Irish start-up MicroGen Biotech sows seeds of success at Forbes AgTech Summit

30 Jun 2017144 Shares

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SVG Partners’ John Hartnett with MicroGen Biotech CEO and founder Xuemei Germaine. Image: JRumans Photography

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Hat-trick for Ireland as Carlow start-up nabs agritech award.

MicroGen Biotech has won the Thrive Sustainability award at the Forbes AgTech Summit in California.

Thrive is an agritech venture and innovation platform founded by Irish man John Hartnett’s SVG Partners in 2014.

‘We have demonstrated that, globally, our technology can bring down toxic pollutant levels found in food by up to 50pc’
– XUEMEI GERMAINE

Thrive’s open innovation Seed Accelerator programme was created to help innovative tech companies disrupt, scale and lead in the global agritech market.

During the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit, Brazil-based decision-support company Agrosmart received Thrive’s award for Operational Excellence, while Colorado-based automation company Tortuga AgTech took home the award for Innovation.

Breakthrough biotechnology

Institute of Carlow-based MicroGen Biotech completes a hat trick of Irish wins in this arena, with Nora Khaldi’s Nuritas winning at Thrive in 2015, while Gary Wickham’s MagGrow was recognised in 2016.

Headed by Xuemei Germaine, MicroGen Biotech applies constructed, functional, microbiome technology to increase crop yield and health, while protecting food safety by remediating pollutants and improving soil fertility.

The start-up has developed a fast and efficient technology that allows identification of functional microbes in four months – a process that can typically take years.

Speaking at the Forbes event, Germaine said: “We have demonstrated that, globally, our technology can bring down toxic pollutant levels found in food by up to 50pc.”

Updated, 10.58am, 30 June 2017: This article was amended to clarify that Josh Hartnett founded SVG Partners, not Silicon Valley Ventures.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com