Accelerators targeting agtech companies

Steven Loeb · January 8, 2019 · Short URL:

They include AgLaunch, The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, Hatch, Sprout Accelerator and TERRA

For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies in the agtech space:


"AgLaunch attracts, creates, and grows agtech startups, facilitates the development of new agriculture and food value-chains, and builds collaborative farmer networks, with a commitment to intentional inclusion."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Customized programming focused on agriculture + lean startup
  • Seed stage and potential for follow-on investment (historically $25k – $50k for Phase I companies) from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, a licensed USDA Rural Business Investment Company funded by 8 Farm Credit banks.
  • Exclusive access to Farm Journal media & events including AgTech Expo
  • Field trials and access to farmer network of leading innovative farmers including cost share opportunity
  • Support from a national network of mentors and service providers including Archer Malmo & Baker Donelson

Mentor makeup: Matt Bell, Dan Hatzenbuehler, Tony Simpson, Hillary Spain

Portfolio companies: AgriSync, AgVoice, Cattlog, Cowlar, Kilimo, Rantizo


"The Pearse Lyons Accelerator is a three-month innovation programme for the top 10 leading agri-tech startups from across the world. The accelerator offers workspace, mentoring and the possibility of investment. The programme combines Alltech’s leadership and expertise in agricultural and nutritional science with the tech ecosystem and startup network of Dogpatch Labs."

Investment amount: €15,000+ non-equity and €300,000+ in perks and pitch investment funding

Program benefits: The 10 successful applicants will work with Alltech and Dogpatch Labs to accelerate their business development through Alltech and its global network. Successful applicants will enjoy many benefits during the programme, including:

  • Expertise: Access to Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, as well as senior management of Alltech.
  • Network: Meet startups, solopreneurs and investors in Ireland’s tech community.
  • ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference: Pitch to 4,000+ agri-tech leaders at a global conference in the USA.
  • Membership: Access to the Dogpatch Labs community and startup hub, located in the Dublin Docklands.
  • Mentorship: World-class mentorship from Alltech and the Dogpatch Labs startup network.

Mentor makeup: Mark Lyons, Anne Kehoe, Dr. Marc Larousse, Patrick Charlton, Robert Walker

Portfolio companies: eggXYt, Vence, AgriWebb, MagGrow


"The Farm, sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, puts startups in the heart of Atlanta’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Farm accelerator runs for 12 weeks twice per year and gives participants access to customized curriculum, unparalleled resources, and industry mentors."

Investment amount: $20k investment for 6% equity, but solely common stock (rather than preferred). Your company valuation is not affected since this is not considered a financing round.

Program benefits: Perks are currently valued above $1.7 million in value. They include hundreds of thousands in hosting from Google, Amazon, SoftLayer, etc. Also included are discounts on most software products that any startup needs (MailChimp, SendGrid, outsourcing, marketing, design, etc). Additionally, we are constantly negotiating new perks, and work closely with our companies to develop perk benefits to suit their immediate needs.

Mentor makeup: Joel Bahensky, Brent Daily, Adam Harrell, Alan Laidlaw, Amari Ruff

Portfolio companies: Not specified



"We are the world's first accelerator program focused on the aquaculture industry seeking to find, develop and scale talented and disruptive aquaculture startups."

Investment amount: Hatch invests €25k in cash into each company and may provide additional funding of up to €25k during the program where required. Hatch receives 8 percent equity. 

Program benefits: 

  • Startups learn directly from aquaculture experts and experienced entrepreneurs
  • Connect teams with aquaculture industry players across different markets and regions
  • Support the planning and connect you with potential R&D partners from our network
  • Access to office space for up to 12 months at our location

Portfolio companies: Not specified



"Sprout is a six month business accelerator designed for the next generation of agritech & agrifood companies from around the world."

Investment amount: 

Program benefits:

  • Up to a one hour call per week with the Sprout team to track progress against your milestones
  • One to two hours per week of advice/input from the Sprout mentor and expert network
  • Attendance at four underground events held in different locations each month. At these events you will workshop key areas of your business with experts and mentors
  • Pitching and more pitching. Refining your pitch and story to customers, investors and partners so you win support for your value proposition
  • Collaboration and development of the documentation of your business plan and business model
  • Ability to take five to ten individual days away during the accelerator period to travel for specific meetings or business development activities
  • Up to 10 hours per week of Sprout specific work.

Portfolio companies: ABNZ, Farmote, Hectre, Micropod


Venture & Innovation

"The THRIVE Accelerator supports seed stage startups from all areas of the value chain whose technologies drive us towards a more efficient, sustainable, and secure agriculture future."

Investment amount: We invest a total of $100K in all of the startups accepted to the accelerator ($50K cash, $50K in program value), with the opportunity for follow-on investment.

Program benefits: 

  • MENTORSHIP AND COACHING: Startups are paired with tow mentors focused in technology and horticulture. All mentors can be accessed at our mentor base.
  • SERVICES & PROGRAM: Weekly webinars cover fundamentals like fundraising and go to market, and services include office space, legal services by Orrick, AWS and hubspot.
  • CORPORATE ACCESS: During our larger and more intimate events, as well as on a case by case basis, we connect startups with our corporate partners interested in testing new technology.
  • ACCESS TO FARMERS: Through our extensive network and 6000+ farmers of agriculture and food partners and growers, we provide startups with opportunities to test their technologies on field.
  • AWARDS & MARKETING: We provide ongoing marketing services to our accelerator companies, host the THRIVE Top 50 awards and honor our startups at the Forbes Agtech Summit.

