Yield Lab Europe launches €21m fund in agritech start-up boost

4 Jun 2019

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Irish-based agritech accelerator Yield Lab Europe has announced the launch of a new €21m fund, led by backing from Enterprise Ireland.

Start-ups working in agritech across Europe will now be able to apply for venture capital funding as part of a new initiative from Yield Lab Europe.

The new €21m European agritech fund will invest in start-ups working in the area of agrifood technologies that have the potential to scale internationally. This will include an accelerator fund that will invest €100,000 into five companies each year, with a larger follow-on fund to lead rounds through to Series A for selected companies.

The fund is backed by €10m from Enterprise Ireland, followed by €4m from AIB and the remaining €7m from private family offices. What is essential for those looking to apply, Yield Lab Europe said, is to show they can improve the sustainability of food production to reduce the contribution of the sector to climate change and environmental pollution.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the accelerator said that it plans to raise further capital. Among its previous success stories include Cork-based Apis Protect. The bee-monitoring platform led by Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy recently announced a partnership with global mobile and satellite player Inmarsat to monitor the health of honeybees.

Yield Lab Europe has also invested in Meath-based insect farm Hexafly, which uses black soldier flies to upcycle brewing waste into high-value proteins, oils and natural fertilisers; as well as Carlow-based MicroGen Biotech, whose technology prevents the uptake of toxic heavy metals into plants and our food.

“Never before has the need for innovative technologies to improve the sustainability and efficiency of how food is produced been so acutely needed,” said Paul Finnerty, chair of Yield Lab Europe at the launch today (4 June). “Large corporates globally depend on the start-up ecosystem to provide next-generation solutions to critical problems facing the agriculture and food industries. Agtech is the sharp end of agrifood industry innovation.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic