Irish agritech start-up Viridian Seeds backed by Illumina Accelerator

15 Sep 2022

Image: © JHVEPhoto/

Viridian Seeds was one of six start-ups chosen for the Illumina Accelerator. It will receive support for its mission to create sustainable ‘super-legumes’.

An Irish agricultural biotech start-up has been selected to receive seed funding and support from DNA sequencing giant Illumina.

Viridian Seeds is one of six start-ups chosen by the Illumina Accelerator, which aims to help build breakthrough genomic companies. Viridian is the only Irish start-up selected in this cycle.

Based in Galway and the UK, the start-up’s mission is to create ‘super-legumes’ that can provide a sustainable source of plant protein while reducing carbon emissions.

The company said it combines genetics, genomics and environmental footprinting skills to develop these legumes, with the aim of benefiting farmers, consumers and the planet.

The start-ups selected by the accelerator get access to Illumina’s sequencing systems and reagents, business guidance, genomics expertise and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina’s campuses in Cambridge or San Francisco.

“We are proud to welcome these six fantastic genomics start-ups to our Illumina Accelerator portfolio,” said Illumina for Start-ups global head Amanda Cashin. “We have an eight-year track record of partnering with talented entrepreneurs.

“We’re proud of Illumina Accelerator’s strong portfolio of 74 genomics start-ups focused on unlocking the power of the genome to improve human health around the world.”

Viridian Seeds co-founder Prof Charles Spillane, a researcher in plant science at the University of Galway, said the accelerator gives the company a “tremendous opportunity to work with one of the best genomics company teams”.

The accelerator could also enables a faster route to market and help the start-up raise further investment through match funding.

Last year, a team led by Spillane and Dr Aaron Golden won €1m from Science Foundation Ireland for developing an AI-based platform that can measure adaptation to the changing climate.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic