Farm to fork start-ups ready to accelerate to the next level are being sought to become part of the third edition of the Sprout Agritech Accelerator.
Up to eight Kiwi agritech start-ups will be accepted into the five-month accelerator, giving them access to a pool of more than $500,000 in grants and investments, as well as extensive mentoring from a team of experts and access to four fully-funded block courses at locations around the country designed to upskill them as business people.
Registrations close on Friday, October 20. This year’s intake will have an opportunity to showcase their businesses as part of the innovation den at next year’s National Agricultural Fieldays. They will also get the chance to pitch to a hand-picked group of investors, corporate partners and potential customers to support the continuation of their rapid progress achieved through the Sprout Agritech Accelerator.
According to Sprout business strategy advisor Stu Bradbury, companies that have previously participated in the accelerator have gone on to triple their sales, raise more than $2 million in funding, engage world-class advisors and set themselves on a global growth trajectory.
Bradbury adds the accelerator will benefit businesses that have a promising idea or prototype and already have sales but need extra support to help them get to the next level. “Sprout is looking for farm to fork businesses that are creating products and services in areas including robotics and automation, animal and crop health, biotechnology and innovative food and eCommerce,” he says. “If you’re in the early growth stages of business and you’ve already made sales and want to expand your operations quickly, or you have a prototype and need help refining your idea or finding your market, the Sprout team wants to help. We’re focused on helping these burgeoning agritech superstars to reach their potential.”
Pinpoint Diagnostics, which has developed rapid diagnostic technology for the dairy industry, was one of the companies selected for the most recent edition of the accelerator. Co-founder Denis Packer says the help the fledgling company received through the Sprout accelerator far exceeded what he had expected. “In addition to the cash which was our immediate concern to enable us to finish the development I think it’s also the in-kind contribution they made which probably equals if not exceeds the actual cash contribution. I don’t think it was until we got into the programme that we realised how good that in-kind contribution was.”
Sprout is being supported and funded by a mix of public and private sector leaders in agritech and start-up investment, including Callaghan Innovation, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), Levno, Massey University, Gallagher Group, KPMG, and Manawatu Investment Group (MIG).
The Sprout accelerator programme was designed by BCC, a Palmerston North-based business incubator. Over the last two years, BCC has helped establish four globally-focused agritech start-ups (BioLumic, CalfSMART, CropX and Polybatics), which have raised in excess of $15 million in growth capital from New Zealand and overseas investors.
Companies can register and apply for the 2018 Sprout Agritech Accelerator at sproutagritech.com.