Agritechs MyGug and OptaHaul win AgTechUCD accelerator

30 Jan 2023

Fiona Kelleher of MyGug and Gary Gallagher of OptaHaul. Image: Nick Bradshaw

MyGug, this week’s Start-up of the Week, was named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2023.

Irish agritech start-ups MyGug and OptaHaul have been declared winners of the second AgTechUCD accelerator based in University College Dublin (UCD).

The AgTechUCD Agcelerator Programme is an intensive 12-week accelerator that aims to address the needs and challenges of Irish agritech and food-tech start-ups by helping founders learn leadership skills, building their confidence and supporting their businesses.

Following a final pitching event held at UCD Lyons Farm, MyGug was named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2023 and received a €10,000 prize. Meanwhile, OptaHaul was named the Ornua AgTech One to Watch 2023 and also received a €10,000 prize.

MyGug and OptaHaul were two of 12 companies selected for the programme last October after applications were first opened in August.

They took part in business development workshops and investor-readiness training, received mentoring from industry experts and business advisers, and connected with AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks.

“The aim of this programme is to support the commercial development of the participating start-ups by helping them to increase their marketplace visibility and to attract new customers and investors,” said Niamh Collins, director of the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre.

MyGug, featured as’s Start-up of the Week today,  focuses on small food businesses that grow their own food, providing them with a food waste disposal system that turns waste into biogas energy that can be used in kitchens and gardens.

Its egg-shaped MyGug units harness the power of a natural process called anaerobic digestion in which food waste is broken down to produce a natural gas suitable for cooking and liquid fertiliser for growing.

“Every year, a third of food intended for human consumption is lost or wasted. This food waste can be diverted from landfills and harnessed to create renewable energy,” Fiona Kelleher, co-founder and COO of MyGug, said.

“We are currently selling MyGug digesters to customers in Ireland as well as exporting to the UK and to mainland Europe. We are planning to raise €1m in seed funding later this year to expand our manufacturing base and to accelerate company growth and sales in Ireland and abroad.”

Based in Co Westmeath, OptaHaul provides route optimisation software for sustainable dairy transport. The start-up has built a SaaS optimisation platform that helps dairy processors, cooperatives and haulers reduce transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Milk logistics is both complex and costly, involving the collection of a perishable product from hundreds or thousands of farms and delivering it to multiple factories, which change often, 365 days per year,” said Gary Gallagher, CEO and co-founder of OptaHaul.

“[Our platform] is designed specifically for farm to plant milk transport and results in reduced mileage thus removing vehicle GHG emissions, reduced costs and less complexity all while ensuring the long-term sustainability of one of nature’s most precious gifts, dairy cows and the milk they produce.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic