Feb 10, 2017AgLaunch propelling startups through venture investment
AgLaunch is expanding its farm-centric innovation platform to accelerate the process of bringing new ideas into agriculture. The organization helps 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.
AgLaunch has launched three programs for 2017:
- AgLaunch Accelerator will invest $50,000 and three months of intensive business development support, access to farm trials, and a 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 through Aug. 10. Entrepreneurial programming is supported through EPIcenter and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network. Startups will also have access to 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.