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Business accelerator Sprout returns to invest in Kiwi agtech and foodtech start-ups

Calling all those in the agtech and foodtech sectors, business accelerator Sprout is back for 2021 and is looking for cutting-edge start ups to register for mentorship and the opportunity for investment.

Start-ups creating innovative solutions in the food supply chain from pasture to plate are encouraged to register to Sprout. Between eight and 10 Kiwi start-ups will be selected to join.

The accelerator offers $75,000 worth of business coaching, mentoring, network access, underground events and summits held around New Zealand. International start-ups are also invited to apply, if travel restrictions allow and some may be accepted into the accelerator.

Start-ups will be split into two cohorts for 2021, the first from February until April, and the second from June to August, which will give entrepreneurs in the agtech and foodtech sectors two chances to register.

Previously solely operating under umbrella company, the Factory, Sprout has recently undergone major changes to their business model and has matured into an independent investment company. Sprout has also brought new shareholders on board, from New Zealand’s own Fonterra to Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. Another shareholder is San-Diego based leading global agricultural technology and life sciences venture capital investor.

Sprout Agritech Ltd executive director, Dean Tilyard, says the accelerator is at a transition point, opening its doors to further international opportunities with the help of their new investors.

“When we were looking at international investors to bring on board, we were seeking relationships that could provide connections and accelerate our start-ups into global networks. We wanted experienced investors, people who are aligned with Sprout’s vision of building a healthy agtech and foodtech ecosystem in New Zealand, and bring their own deep knowledge of these sectors to the table.

“We’re really excited about the investment and network resources we will be able to provide to the 2021 Sprout cohort and we can’t wait to see what these start-ups are capable of with the added support and access to resources.”

Companies who are at seed stage with less than $1 million in revenue will be considered for investment by Sprout, and or the first time, companies accepted into the accelerator with a high investment proposition will be given the chance to receive additional investment directly from Sprout.

Since 2015, agtech and foodtech start-ups have benefited from the accelerator, with alumni raising a total of $15 million in capital, later growing their revenue by 400 percent and raising USD $1.35 million in seed round capital.

2020 Alumini include Iris Data Science, artificial intelligence and machine learning specialist, and Sea Swell, a plant-based seafood product alternative designed to help boost the ocean’s depleting fish population.

Oxana Krutilina, co-founder and CEO of Auckland-based Sea Swell, says she owes everything to the Spout Accelerator.

“I went into the accelerator with just an idea and passion behind me, and the mentors have helped me create a strong business model. Everything I have achieved with Sea Swell is because of the Sprout Accelerator – I learned everything from them.”

Krutilina says the relationship with the mentors is ongoing and doesnt just end when the accelerator finishes.

“I believe these relationships will be beneficial for years to come. It’s been such a great opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and share ideas about all aspects of business.”

Registrations for the Accelerator clo​se on 20th November. Register your interest​ for the 2021 Sprout Accelerator at sproutagritech.com

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