Now in its second year, the AgTechUCD accelerator is helping founders scale in this competitive space.
Early-stage Irish start-ups in the agritech and food-tech industries are learning how to secure investment and scale their businesses with the AgTechUCD accelerator at University College Dublin (UCD).
Now in its second year, the AgTechUCD Agcelerator Programme is an intensive 12-week programme that aims to address the needs and challenges of Irish agritech and food-tech start-ups by helping founders learn leadership skills, building their confidence and supporting their businesses.
The 12 companies selected for the latest cohort embarked on the programme last week. It will conclude next January, when the start-ups will pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors.
Start-ups will take part in dedicated business development workshops and investor-readiness training, receive mentoring from industry experts and business advisers, and connect with AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks.
“Through the programme we will also be working with the participants to help enhance their visibility in the marketplace, attract new customers and investors, and forge new partnerships at home and internationally,” said Niamh Collins, director of the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre.
“AgTechUCD has established key relationships with strategic players in the agtech and food-tech sectors in Ireland, Europe and in the US, which will leverage to support the participating start-ups to launch or scale their products or services into existing and new territories.”
AgTechUCD is part of the NovaUCD centre for new ventures and is funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland. As well as the accelerator programme, it provides access to incubation space and on-farm testing for new products and services at the UCD Lyons Farm in Kildare.
Here’s a quick look at each of the start-ups in the latest accelerator cohort.
Founded by Iain Munro, Co Tipperary-based Acregreen is developing automated vertical farming tech to provide reliable on-site animal feed that is sustainable, nutritious and can be grown in challenging environments where natural resources are scarce.
Agricom is focused on leveraging technology for agri-food supply chain digitisation, with the aim of reducing waste and improving resilience towards the climate crisis and other economic and environmental events. Based in Co Cork, its founder is Nadim Al-Khoury.
This start-up provides independent thermal process validation services to the Irish food sector. Based in Dublin, Biotec has developed a machine learning algorithm that can be used as an early warning food safety management system for companies to minimise food safety issues.
Based in Co Kildare, Dairy Robotics is aiming to alleviate problems facing the dairy industry such as environmental pressures, animal welfare and farm labour shortages. Its first product is an AI device that monitors the health and welfare of a dairy herd.
This start-up has developed a field-to-field online cattle sales platform that helps connect buyers and sellers of livestock more conveniently. Farm Fayre was founded by Kevin O’Connor and is based in Co Kilkenny.
The Miljo tech aims to provide optimal nutrition based on individual herds’ performance targets while minimising environmental impacts. Based in Co Cork, it was founded by Aoife Drennan.
Another Cork start-up, MyGug has developed a micro-scale anaerobic digester that turns food waste into a green renewable energy source, suitable for homes and small food businesses.
This start-up provides route optimisation software for sustainable dairy transport. Based in Co Westmeath, OptaHaul has built a SaaS optimisation platform that helps dairy processors, cooperatives and haulers reduce transport costs and greenhouse gases.
Based in Dublin and led by Joseph McMahon, RialtoLabs has developed an artificial intelligence product to take traditional lab analysis into the field and offer the results in near-real time at the point of measurement.
Sean Phobal Engineering
Based in Co Waterford, Sean Phobal Engineering has developed a patented trestle rotator machine and a caged oyster trestle system to remove the need for oyster farmers to perform tasks manually.
This Sligo start-up is on a mission to use geochemistry to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By processing surplus concrete for use on farms, Silicate removes excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it over geological timescale.
Well Spent Grain
Based in Dublin, Well Spent Grain is focused on creating high-quality and value-added food products, such as snack bites, from brewers’ spent grain. This aims to help breweries and consumers positively impact the climate.
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