Jonathan Partlow, founder of Aggressively Organic, winner of the Food+City Challenge Prize for Session Two.

By Laura Lorek
Publisher of Silicon Hills News

For the first time, Food+City held its annual Challenge Prize competition at South by Southwest.

And judges awarded three $10,000 cash prizes to the winner of each of three sessions on Tuesday. Altogether 14 startups competed as finalists from the U.S., China, Kenya and the United Kingdom.

Taimba, based in Kenya, founded by Dom Kavuisya won the first Challenge Prize Session at the Hilton Downtown. The other finalists in that session included AgroRacks, Elevated Honey Co. Transera, and Vinder. Taimba is a mobile-based cashless platform that connects farmers to retailers.

Aggressively Organic Systems of Fishers, Indiana, founded by Jonathan Partlow, won the second Challenge Prize session. Partlow said the company will be in Austin for MassChallenge Texas from April to August. The other finalists included Afresh Technologies, Big Wheelbarrow, and Grit Grocery.

Aggressively Organic wants to establish a fresh farm in Austin, Partlow said. The company has patents on a hydroponic system, which looks like a cardboard flower pot, to grow lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables. It takes about 21 days to grow a plant, Partlow said. The idea is to eat off the plant or harvest it and share it with neighbors, he said.

“In a world of abundance, nobody’s hungry,” Partlow said.

And UAV.IQ won the third Challenge Prize Session. The other finalists included Corvus Robotics, GrubTubs, Seal the Season and Stowga. UAV.IO uses drones and sensors in agricultural fields globally to help farmers produce more. It has offices in Los Angeles and Puerto Rico and it has participated in three accelerator programs including Startup Chile, Parallel 18 in Puerto Rico and Thrive in Salinas, Calif.

“We’ve had our software used by drone operators on five continents,” said Andreas Neuman, the CEO, and Co-founder.

This is the fourth time Food+City has held the Challenge Prize. Robyn Metcalfe is the founder and created Food+City as a platform and catalyst for supply chain innovation. The nonprofit organization started out as the Food Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.