8 AgTech Accelerators That Are Changing The Game

arming has been the age-old way of making a living and keeping people working. It’s also very sustainable if you didn’t notice. But what many don’t realize is that agriculture technology has been blossoming in recent years. Big “Farma” companies, along with venture capital firmsand philanthropic organizations have been pouring money into startups that are producing new technology to make farming even more sustainable, profitable, and quality-oriented.

We might be prone to think that agtech is just about modifying the genetics of the plants we’re growing, but that is not the whole truth. There are startups that are developing drone technology specifically for farming and researchers creating living microbes that kill the pests that ruin the crops we eat. Agtech is really beginning to revolutionize farming, and it’s benefitting both the farmer and the consumer in a big way.

Since agtech is growing in potential, accelerators and incubators are sprouting up to make innovation easier. They are giving fertile ground to entrepreneurs by providing technical assistance, mentoring, networking, and resource access. In doing this, agtech accelerators are allowing new technology and innovation to enter into the market at breakneck speed. Check out a few burgeoning agtech accelerators below:

AgLaunch Accelerator

AgLaunch is a 15 week accelerator that will start on May 1. AgLaunch will take six different startups and provide them with up to $50,000 in investment as well as provide them with mentorship, training and other resources.

AgTech Accelerator

AgTech Accelerator strives to be unique by taking a hands-on approach to helping startups. Companies that participate in this accelerator will be exposed to a number of resources including incubation and additional research.

Agthentic

Though it’s not an accelerator, Agthentic helps agtech startups by refining their product-market fit and prepare them for potential investors. Agthentic helps startups jump the initial hurdles that end up compromising the success of any startup.

FARM2050

FARM2050 focuses on improving global food production. They bring together farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and distributors in order to bring new technology to fruition and break them into the market.

Royse AgTech Innovation Network

Royse AgTech connects startups with a network of investors, partners, and markets. They also host conferences that help train and connect agtech startups with other companies, farmers, and investors.

Sprout Agritech

Every year, Sprout picks eight startups to help out. They provide $25,000 in exchange for equity, training and mentorship, and access to investor groups across the globe.

Thrive 

Thrive is an eight week accelerator that connects tech companies with the agriculture community, investors, and innovative entrepreneurs. Thrive forges these communities together in order to advance the cause of bringing more and better food to the world.

Yield Lab

Yield Lab started out of a desire to strengthen global food security. They believe that agricultural production must increase by 60% by 2050 to meet food demand. They provide $100,000 in funding to burgeoning startups as well as a nine month program geared toward mentorship and market preparation.

 

AgLaunch propelling new startups through venture investment & farm-centric innovation model

Applications open for 2017 accelerator with $50,000 investment.

AgLaunch continues to expand its farm-centric innovation platform to accelerate the process of bringing new ideas into agriculture. The organization offers a one-stop shop for researchers, farmers, logistic providers, processors, non-profits, investors and corporate partners to help validate and grow new ideas in the agricultural space. The initiative is focused on the Mid-South region with an international footprint through its open source programs and support network.

“With a growing world population, agriculture must advance and adapt to keep up,” Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton said.  “Farmers are natural innovators.  AgLaunch’s farm-focused model is matching farmers with new and improved technology and resources to help solve global problems, while catalyzing economic growth in our region.”

 

AgLaunch is pleased to announce three programs in 2017 that will advance agricultural innovation to the next level:

  • AgLaunch Accelerator will invest $50,000 and three months of intensive business development support, access to farm trials, and a robust mentor network to six startup companies. Participating startups will be immersed in a collaborative Summer of Acceleration experience in Memphis with six other business accelerators May 1- Aug. 10. Entrepreneurial programming is supported through the expertise of EPIcenter and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network that has led more than 80 startup companies. Startups will also have access to expert agri-marketing and legal advice provided by Archer Malmo and Baker Donelson respectively. The AgLaunch Accelerator is funded in part through a grant from Launch Tennessee.

 

  • AgLaunch Farmer Network is working with a select group of startups to coordinate farm scale trials with new technologies across various production environments and key crops. Lead participants in the farmer network include Ritter Agribusiness and Mid-South Family Farms.

