xarvio® Digital Farming Solutions also actively pursues strategic collaboration with industry partners offering different expertise to further seize business opportunities and to develop innovative solutions for farmers.