A total of 183 startups from 38 countries applied to be a part of The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, a late-stage, agri-tech accelerator run by Alltech and Dogpatch Labs. The accelerator will commence with 10 startups that have been chosen to take part in a mentorship program for agri-business innovators with a proven technology that is ready for market. The 10 successful applicants will work with Alltech and Dogpatch Labs to accelerate their business development through Alltech and its global network.
The startups hail from Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Ireland and the U.S. and have already collectively raised more than $30 million in funding. Participants include MagGrow from Ireland, AgriWebb from Australia and Tevatronic from Israel. Full details on the selected startups are below.
The accelerator is a 15-week, mentorship-driven program aimed at collaborative learning and seeking new business and/or partnership opportunities. The program will culminate with the startups presenting on the main stage at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Ky., May 21–24, when more than 3,000 attendees from nearly 80 countries around the world will converge. This high-profile showcase will afford the startups the opportunity to present to future customers as well as investors and potential collaborators.
Startup participants will receive access to Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, and the senior management of Alltech, a global animal health and nutrition company with a presence in more than 120 countries. In addition, participants will receive free space for three months in Ireland’s leading startup hub, Dogpatch Labs, located in the heart of the Dublin Docklands, a €15,000 (US$15,825.15) cash fund and mentoring covering a range of areas, from product development to strategy and international expansion.
At the end of the program, the startups will pitch to the accelerator for business partners and investors. Additional benefits include software perks worth more than €300,000 (US$316,503) from companies such as Google, Facebook, Softlayer and Amazon.
“We had a great selection week in Dublin, and I’m really impressed with the startups’ ideas, their engagement and the talent,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer at Alltech. “We were especially looking for emerging technologies in agri-tech, such as drones, sensors, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, and I’m excited to see those are all represented within the 10 companies that were chosen.”
Most of the startup applicants are late-stage startups that have raised initial investment (known as the “seed round”) and would now benefit from advice and support from Alltech to expand internationally. Startups were especially attracted to this accelerator due to the fact that Alltech is one of the few truly global agricultural companies positioned to assist in opening doors and advising on routes to market and global market access in the more than 120 countries where it is present.
“We’re excited about working with these world-class accelerator applicants from across the world and assisting them on their internationalization strategy,” said Patrick Walsh, managing director of Dogpatch Labs. “This program will provide a unique environment for the accelerator applicants to drive sales and secure investment, and it underlines Dogpatch Lab’s ability to provide mentoring and resources for founders due to our unique connection to the startup ecosystem.”
The agriculture industry is beginning to be disrupted by new technologies. Agri-tech investment is growing at an exponential rate, with $9.65 billion invested in agri-tech startups since 2013 and $2 billion invested in the first half of 2016 alone. A clear route to market remains a challenge in the industry, and this program seeks to accelerate startups’ access to this global market, with a comprehensive package of supports that helps them navigate the challenge of scaling their operations to service large corporate customers.
The accelerator applicants will arrive for their first core phase in Dublin on Feb. 20 and will fly in for various core phases throughout the program. They will wrap up the program with a European demo day at Dogpatch Labs in Dublin and later will fly out to Kentucky to pitch their ideas at the Alltech Ideas Conference.