Startup Wise Guys, Europe’s most experienced B2B startup accelerator, and Latvian State Forests (LVM), the holding company that administers and manages public forest land in Latvia, are announcing a new Forest Tech startup accelerator program called SilvaTech.

Forestry is one of the principal industries of the Baltic region, and Latvian State Forests is one of the region’s most important industry players, managing over 1.6 million hectares of forests – nearly one quarter of the entire country’s landmass. While forestry itself tends to be a traditional, slow-to-change field, LVM has been a leader in innovation for some time, leading a digital revolution in Baltic forestry as well as a focus on sustainable development.

With its new program, SilvaTech, LVM is looking to push Baltic forestry further into the future. By using the processes and mechanisms of tech startup culture and leaning on the energy of the Baltic startup scene, LVM hopes to identify and enable the next generation of tech-driven, forestry-focused startups to achieve sustainable success. In its selection of Startup Wise Guys – one of Europe’s largest acceleration programs – as the managing partner of the accelerator program, LVM is signalling a commitment to the seriousness of this new innovation initiative.

SilvaTech is a hybrid (online & offline), 8-month-long acceleration program that’s divided into four stages, covering everything from idea shaping to building a market-ready solution. While the first part of the program – Idea Hacks – is aimed at internal teams from LVM, startups tackling forestry related challenges can already apply for the second part of the acceleration program. Ten internal and external teams will be invited to the final stage for an intensive product development and entrepreneurship training program.

Participation in the program is equity-free and free of any costs. Preference will be given to startups that show a commitment to testing and developing products within Latvian forest lands. Program participants will be given access to the combined entrepreneurial and forestry expertise of Startup Wise Guys’ and LVM’s mentors, as well as forestry data and insights to help tackle the current challenges of one of the largest forestry players in the region. LVM is explicitly hoping to find internal developmental partners via this new accelerator program.

“LVM has been an innovator in the forestry space since the very beginning. Without geospatial information systems, drones, digitization, and more we would not be able to effectively manage the 1.6 million hectares of forest land that cover a quarter of Latvia’s territory,”  said Ilga Anita Bērzkalna, Head of Development at LVM.

“So far we have focused on innovation only internally, but more complex, interdisciplinary challenges have arisen. The time has come to bring in specialists in technologies such as machine learning, sensors, robotics, remote research, as well as other areas, and tackle these challenges together,” she added.

“One of the biggest challenges for B2B startups is access to large companies, especially state-owned ones. This program will facilitate a large volume of data and insights that startups can use to build and test products, and see whether the solution is a fit for a large and innovative forestry player. SWG already runs a sustainability program, so focusing on Forest Tech was a logical next step for us,” said Cristobal Alonso, CEO of Startup Wise Guys.

Interested startups with a focus on seed growing and planting, mineral extraction, general forestry and arboriculture, hunting and recreation, or geospatial information systems are encouraged to apply. The program is also open for startups that are developing a product or service that could be applied to the forestry industry.

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