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Grow-NY program selects 20 finalists for this year’s competition

By Eric Reinhardt (


Empire State Development (ESD) on Wednesday announced the 20 finalists selected to participate in the third year of the Grow-NY agribusiness competition. In this file photo, Dropcopter, a tenant at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, receives a $500,000 prize in the Grow-NY competition in November 2019. (Photo credit: Tech Garden Twitter page)

Empire State Development (ESD) on Wednesday announced the 20 finalists selected to participate in the third year of the Grow-NY competition.

Grow-NY is a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier.

In total, 330 startups from around the globe applied to take part in the mentoring competition.

The Grow-NY region includes a broad 22-county swath featuring upstate New York’s farming community as well as several major urban centers, including Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton.

Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement administers the competition and New York State is providing funding for Grow-NY through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative connected with the three regions — CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring.

The program considered applications from 32 countries including Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland. In the U.S., 23 states were represented, including 138 entries from New York.

Grow-NY will award a total of $3 million in prize money to seven winners. This includes a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes, and four $250,000 prizes.

The winner is required to “make a positive economic impact” in the Grow-NY region, ESD said.

The global pitch competition will be held live in Syracuse this November at the Food and Ag Summit.

The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit, scheduled for Nov. 16-17, will be held in two formats simultaneously this year, both in-person and virtually. The in-person portion — where finalists will pitch their business ideas live in front of an audience and answer questions from a judging panel — will be held at the Oncenter in Syracuse, the ESD said.

Finalists (in alphabetical order)

  • Agri-trak — Williamson, N.Y. (Wayne County)
  • Asarasi — Katonah, N.Y. (Westchester County)
  • Ascribe Bioscience — Ithaca
  • Beemunity — New York City
  • Crystal Creek Organics — Rochester
  • Draughtlab — Webster, N.Y. (Monroe County)
  • EmGenisys — Houston, Texas
  • Every Body Eat — Chicago, Illinois
  • Foodnerd — Buffalo
  • Heat Inverse — Ithaca
  • Kyomei — Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Lupii — Brooklyn
  • Neupeak Robotics — Surrey, Canada
  • Nordetect — Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Nutreat — Geneva, N.Y.
  • Persistent BioControl — Austin, Texas
  • Pheronym — Davis, California
  • ProAgni — Lavington, Australia
  • Tropos Technologies — North Tonawanda, N.Y. (Erie County)
  • WeRadiate — Rochester

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