Five fast moving AgTech companies joined the 2020 SproutX Accelerator Program this week via a virtual 'Mentor Mixer' event. The five AgTech companies include Agtuary, Ambit Robotics, eBottli, FarmLab and Little Green Panda. Find out more about each of these Australian agtech companies by reading this article – but first, a little about SproutX and why being recruited into the program is big news for each of these emerging AgTech vendors.
“Launching an accelerator during lockdown has meant SproutX had to get creative to build a sense of community for the founders,” said co-director Chris Romano.
“The Mentor Mixer event was essentially speed dating for founders, with high calibre mentors from agribusiness, investment and entrepreneurial backgrounds.”
SproutX was Australia's first agtech accelerator and venture capital fund dedicated to early stage food and agricultural technology. By empowering founders to build world-class technologies, the team is all about creating positive impact in the lives of producers and consumers. The accelerator is a support network of mentors who provide guidance, and SproutX also provides investment capital to help grow the businesses to a point where they are ‘investor ready’ and in the best position to then go on to raise more capital to go onto bigger things.
SproutX provides hands-on support, investment in capital through partner fund, Artesian Capital, direct access to corporate partners and an extensive network of investors in Australia and overseas.
The Accelerator runs for six months with founders flown in for workshop sprints from across Australia.
“Our mission is to increase founders' chance of long term success. This includes diving into the business model, challenging founders on weak spots and ultimately, getting them more investment ready. The final layer to this is the ability to communicate communicating the opportunity through a fresh and persuasive pitch.“ said Co-director Julia Waite.
The program concludes with a pitch event or ‘Demo Day’ where angel investors and venture capitalists are invited to witness what all SproutX accelerators hope will be ‘the perfect pitch’.
Last year’s cohort includes some familiar faces who now feature on vendor highlight pages of AgTech Finder (find out more about Mobble and Pairtree in the vendor and solutions directory of AgTech Finder).
This year, the five fab entering the accelerator program include:
Agtuary are a satellite imagery company that have worked out a way to help farmers de-risk ag loans by using satellite, climate and on-farm data. The imagery they capture and the way they can interpret it provides insights for agribusinesses and financial institutions to more accurately price for lending risk.
Their online platform is super practical and clearly explains how the models are generated from satellite imagery and on-farm data to give creditors more information, while providing stronger evidencing for the farmer.
A new breed of robots is set to transform farming over the next decade. From weeding and spraying crops to taking care of cattle, the technology will make agriculture more productive and sustainable, helping farmers survive and thrive.
Ambit are a robotics group that are in this space developing robotic technology, specifically to spray crops. Their robots are destined to reduce physical labour, reduce the amount of chemical fertilisers used, and improve safety.
eBottli provide authenticity and counterfeiting services for products like wine to help fight against counterfeiting. They do this with a unique identifier bottle label that basically traces the history of how the bottle moves throughout the supply chain. Behind the label they have a platform of services providing geolocation tracking of bottles, bottle boxes, wine containers and other points along the chain with different types of IoT devices.
eBottli are also experimenting with a blockchain service, near-field communication devices and augmented reality applications to give customer more immersive information when ‘reading’ the back of a bottle with the help of their mobile phone.
FarmLab make soil mapping software that uses remotely sensed data and the ‘ground-truth' of soil testing to help farmers make more informed decisions. Their technology is helping improve soil and land management for agronomists and farmers by helping farmers create and export soil maps with the touch of a button.
Maps can be viewed or shared with advisers to help determine which zones are suitable for grazing, and which zones are more suitable for cropping. Recommendations by the software can help farmers make more informed decisions around fertiliser use and land management. At the moment, they have an introductory special where you can get your first 100 hectares of data processing free. If you want some ideas on how to get started with soil sampling or how much a full service might cost, check out this case study.
LGP are on a mission to be the world’s largest distributor of single use products from agricultural waste.
Little Green Panda wants the world to stop using pesky plastic straws that can end up in the oceans and harm marine life - or sit in landfill for centuries. They supply plant-based straws worldwide, originally starting with bamboo drinking straws and now expanding into wheat and sugarcane while experimenting with a few other plants as well.