Seed World

Ag-Celerator announces next round of $100,000 available to advance Purdue agricultural innovations

Anthony Hearst is, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Progeny Drone Inc., a Purdue-affiliated startup that has created software that rapidly converts aerial crop photos into useful information for or plant breeding, crop modeling and precision agriculture. Progeny Drone received $60,000 from Ag-Celerator a year ago.

Startups based on Purdue University plant science innovations are eligible to apply for the next funding round of the Ag-Celerator with $100,000 in cash prizes to be awarded.

The purpose of this twice-a-year competition is to provide entrepreneurs interested in creating a startup and commercializing their technology with the initial funds to do so. Funding will be awarded to teams who present technologies and innovations that are considered to have the ability to impact plant sciences.

“Through the Ag-Celerator fund we want to embolden the entrepreneurial spirit of Purdue innovators by offering them a stepping stone toward creating their startup and commercializing their technologies,” says John Hanak, Purdue Ventures’ managing director.

The innovations can be related to plant sciences in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, innovations in advancing crop traits, generating higher yields, using big data to improve farm management, new uses of plants, precision agriculture and advanced breeding techniques. Purdue students, faculty and alumni are eligible.

A callout and information session will be held Feb. 8 at the David C. Pfendler Hall of Agriculture, Room 241. The deadline to apply is midnight Feb. 18. The application consists of a form, a description of the business concept and a pitch deck.

The Ag-Celerator Fund, created in 2015 by the College of Agriculture and the Purdue Research Foundation, is a $2 million fund devoted to supporting the commercialization of technologies in plant sciences. The program is managed by Purdue Ventures, the investment arm of the Purdue Foundry.

The Ag-Celerator Fund announced earlier this month that Heliponix LLC , which is developing coffee machine-like pods that can grow produce in homes, and Karysoft, which is creating easy-to-use software solutions that simplify genome data analytics for microbiome professionals, had received $50,000 each through the fall competition.

Previous recipients of the Ag-Celerator investment program are Ongenia LLC, JUA Technologies International LLC, ZeaVaxx LLC, Phicrobe LLC, VinSense Technology LLC, Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc., Progeny Drone Inc. and Gen3Bio Inc.