MEDIA RELEASE – Grainster selected as finalist of “Best Idea, One to Watch” by Talent Unleashed Awards

MEDIA RELEASE – Grainster selected as finalist of “Best Idea, One to Watch” by Talent Unleashed Awards


October 24, 2017
Grainster, an innovative early-stage Arkansas startup, is a finalist in the 2017
Talent Unleashed Awards competition, judged by an international panel including
Steve Wozniak of Apple and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group. Grainster was
selected as one of three U.S. startups in the category “Best Idea, One to Watch.”
The Award celebrates the most ground-breaking startups, innovators and
entrepreneurs across the globe. The final award winner will be announced at a
gala event in Melbourne, Australia, on December 7, hosted by Steve Wozniak,
who will award the prize and offer feedback and advice to the competitors. The
winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley to visit global
technology headquarters and meet with leaders in person.

The Talent Unleashed Awards, now in their fifth year, identify companies and
business leaders using technology to transform the world by creating bold and
inventive solutions for challenges in business or society.

Grainster, a finalist in the “Best Idea – One to Watch” category, has been
selected for its innovative technology-enabled grain trading marketplace, created
to enhance global food security and small farm resilience.

By freeing growers to offer their crops directly to a global buying audience,
Grainster’s ecosphere provides a new horizon in agricultural value, service and

Commenting on their Finalist status, Founder of Grainster, Layne Fortenberry,
said “Ecstatic is the way to describe our feeling at Grainster when we found out.
It’s not every day your idea gets validation from people like Richard Branson and
Steve Wozniak. We are just thrilled to be in the same room with all the other
talented finalists and eager to show the world what kind of visionary ideas can
come out of Arkansas.”
Grainster’s mission is to revolutionize the way agricultural commodities are
traded by expanding trading opportunities to a global landscape for both sellers
(farmers) and buyers. This program is about bold ideas and brave leaders and
this year, Talent has seen incredible examples of both.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and Global Talent Unleashed
Awards judge commented: “What we are seeing with the Talent Unleashed
Awards is part of a broader movement where people are more inclined to
confidently stand up and say ‘there’s a better way to do this!’ I certainly relate to


Richard Earl, Chairman and Founder of Talent commented that he was also
inspired by the caliber of this year’s entrants. “Each year we search for the new
frontrunners in tech, and each year that search yields more spectacular results. I
love having the opportunity to identify and celebrate the people and companies
leading the way in innovation and social change across the globe.”

For more information about Talent Unleashed 2017, please visit

The 2017 Talent Unleashed Awards finalists are as follows:

APAC Best Idea: One to Watch
⋅ Omar Zuiater & Alaa Habeb, Emudent
⋅ Michelle Perugini, Life Whisperer
⋅ Nathan Spataro, SecureVote

USA Best Idea: One to Watch
⋅ Mengju Wu, Data Center Efficiency Solutions
⋅ Layne Fortenberry, Grainster
⋅ Premal Ashar, Nuro Technologies

Best Startup: Tech or Digital Innovation
⋅ Lee Hardham, Brauz
⋅ Markus Kahlbetzer, Brickx
⋅ Florian Simmendinger, Soundbrenner

Best Startup: Social or Community Impact
⋅ Dr. Nikhil Pooviah, Cancer Aid
⋅ Kendall Flutey, Banquer
⋅ David Marten, Power Ledger

Most Disruptive Technology or Digital Leader
⋅ Clive Dickens, Seven West
⋅ Nick Whitehouse, MinterEllisonRuddWatts & McCarthyFinch
⋅ Mark Cohen, Domain Group

Most Progressive Workplace Leader
⋅ Jessica May, Enabled Employment
⋅ Annie Parker, Fishburners
⋅ Amie McKinlay, Lotto NZ

About the Talent Unleashed judging panel


The global Talent Unleashed Awards judging panel was headlined by iconic
entrepreneurs Steve Wozniak and Sir Richard Branson, along with Igniting
Change and Comic Relief champion Jane Tewson. The global judging panel was
supported by judges Yat Siu (Outblaze) Frances Valintine (The Mind Lab), Chris
Gilbert (Equitise) Dan Radcliffe (International Volunteer HQ), and Matt Tindale