Home Tech Ecosystem Microbe Grow Wins First Escondido AgTech Hackathon

Microbe Grow Wins First Escondido AgTech Hackathon

by Neal Bloom

Over 200 attendees participated in the AgTech Hackathon Weekend led by The City of Escondido and Fresh Brewed Tech


(October 24, 2022 – Escondido, CA) A team led by veteran grower Eddie Grangetto, Crop Consultant/Avocado Grower, took home top honors in the City of Escondido’s inaugural AgTech Hackathon on Sunday, October 23. The team also included Ying Sun of Salk Institute, Cale Lackey of Fain Drilling, and Stuart Compton, a veteran avocado grower. Their concept, Microbe Grow, to grow their own environmentally safe soil amending/plant enhancing microorganisms that are fermented in a bioreactor, was awarded first place in a competition that included a total of 12 pitched ideas at the start which resulted in 3 winning teams. 


Second-place honors went to a team led by Bryan Bui-Tuong, CEO of San Diego-based IoT solutions company Parley Labs, for their Yield Doctor concept, a sensor kit for farmers to retrieve real-time data about crop performance. The team also included Minh Vuong, Jonathon Bao, and Daniel Sundahl.


Coming in third was Bonsall Berry Farm, an experiential agritourism concept targeting families developed and led by Oceanside resident Mario DeMatteo alongside Rhona Lopez, Jameson Meyst, and Honorebel Walker.


First-place winner Microbe Grow will receive $5,000 as seed money to develop their business plus in-kind business services and coworking space in Escondido’s potential AgTech incubator. The second and third-place winners received a cash prize and business resources.


The three-day Escondido AgTech Hackathon kicked off on Friday, October 21 at Escondido’s Synergy Coworking Centre to an audience that consisted of a cross-section of farmers, politicians, business and technology leaders, investors and community activists. Following a welcome reception and a panel of speakers that included The Plot restaurant owner Jess Waite, 2019 Farmer of the Year John Burr, Escondido mayor Paul McNamara, University of California agronomist Dr. Olie G. Bachie and San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond, people came forward to pitch their ideas and recruit teams. Over the course of the weekend, they validated and advanced their ideas with help and mentorship from leaders at companies such as CalSense, Gener8tor, BlueNalu, Aquaspy and Creating Coding Careers. On Sunday, October 23, the teams pitched their idea and received feedback from a panel of industry judges. Congressman and entrepreneur Darrell Issa (CA-50) also made a surprise appearance on Sunday to encourage the participants.


The Hackathon is one pillar of an ongoing campaign by the City of Escondido, one of San Diego County’s key farming hubs, to support agricultural innovation and attract early and late-stage AgTech startups to the region. “We see AgTech as a key component of economic growth in Escondido, and the Hackathon was designed to support and encourage the entrepreneurs who are addressing some of the big challenges facing the agricultural industry,” says Jennifer Schoeneck, Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Escondido. “We want Escondido to be a part of the solution and create an environment where innovators in this space can grow and thrive.”


Join the AgTech community at the next event Agtech Day January 19 3-6pm with tickets here.

 Thank you to so many that helped make this happen!

AgTech Hackthon by Fresh Brewed Tech & City of Escondido
Facilitated by Michael Norton
1st Place – Microbe Grow 
  • Eddie Grangetto, Crop Consultant/Avocado Grower and co-founder Escondido Growers for Agricultural Preservation
  • Ying Sun, post-doctoral scholar at Salk Institute
  • Cale Lackey, Fain Drilling
  • Stuart Compton, Ingersoll Rand Industrial Technician
2nd place -Yield Doctor 
  • Bryan Bui-Tuong, CEO of Parley Labs
  • Minh Vuong, of Parley Labs
  • Jonathon Bao, of Parley Labs
  • Daniel Sundahl, Process Engineer at Hunter Industries
3rd place – Bonsall Berry Farm 
  • Mario DeMatteo, CEO of Bonsall Berry Farm
  • Jameson Meyst, farm manager
  • Rhona Lopez, Business development management at Pagarba Solutions
  • Honorebel Walker, USD student
  • Steve Beck, Managing Partner at Serra Ventures
  • Pete Oberle, Managing Partner Partner at Trailhead Capital
  • Oli Bachie, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), County Director & Agronomy & Weed Management Advisor
  • Mary Matava – San Diego Farm Bureau Board President & CEO of El Corazon Compost
  • Matt Ferry, Life Sciences Transactions + Licensing and Technology Transactions Partner at Morrison Foerster




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About Escondido

Incorporated in 1888, Escondido is a safe, clean, and efficiently managed city of nearly 150,000 residents in San Diego County.  Escondido is home to a growing number of businesses and a wide range of cultural, educational, healthcare, tourism, and recreation amenities, making the city the ideal destination in which to live, work and play. https://escondido.org/

About Fresh Brewed Tech

Founded in 2018 by investor and community organizer Neal Bloom, Fresh Brewed Tech is a media company that aims to amplify San Diego’s vibrant and innovative tech ecosystem through multiple channels including a blog, podcast and events. By supporting and highlighting the founders, talent and companies throughout San Diego’s diverse tech community, Fresh Brewed aims to encourage economic and job growth and a better quality of life for the region. https://freshbrewedtech.com/


Photo Gallery (by Sarah Schlosberg)



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