DEED Names Winners of First-Ever Virtual Pitch Competition
EcoPlant, which pitched an AI-powered production monitoring system aimed at reducing energy waste and CO2 emissions in industrial production sites, took first place in the competition.

DEED Names Winners of First-Ever Virtual Pitch Competition

Companies from Israel, South Korea and the Netherlands top AI-focused contest

The business pitch contest was virtual, but the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has announced the real winners.

DEED held its first-ever virtual pitch event in partnership with SelectUSA, a federal program to attract foreign investment and business creation in the U.S., on June 30. The competition focused on international companies that are deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to address challenges in agricultural technology (AgTech) and clean technology (CleanTech).

Prior to the pandemic, DEED had planned to hold the pitch competition as an in-person event. The challenge drew 17 entries from international companies. Winners were selected by a panel of industry experts.

A Wednesday announcement from DEED summarized the winners:

  • First place: EcoPlant, based in Israel, pitched an AI-powered production monitoring system that would reduce energy waste and CO2 emissions in industrial production sites.
  • Second place (tie): Animal Industry Data Korea, based in South Korea, pitched AI-based system to monitor real time animal health data and customize animal health care to reduce disease and increase productivity.
  • Second place (tie): SwipeGuide, based in The Netherlands, leverages AI to provide access to critical operational instructions to help workers access the information they need immediately from anywhere.
  • Third place: Aura Air, based in Israel, uses AI to monitor air quality, utilize systems to clean and disinfect air to improve indoor air quality.

“These pitch events are designed to help innovative foreign-owned businesses establish themselves in the U.S. and get a better sense of all the Minnesota business ecosystem has to offer,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement. “The competition creates opportunities for foreign companies to learn about our state and for key opinion leaders and experienced entrepreneurs in Minnesota to meet and mentor these companies.”

A second virtual pitch event planned for August 17 will focus on medical technology applications.