Agtech Accelerator Yield Lab Opens for Class of 2016 – Exclusive

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Yield Lab has launched the application process for its 2016 business accelerator program, giving agriculture technology entrepreneurs the opportunity to access $100,000 in funding, and nine months of mentoring, training and support.

This is the second year for St Louis-based program, which has helped its first cohort of startups raise a total of $12 million in funding from investors. Applications must be made before November 1, 2015.

Yield Lab is one of the first accelerator programs dedicated to agtech after launching in 2014. Village Capital, the entrepreneur community and accelerator, launched its first agtech program in 2013 in Louisville and is now in its third iteration offering workshops in both Louisville and New Orleans for its latest cohort, which is due to be announced soon.

The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad business school, has also jumped on the opportunity to mentor and accelerate agtech startups launching its three-month initiative in July.

Other accelerators for agtech include The €4 million Netherlands’ SmartAgriFood accelerator, which launched last year; Canada’s Agri-Food Venture Acceleration Program, and the UK’s Amius Start-up Program, which is still accepting applications until October 31, 2015.

Accelerators do not just offer startups an opportunity to raise funding from the program and investors in the aftermath, but they are also an opportunity for them to gain advice from industry insiders and mix with their peers to gather feedback and explore potential partnerships.

Yield Lab provides exposure to its network of ag experts and agribusinesses in St Louis, where all the startups commit to being for the monthly programming. In exchange for the training, mentoring, $100,000 investment and network access, Yield Lab takes a negotiable financial stake in equity or convertible notes in each business for its venture capital fund.

Yield Lab’s class of 2015 graduated this month and raised some $12 million between them. “The Yield Lab is extremely pleased with the success of their first class raising over $12 million total funds, setting the bar high for their next cohort,” reads a press release. “The Yield Lab looks forward to continuing to be an active agriculture investor by identifying and supporting innovative AgTech start-ups from around the globe.”

Highlights from the first cohort include a $1.6 million follow-on Series A for AGERpoint, the precision agriculture company, which Yield Lab discovered on AgFunder; a $2.6 million Series A for Arvergenix, the pennycress-based biofuels and animal feed startup; a $2 million Series B for Terviva, the Pongamia-based animal feed and biofuel company, which also featured on AgFunder; and Holganix, the microbial fertilizer producer, is nearing the close on its $3 million Series B round.

Applications can be made here.

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