Portfolio companies: Arable, Agrosmart, AgShift, Deeplook, EZ-Lab, FarmDog, MicroGen Biotech, Tortuga Agricultural Technologies, UAV-IQ, 3Bar Biologics


"At The Yield Lab, we've made it our mission to enable entrepreneurs to sustainably revolutionize agrifood systems. We do this by investing in and accelerating high-impact early-stage companies all around the world." 

Investment amount: $100,000 in equity investment

Program benefits: The Yield Lab North America programming will meet 6 times a year over the course of the 2018 calendar year, starting in late February. Programming sessions run for two or three days and take place in St. Louis, Missouri. During this time, companies will be guided through a uniquely developed accelerator program designed to leverage the agriculture assets of the American Midwest. Yield Lab programming places an emphasis on providing access to customers, collaborators, and capital. Each company will be assigned a dedicated Yield Lab Managing Director to guide them through the course of programming and beyond.

Portfolio companies: APSE, Nanoguard Technologies, Aptimmune Biologics, GlucanBio, Lean Media


 Techstars Farm to Fork

"Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator is our first program focused on the tech/digital side of food and agriculture. Partnered with Cargill and Ecolab, the program is looking for the best entrepreneurs across the entire food value chain, from AgTech, manufacturing and supply chains, to food safety, waste reduction and traceability. The program is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota."

Investment amount: An offer of €120,000 worth of investment

Program benefits: 

  • Unparalleled access to METRO’s intellectual capital
  • Close purpose-driven mentorship from METRO and Techstars industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs
  • Free dedicated working space in Berlin during the program
  • Judiciously prepared high stakes Demo Day
  • The opportunity to become a lifelong member of the METRO and Techstars alumni network

Mentor makeup: Anton Vincent, Debra Bauler, Doug Baker, Erica Gruen

Portfolio companies: Big Wheelbarrow, dishq, EIO Diagnostics, HeavyConnect, Induction Food System, pepr, Renewal Mill, TradeLanes, Traive


"TERRA is a first-of-its-kind program bringing together the industry’s most disruptive startups and progressive corporations to fuel cross-industry innovation and set a new standard for food and agriculture. Unlike other accelerator programs, this program is designed to be an ongoing innovation platform that will result in a continuous stream of commercially viable solutions. Combining RocketSpace’s global tech ecosystem and startup network with Rabobank’s food and agribusiness leadership and expertise, TERRA’s unique model will provide startups with the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our corporate partners in a dedicated product validation program."

Investment amount: No cost/Zero Equity-Requirements for Startups

Program benefits: 

  • Work hand-in-hand in a dedicated product validation program with the top corporates in the Food & Agriculture industry
  • Validate, iterate, and optimize your product through invaluable feedback and resources from TERRA and our Corporate Collaborators
  • Access to a tailored, virtual curriculum to increase the speed and efficiency of your product validation, Go-To-Market strategy, and industry knowledge

Mentor makeup: Abi Ramanan, Christine Couvelier, Francisco Correa, Jordan Moncharmont

Portfolio companies: Aromyz, Brio, Clear Labs, mOasis



"Food-X partners with early stage companies from across the food supply chain, from agriculture through consumer packaged goods, and helps these companies grow fast"

Investment amount: Up to $65K in cash

Program benefits: 

  • Perfect your investment pitch with our expert investor panels so you can lock down your seed round
  • Hone your business model, marketing, and operations with the world’s best network of food power players, business experts, investors, entrepreneurs and media/press
  • Learn how to grow your business through our comprehensive mentorship-driven program
  • Run your business from our collaborative co-working space where you can share knowledge and resources with like-minded entrepreneurs
  • Supercharge your connections with our 1000+ strong network of alumni founders

Mentor makeup: Adam Eskin, Bill Lessard, Dan Barber, Danielle Gould

Portfolio companies: Servy, Cambridge Crops, FoodieTrip, Coffee, Green Blender, LiveKuna



"The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is a mentor-led program that allows startups to collaborate with agriculture industry leaders and present their solutions to refine product market fit, perform customer discovery within the industry, and build strategic partnerships."

Investment amount: $40,000 seed funding for a 6% equity position in the startup

Program benefits: 

  • Access to over a hundred mentors
  • Tours of investor and mentor companies when not in the office for holistic education, outreach, networking, and presentation opportunites
  • Provided office space in the Historic East Village of Des Moines, Iowa
  • Subsidized housing provided at a nearby extended-stay facility
  • Graduation during the World Food Prize
  • Startup-friendly term sheet with common stock, no liquidation preferences, no board seat, and limited preemptive provisions

Mentor makeup: Barry Adams, Gaurav Bhalla, Christine Bobst, Scott Cogdill, Angela Ellis

Portfolio companies: Birdpreneur, VakSea, Hintech AG, Phenomics Labs

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