NEWS: Four Startup Companies Participating in AgLaunch Bootcamp

2019 AgLaunch KEC Bootcamp Cohort

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (July 9, 2019) — Four innovative startups have been selected to participate in the AgLaunch and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center agtech bootcamp this week being held on the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture campus in Knoxville. This is the first of two bootcamps AgLaunch will host as part of its Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Cluster Award. These teams represent innovations in the food and agriculture sector demonstrating next-generation approaches to creating sustainable farming systems of the future.

“We are proud to partner with AgLaunch and KEC on this event expanding UTIA’s role in providing interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial approaches to solving agriculture’s biggest problems through supporting the creation of new Tennessee companies,” said Dr. Tim Cross, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Participating teams will have access to world-class mentors, entrepreneurial support, and most importantly, farmers and industry leaders. This year’s cohort of teams include:

  • Better Nature
    The philosophy of Better Nature is to increase sustainability of urban and agricultural habitats through utilization of integrated pest management, basic ecological phenomena, and a suite of microbes that love and live with plants.
  • Foresight Chemistry
    Foresight Chemistry is currently developing a scalable approach to produce lectins and glycans from natural feedstocks to unlock the potential of targeting proteins toward creating biological-based agricultural inputs.
  • Sustainable Fermentation Systems
    A patent-pending device and process involving the recycling of fermentation off-gas for greenhouse CO2 enrichment, resulting in increased crop yields and productivity.
  • Plow & Barrow
    Plow & Barrow is a plant-based agrarian life and wellness company that provides ready-to-go plant-based meals, experiences and services to offer a holistic approach to human health.

This is the second year that KEC, UTIA, and AgLaunch have partnered to host this intensive bootcamp. Building off of the recent Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Cluster Award announcement, AgLaunch sees this continued work with KEC and UTIA as vital to support early-stage companies in the Mid-South region. This year’s itinerary includes one-on-one counseling with entrepreneur experts, alumni teams, and companies involved in emerging markets and crops.

“This cohort is unified around the concept of creating a full life-cycle in agriculture from soil health to human health, capturing emissions, and growing healthier plants,” said Pete Nelson, Executive Director of AgLaunch.

“The partnership with AgLaunch allows KEC to offer a world-class program to serve a crucial industry to the development of rural and urban Tennessee,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

The general public is invited to participate in the bootcamp by meeting the teams, learning more about AgLaunch, KEC, and UTIA, and networking with other agtech experts at the following event:

Bootcamp Keynote Luncheon
Friday, July 12, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:30 PM
UT Institute of Agriculture, 2506 River Dr., 136 Brehm Animal Science Building

After seven days of hard work, the AgLaunch Bootcamp startups will have the opportunity to demo their progress to a public audience. The luncheon will feature a keynote address by Karen LeVert, co-founder & CEO of Ag TechInventures (AgTI).

For more information, contact Schuyler Dalton at



About AgLaunch
AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market by bridging the present and future to grow a more diverse and sustainable farm economy and provide healthy food for all. AgLaunch leverages its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-in-class accelerator programming to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.

About Knoxville Entrepreneurship Center

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is a business accelerator located in Market Square that serves as the front door for entrepreneurs in our region, and a resource for anyone looking to start or grow a business here. By nurturing and supporting a culture of entrepreneurship, we are fostering innovation, creativity and job growth within our community. KEC is a place for networking, education and teaching others what we’ve learned. We are a mentor-driven business accelerator, a shared workspace and a source of mediocre coffee. As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, KEC is funded through sponsorships, partnerships, grants and membership fees. In addition to support from the City of Knoxville and the State of Tennessee, KEC relies on the generous contributions of leading East Tennessee corporations, successful entrepreneurs and those who have a vested interest in the success of new businesses in our region.

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