UCD’s agritech accelerator seeks fresh start-ups for 2022

31 Aug 2022

David Bowles, The Yield Lab; Jerome O'Connell, ProvEye; Niamh Collins, AgTechUCD; Mark Elliott, CropHound; and James Maloney, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Nick Bradshaw

Last year was the first time AgTechUCD ran the ‘agccelerator’ programme and nine start-ups were chosen to take part.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs in the agritech and food sectors are being invited to apply for the next AgTechUCD Agcelerator Programme.

AgTechUCD is based at the University College Dublin (UCD) Lyons Farm in Kildare and is part of the NovaUCD centre for new ventures. It is looking to boost start-ups with global potential from Ireland and beyond.

The accelerator is an intensive 12-week programme that will start in October. Participants can expect to take part in business development workshops, investor readiness training, guest speaker sessions and mentoring sessions with industry experts and business advisers.

They will also be introduced to AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks. The programme will conclude in January 2023 when all participating start-ups will pitch their businesses to a panel of investors with the opportunity to be awarded prize funding.

AgTechUCD is funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland is a partner on the accelerator programme, along with AIB, The Yield Lab Europe, Devenish, Carberry, Ornua, Herdwatch, IFAC, Thrive/SVG Ventures and The Virtual Vet.

Last year was the first year AgTechUCD ran the programme. Nine start-ups took part, including UCD spin-out ProvEye.

“We found the programme to be hugely beneficial in helping us focus on the customer and their needs as we readied our solution for the market,” ProvEye’s co-founder, Dr Jerome O’Connell, said.

“We also made some great connections in the agtech industry through the programme, many of which we are engaging with on a regular basis today. This has been a real bonus for us.”

ProvEye provides advanced processing software to derive quantitative data from images collected by drones and other platforms. The data can be used in agriculture, conservation and environmental monitoring.

It was one of three start-ups to win a prize at the end of the last accelerator programme. The other winners were Cotter Agritech and Izario.

Niamh Collins, director of AgTechUCD, said that the accelerator programme is “tailored to address the particular needs and challenges facing start-ups” in the agritech sector. It aims to fast-track the business development and leadership skills of participants and to provide them with the support and guidance needed to accelerate their start-up ideas.

For more information on 2022 AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme and to apply, see AgTechUCD’s website.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.