AgLaunch and Farm Journal Announce Cutting-Edge Startups for the 2021 AgLaunch365 Row Crop Challenge

The 10 Row Crop Challenge startups were chosen by a panel of farmers that selected innovations based on their potential to address key problems in U.S. row crop agriculture.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (November 8, 2021) — Ten early-stage agtech startups focusing on row crop innovations and sustainability are preparing for a week of intense virtual programming and the chance to pitch to a panel of farmers and aligned investors for a spot in the AgLaunch365 Accelerator. Teams will spend November 15-19th refining their value proposition, meeting with leading farmers and agricultural industry experts and improving their pitch and go-to market strategy.

AgLaunch is a 501c3 non-profit known for a unique, farm-centric approach to innovation. In addition to offering traditional acceleration resources such as business strategy coaching, mentorship and funding, AgLaunch also works with a network of more than 30 early-adopter farmers who collaborate with entrepreneurs to trial and scale new technologies. The AgLaunch365 Row Crop Challenge is the entry point to AgLaunch’s flagship acceleration program, and is designed specifically for innovators addressing key challenges in row crop agriculture, such as soil health, labor shortages and sustainable farming.

“The next cohort of technology startups will show what’s possible for the agricultural industry’s food and fiber production system,” said Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. “AgLaunch is working to make sure farmers are on the ground floor of ag innovation that will result in the development of better products and more farmer adoption of technology—both of which are important for on-farm sustainability and efficiency and an increase in rural jobs. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is proud to support the partnership of new agtech innovators and Tennessee farmers.”

Finalists for the Row Crop Challenge were selected using a panel of farmers from across the country as part of the AgLaunch farm-centric innovation model. Each startup is addressing an identified problem in row crop agriculture. AgLaunch’s model, catalyzed and supported by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, aims to position farmers to be competitive in a changing global marketplace.

The ten startups participating in the Row Crop Challenge are:

Crop Intellect

Crop Intellect is an R&D based company developing disruptive technologies to increase crop productivity sustainably. R-Leaf technology is our flagship technology, enabling the capture of atmospheric NOx to be used as a substrate to produce nitrogen on the surface of plants. Founder: Apostolos Papadopoulos, Lincoln, United Kingdom

Crop Rx Systems

Soil Sense by Crop Rx Systems is the next generation in farming; it automatically generates actionable data from the soil, optimizing farming efficiency. Founder: Jamie Herring, Rochelle, IL


Holganix Bio 800+ charges soils with over 800 species of beneficial soil microbes to build soil health and crop yield. For farmers, ultimately, that means Holganix Bio 800+ improves their profit per acre, giving farmers the tools they need to drive both economic and environmental sustainability on the farm. Founder: Barrett Ersek, Aston, PA


Innatrix is developing eco-friendly biological products to control critical crop disease by a patented protein evolution platform to help farmers reduce yield loss by at least 10% and contribute to regenerative agriculture by increasing soil health. Founder: Dr. Jairu Li, Cary, NC


Phinite is making fertilizer 2.0. Fertilizer 1.0 is synthetic, unsustainable and kills soil biology. Fertilizer 2.0 is regenerative, renewable and prevents pollution. We make our fertilizer from animal waste, it is perfect for use in broad-scale and is competitively priced against synthetic fertilizer. Founder: Jordan Phasey, Durham, NC

S&J NanoChemicals

S&J Nanochemicals provides next-generation technological solutions for the rising global agricultural demand. Our novel nanoparticle fertilizer products catalyze growth, yield, and longevity in a variety of crops at a single drop, while increasing environmental sustainability. Founder: Dr. Sou Palchoudry, Xenia, OH

Salin 247

Salin 247 is working to improve soil health and increase farm profitability by providing growers with small, light-weight, electric-powered, autonomous farm machinery. Founder: Dave Krog, Ames, IA


Susterre is pioneering the use of ultra-high pressure fluid jet technology in row crop planting applications. Susterre’s technology promotes the adoption of no-till farming, lowering the cost of farming while regenerating the soil and preserving the earth’s natural resources. Founder: Michael Cully, Toronto, Canada

TopYield Ag

TopYield Ag is an online community for growers and agriculture professionals to learn, share their agriculture knowledge, and build their professional online reputation. We help our clients better understand the voice of the farmer. Founder: Kenny Johnson, Zionsville, IN

Vulpes Agricultural Corp.

Vulpes turns agricultural waste into carbon sources that act as carriers of nutrients and water to improve crop nutrient uptake by up to 300%. The Vulpes team brings extensive experience in manufacturing, R&D, regulation and supply chain. Founder: Rick Shang, Saint Louis, MO

Row Crop Challenge finalists are competing for a spot in the AgLaunch365 Accelerator beginning in January 2022, where they will receive investment, services and support, and will design their on-farm trials with members of the AgLaunch Farmer Network.

“We have a great crop of innovators this year and a diverse range of technologies that address key issues in ag,” said Margaret Oldham, Director of Entrepreneurship at AgLaunch. “We’re looking forward to helping these founders fine-tune their business plans and understand what it takes to run successful on-farm trials. It is a privilege to support startups that have the potential to shape the future of agriculture, and I can’t wait to see which ones will advance to the next stage of our program.”

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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. AgLaunch has been designated as a Regional Innovation Cluster by the Small Business Administration, the only one focused on production agriculture.

About Farm Journal

Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 142 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; events; nationally broadcasted television and radio programs; a robust mobile text marketing business; and an array of data-driven paid information products. Farm Journal also is the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace, Machinery Pete LLC. In 2010, the company established the non profit, public charity Farm Journal Foundation dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.