 

  • AgLaunch Startup Station is an all-day pitch contest held on March 3 in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, which hosts more than 400 exhibitors and 20,000 farmers. Startups will pitch to expert panels comprised of farmers, investors, and corporate partners, including Farm Bureau, Farm Credit, DuPont, Monsanto Growth Ventures, and Case IH. The event will be preceded by The Combine reception the evening of March 2.

These AgLaunch initiatives focus on a range of technologies, including precision agriculture, robotics, automation, biologic-based pest control, specialty crops, equipment modifications, food ingredients, supply chain integrity and traceability, soil health, reduction of spray drift, food safety and reduction of food waste, water/input efficiencies and innovations in the supply chain.

“AgLaunch has a global network that includes mentors, investors, growers and ag industry leaders,” said Steve Bares, Ph.D., president and executive director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “Memphis provides the perfect opportunity to connect with all these assets, as farmers are a short drive away, investors are down the road, and entrepreneurial training and mentors are in-house. The Mississippi River offers convenient logistics, and our unique geographical location allows for incredibly diverse agriculture opportunities.”

The program adds value to investors through creating quality deal flow. “AgLaunch is uniquely connecting new technology with real farm experience to change the way that deals are being created for the benefit of investors and the ag industry,” said Matt Bell, Principal, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.

AgLaunch helps startups through its combination of entrepreneurship programming and deep agricultural knowledge. “AgLaunch is a world-class initiative that is connecting all of the right partners and resources to bring new agricultural technologies to market,” said Barry Knight, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, North America, Indigo Ag.

AgLaunch Adds Three More Programs For Ag Startups

Memphis Bioworks AgTech Launches Three More Programs

AgTech and Agriculture Startups are on the rise nationwide. There are a handful of AgTech accelerators across the country and that trend seems to be on the rise.

Memphis is known for it’s grit and grind entrepreneurial spirit and that doesn’t change when it comes to farming. The newest AgLaunch programs focus on the midsouth region.

AgLaunch continues to expand its farm-centric innovation platform to accelerate the process of bringing new ideas into agriculture. The organization offers a one-stop shop for researchers, farmers, logistic providers, processors, non-profits, investors and corporate partners to help validate and grow new ideas in the agricultural space.

“With a growing world population, agriculture must advance and adapt to keep up,” Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton said. “Farmers are natural innovators. AgLaunch’s farm-focused model is matching farmers with new and improved technology and resources to help solve global problems, while catalyzing economic growth in our region.”

AgLaunch announced three programs in 2017 that will advance agricultural innovation to the next level:

  • AgLaunch Accelerator will invest $50,000 and three months of intensive business development support, access to farm trials and a robust mentor network to six startup companies. Participating startups will be immersed in a collaborative Summer of Acceleration experience in Memphis with six other business accelerators May 1 to Aug. 10. Entrepreneurial programming is supported through the expertise of EPIcenter and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network that has led more than 80 startup companies. Startups also will have access to expert agri-marketing and legal advice provided by Archer Malmo and Baker Donelson respectively. The AgLaunch Accelerator is funded in part through a grant from Launch Tennessee.
  • AgLaunch Farmer Network is working with a select group of startups to coordinate farm scale trials with new technologies across various production environments and key crops. Lead participants in the farmer network include Ritter Agribusiness and Mid-South Family Farms.
  • AgLaunch Startup Station is an all-day pitch contest held on March 3 in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, which hosts more than 400 exhibitors and 20,000 farmers. Startups will pitch to expert panels comprised of farmers, investors and corporate partners, including Farm Bureau, Farm Credit, DuPont, Monsanto Growth Ventures and Case IH. The event will be preceded by The Combine reception the evening of March 2.

These AgLaunch initiatives focus on a range of technologies, including precision agriculture, robotics, automation, biologic-based pest control, specialty crops, equipment modifications, food ingredients, supply chain integrity and traceability, soil health, reduction of spray drift, food safety and reduction of food waste, water/input efficiencies and innovations in the supply chain.

 

AgLaunch Looking to Fund New Ideas for Mid-South Farming

AgLaunch continues to expand its farm-centric innovation platform to accelerate the process of bringing new ideas into agriculture, according to a press release from the Memphis, TN-based startup incubator.

