Six agtech startups selected for IN2

27-05-2020    16:31   |    Future Farming

Companies seek to improve soil health, optimise pest control and scale food production, and will test technologies at Danforth Plant Science Center.

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has selected six new participating startups focused on agriculture technology solutions to join the program.

$250,000 in technical assistance

The selected startups will conduct research and development activities at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. The program provides each company up to $ 250,000 in technical assistance with the opportunity for follow-on funding, and access to state-of-the-art expertise and resources from the Danforth Center, Wells Fargo, NREL and other IN2 partners.

Scaling sustainable agricultural practices

“The companies selected for Cohort 7 provide a window into the next chapter of agriculture. Their technologies are focused on optimising efficiencies and scaling sustainable agricultural practices in order to feed a growing global population,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL.

“Our partners at Danforth are at the intersection of science, innovation and commercialisation, and we’re pleased to connect their deep domain expertise and robust research capabilities with sustainable startup innovations.”

The selected startups will conduct research and development activities at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. - Photo: Business Wire

The selected companies for the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator include:

  • AgroSpheres – Charlottesville, VA – Transforming crop protection with AgriCell, a powerful enabling technology for the efficient and improved use of synthetic chemicals and biologicals. AgriCell can mitigate the direct and indirect detriments of using chemical pesticides, with the goal to cut chemical pesticide use by at least 50 percent.
  • Chi Botanic – Sarasota, FL – Industrialising plant cell cultures as a production platform by replicating genetically identical plants at a large scale. The Chi Botanic technology is to help develop valuable natural products more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • EarthSense – Champaign, IL – Revolutionizing the way crop breeders and farmers collect and use impactful data, EarthSense employs machine learning and robotics in the field to increase yield, eliminate resistant superweeds and accelerate crop improvement.
  • mobius – Lenoir City, TN – Building a future where organic waste streams are upcycled into valuable chemical building blocks. mobius creates naturally biodegradable and compostable materials that can replace controlled-release fertilizers for improved plant and soil health.
  • Pluton Biosciences – St. Louis, MO – Supplying the agricultural industry with microbes that are specifically targeted against various pests. By using a micromining process, Pluton Biosciences can help offset biological resistance that has been building against current products.
  • TerViva – Oakland, CA – Commercializing climate-resilient pongamia trees, a hardy legume tree that produces an annual crop of beans up to 10 times greater than soy for over 25 years. TerViva is increasing the global supply of plant protein and vegetable oil while restoring degraded agricultural land.

With the addition of these six companies, IN2’s total portfolio now includes 46 startups. Since joining the IN2 program, portfolio companies have raised $ 313 million in external follow-on funding.


Source: Future Farming

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