OnRamp Agriculture Conference Moves to Champaign-Urbana, Hub of AgTech Innovation

Category : Research Park
Posted on: April 12, 2022

Event Facilitates Matchmaking, Learning and Networking for Startups, Investors, and Industry Partners

CHAMPAIGN – April 12, 2022 – A coalition of Central Illinois partners have banded together to bring one of the nation’s premier AgTech startup conferences to Champaign. gener8tor will host the third annual OnRamp Agriculture Conference on Tuesday, July 26 at the State Farm Center.

The curated one-day event includes three programming tracks for attendees designed to facilitate deal making and strategic partnerships among startups, corporations, and investors in the ag and food space.

This year’s conference is presented by Cooperative Ventures, the University of Illinois Research Park, Serra Ventures, and the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation.

“Moving the OnRamp Agriculture Conference to Champaign was a goal we have had for some time, as our community is a magnet for truly disruptive innovations in the ag and food industries,” said Dennis Beard, managing partner at Serra Ventures. “Collaboration and cooperation are innate to our community’s culture and represent two of our signature values. We look forward to bringing others into the fold.”

The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees to Champaign, reaping a significant economic impact for the community.

The OnRamp Agriculture Conference adds another dimension to the already robust AgTech ecosystem in Champaign-Urbana, which includes:

  • A land-grant institution steeped in innovation, across the value chain of agriculture.
  • Champaign-based VC firm Serra Ventures announced its $45 million AgTech Fund in February.
  • The University of Illinois Research Park is home to multiple ag-centric corporate innovation centers as well as AgTech startups.
  • Parkland College is recognized as the #2 Precision Agriculture community college in the country and has been awarded four National Science Foundation grants for their innovative AgTech programming.
  • Each March, the community hosts its own AgTech week; the centerpiece of that week is the AgTech Innovation Summit, programmed since 2016.
  • The Illinois AgTech Accelerator, which recruits internationally, is also a gener8tor program. Launched in 2020, it is now hosting its third cohort and its portfolio companies have raised $20M to date.

onramp agriculture champaign 2022

Unique to OnRamp, the Startup Track features curated one-on-one pitch sessions between startups and corporations. OnRamp matches the selected startups with corporate venture capital and innovation executives from participating organizations to discuss potential customer relationships, strategic partnerships and, if appropriate, investment opportunities.

AgTech investment continues to experience exponential growth. According to Pitchbook, the sector saw $10.5 billion invested in 2021, a 58.6% increase from the previous year and more than double the 2019 value. The capital was invested across 751 deals.

To learn more about the 2022 OnRamp Agriculture Conference and to register for the event, visit https://onrampagricultureconference.com/.

About AgTech in Champaign-Urbana:

Champaign-Urbana has long been a hub for technology as well as agriculture. In the past decade, those two paths have converged, paving the way for the community to become an epicenter for AgTech. Champaign-Urbana’s robust AgTech ecosystem includes the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Parkland College, corporate innovation partners, startups, state-of-the-art facilities, student organizations, local ag companies, the Illinois AgTech Accelerator, and more. Learn more at https://yourewelcomecu.com/agtech/.

About the OnRamp Agriculture Conference:

The OnRamp Agriculture Conference brings together the agriculture and food industries’ leading corporations, investors, and startups. The conference highlights innovations disrupting agriculture and the future of food, the leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. Learn more at https://onrampagricultureconference.com/.