The organization offers a one-stop shop for researchers, farmers, logistic providers, processors, non-profits, investors and corporate partners to help validate and grow new ideas in the agricultural space. The initiative is focused on the Mid-South region with an international footprint through its open source programs and support network.

“With a growing world population, agriculture must advance and adapt to keep up,” Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton said. “Farmers are natural innovators. AgLaunch’s farm-focused model is matching farmers with new and improved technology and resources to help solve global problems, while catalyzing economic growth in our region.”

AgLaunch is pleased to announce three programs in 2017 that will advance agricultural innovation to the next level:

  • AgLaunch Accelerator will invest $50,000 and three months of intensive business development support, access to farm trials, and a robust mentor network to six startup companies. Participating startups will be immersed in a collaborative Summer of Acceleration experience in Memphis with six other business accelerators May 1- August 10. Entrepreneurial programming is supported through the expertise of EPIcenter and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network that has led more than 80 startup companies. Startups will also have access to expert agri-marketing and legal advice provided by Archer Malmo and Baker Donelson respectively.
  • AgLaunch Farmer Network is working with a select group of startups to coordinate farm scale trials with new technologies across various production environments and key crops. Lead participants in the farmer network include Ritter Agribusiness and Mid-South Family Farms.
  • AgLaunch Startup Station is an all-day pitch contest held on March 3 in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, which hosts more than 400 exhibitors and 20,000 farmers. Startups will pitch to expert panels comprised of farmers, investors, and corporate partners, including Farm Bureau, Farm Credit, DuPont, Monsanto Growth Ventures, and Case IH. The event will be preceded by The Combine reception the evening of March 2.

These AgLaunch initiatives focus on a range of technologies, including precision agriculture, robotics, automation, biologic-based pest control, specialty crops, equipment modifications, food ingredients, supply chain integrity and traceability, soil health, reduction of spray drift, food safety and reduction of food waste, water/input efficiencies and innovations in the supply chain.

“AgLaunch has a global network that includes mentors, investors, growers and ag industry leaders,” said Steve Bares, Ph.D., president and executive director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “Memphis provides the perfect opportunity to connect with all these assets, as farmers are a short drive away, investors are down the road, and entrepreneurial training and mentors are in-house. The Mississippi River offers convenient logistics, and our unique geographical location allows for incredibly diverse agriculture opportunities.”

The program adds value to investors through creating quality deal flow. “AgLaunch is uniquely connecting new technology with real farm experience to change the way that deals are being created for the benefit of investors and the ag industry,” said Matt Bell, Principal, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.

AgLaunch helps startups through its combination of entrepreneurship programming and deep agricultural knowledge. “AgLaunch is a world-class initiative that is connecting all of the right partners and resources to bring new agricultural technologies to market,” said Barry Knight, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, North America, Indigo Ag.

The AgLaunch Accelerator is funded in part through a grant from Launch Tennessee.

How Tennessee Plans to Become a Hotbed for Agtech Innovation

“Ag innovation and business creation have the potential to transform our rural economy more than anything else. We’ve got to be a player if we’re going to fully participate in the growing world demand for food, fuel and fiber. With this funding, we expect to incentivize private investment while making Tennessee a center for agricultural advancement,” said Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson in a press release announcing the state’s new initiative for agriculture technology entrepreneurs.

The state’s department of agriculture is launching a seed funding initiative called AgLaunch designed to put Tennessee on the map as a hub for agtech innovation and entrepreneurship. The department will invest $150,000 initially, alongside a further $70,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the ultimate aim is to raise $10 million from the private sector to fund the program during its initial five year phase, according to Venture Tennessee Connectionsa local business news site.

AgLaunch is being developed by Memphis Bioworks Foundation under the impetus of Governor Bill Haslam’s Rural Challenge, a 10-year strategy to expand the agricultural and forestry sectors of Tennessee’s economy, currently valued at $66 billion.

The initiative’s goal is to attract 200 entrepreneurs and establish 100 successful and investable agricultural-sector companies in Tennessee by 2020. According to the initiative’s website, ideal candidates for participation in the program are high-growth, investable companies in agriculture that encourage a culture of entrepreneurship within rural communities while focusing on strategic assets.

On August 20, 2015, entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials convened in West Tennessee to learn about the seed funding announcement.

