GroundBreakers Austin

John Deere and the Austin Technology Incubator announce GroundBreakers Austin, a pitch competition for innovative software and hardware technologies

On September 15th, 10 startups will pitch to an audience of Austin’s startup community and John Deere leaders to win a spot in John Deere’s Startup Collaborator, mentoring from John Deere experts, and $12,000 in cash prizes.

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2022
Time: 9 AM – 2 PM
Place: Crum Auditorium (1.400) at Rowling Hall on the UT Austin campus,
300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 (map)
Price: Free with RSVP

The finalists

The competition

The competition is seeking startups building new technologies that can be deployed by the broad range of John Deere equipment that helps our customers be more efficient and effective with the jobs they do. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Hardware and software related to the sensing and analysis of soil and plant health in real time
  • Enablers of job automation and autonomy
  • Display, sensor and receiver technologies to further refine the machine’s ability to report its status and performance, as well as to utilize information coming from sensor and other data feeds
  • Mobile web customer dashboard and engagement technologies (i.e., UI/UX enhancements)
  • Technologies focused on the development and integration of alternative-energy powertrain systems and their supporting infrastructure
  • Scanning and reality capture technology
  • FinTech opportunities that help customers more deeply and seamlessly connect with their various upstream and downstream market actors
  • Technologies that support improved practices, tracking, and analysis related to sustainable, regenerative or carbon-smart agriculture

The selected finalists will also be invited to a private reception with leaders of Austin’s startup ecosystem at John Deere’s new Innovation Center on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas and receive pitch coaching from the Austin Technology Incubator.

Applications will be open until Wednesday, August 10th, with finalists announced by Friday, August 19th. The pitch competition is in person in Austin, Texas so startups will be expected to travel to participate. The Austin-based John Deere and Austin Technology Incubator teams will also help finalists engage with the broader Austin startup ecosystem while in town.

Hear how John Deere works with startups in the Startup Collaborator

For more information, please contact


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The world’s population is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion by 2050, increasing global food demand by 50%.


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To reduce hunger and serve a growing population, we need to increase agricultural productivity by 60 to 70%.



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Over 300 million acres across 60+ countries around the world leveraged John Deere connected equipment and digital technology in 2021. This is 3 times the size of California.



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John Deere Precision Ag Technology is used on farms of all sizes, from 100 to 10,000 acres and more (one acre is about the same size as a football field). These farms can have over 750 million plants.


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The John Deere autonomous 8R Tractor collected over 50 million images during in-field testing over the past 3 years. Each model is trained with hundreds of thousands of images, and its neural network classifies each pixel in about 100 milliseconds.

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The autonomous 8R Tractor can prepare over 325 acres of soil in 24 hours – that’s bigger than the land area of the National Mall in Washington, D.C..


Depending on the crop a farmer is growing, it can take 7-15 passes across a single field to grow a healthy, abundant crop. With the autonomous 8R Tractor in tillage, farmers are instantly 2 times more productive because they can do 2 jobs at once – focusing their attention on more critical, time-sensitive work.