“Venture capital investment in agriculture grew by 170 percent from 2013 to 2014 to $2.4 billion and is projected to have another large jump in 2015,” Memphis Bioworks’ president and executive director Steve Bares said in a recent press release, stating figures from AgFunder’s recent Midyear Report. “That investment is driving innovation-based startup companies to seek out locations like Tennessee. AgLaunch aims to draw those companies to the state, while also identifying and supporting locally-grown ideas from Tennessee’s farmers, entrepreneurs and universities.”

The foundation’s reputation for bringing entrepreneurs to the medical technology marketplace played a key part in state and federal agriculture leaders’ decision to tap the company for the initiative, according to the release.

Once the program is funded, which program leaders hopes to accomplish by July 2016, AgLaunch will set about achieving its four goals: expanding the state’s vertical agriculture market, integration with Launch Tennessee regional accelerators, promoting job growth in rural Tennessee, and operating as a key development component of a Rural Business Investment Company with USDA and Farm Credit Banks. This last goal could help AgLaunch secure as much as $40 million in early-stage investment capital for rural Tennessee.

Housed at the TDA offices, the program will also partner with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in addition to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, which is the state’s premier agricultural research institution.

Tennessee’s agriculture and forestry industry is valued at around $66 billion, with soybeans, corn, and livestock production representing the state’s largest agriculture commodities. With over 67,000 farming operations and close to 11 million acres of land dedicated to agriculture production, entrepreneurs participating in the program will have plenty of chances to collaborate with farm professionals and test their products in the field.

USDA, TDA ANNOUNCE SEED FUNDING TO IGNITE AGRI-TECH ENTREPRENEURSHIP

NASHVILLE — The next great business idea just may come from rural Tennessee. USDA Rural Development and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced $220,000 in combined seed funding for a new initiative to help make Tennessee a hub of agri-tech innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Department of Agriculture will facilitate the program, known as AgLaunch. Led by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the program will also include participation from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. AgLaunch is an ambitious effort to attract 200 entrepreneurs and establish 100 successful and investable agricultural-sector companies in Tennessee by 2020.

AgLaunch will seek to identify early stage agri-technologies and companies and assist them in building investable, high-growth enterprises through mentorship and programming. Bioworks is currently working with investors and seeking a total of $10 million in public and private funding over the next five years for the project. The goal is to initiate AgLaunch in 2016.

Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson, U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno and Tennessee State Director Bobby Goode joined officials for the announcement at the Mid-South Family Farms office in downtown Ripley, Tenn. Mid-South is a third generation diversified farming operation that utilizes the latest technologies to increase productivity and lower inputs. The event included demonstrations from startup companies AgSmarts, Granular and FarmSpace.

“Ag innovation and business creation have the potential to transform our rural economy more than anything else,” Commissioner Johnson said. “We’ve got to be a player if we’re going to fully participate in the growing world demand for food, fuel and fiber. With this funding, we expect to incentivize private investment while making Tennessee a center for agricultural advancement.”

State and federal agricultural officials say that Memphis Bioworks’ exemplary track record in bringing entrepreneurs to the marketplace in the medical technology sector is what attracts their agencies to invest in this project.

“Venture capital investment in agriculture grew by 170% from 2013 to 2014 to $2.4 billion and is projected to have another large jump in 2015,” Bioworks president and executive director Steve Bares said. “That investment is driving innovation-based startup companies to seek out locations like Tennessee. AgLaunch aims to draw those companies to the state, while also identifying and supporting locally-grown ideas from Tennessee’s farmers, entrepreneurs and universities.”

Agricultural innovation utilizes new technologies, tools and approaches to improve efficiency and diversify product offerings. Ultimately, improvements in those areas will increase farmer profitability and reduce the environmental impact of agricultural production, while providing for the food, fuel and fiber needs of a growing world population.

“Supporting the people who live in rural areas, by creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity for rural small businesses, is a top priority for the Obama Administration,” Salerno said. “There is enormous potential for economic growth in rural America.”

The impetus for AgLaunch comes from Gov. Bill Haslam’s Rural Challenge, a 10-year strategy to expand the agricultural and forestry sectors of Tennessee’s economy, currently valued at $66 billion.