A couple of years ago if you were an agtech company there wasn’t much for you in the way of ag-focused incubators or accelerators. Today we can add RoyseLaw’s AgTech Incubator to the list, which just announced a call for applications to their new AgTech incubator in Palo Alto.
“Up to eight startups will be accepted into the 3 ½ month program in Palo Alto,” said Founder Roger Royse, “which features co-working space, mentoring from agribusiness and food experts, and weekly instructional programs in the areas of technology, law, accounting, innovation, and operations.” Royse added that those in the program will exhibit and pitch at several trade events including the Produce Marketing Association’s Tech Knowledge conference in Monterey, the RoyseLaw Global AgTech Conference in Mountain View and the World Ag Expo in Tulare.
The program will give participants exposure to major brand executives, investors and experts, and they will take field trips to farms, markets and global agriculture and food companies. Applications will be screened by a panel of agriculture and food experts, business leaders and venture capitalists. The panel will be looking for innovative technologies such as robotics, software, machinery, GPS, water conservation, sustainability and big data.
There are now several incubators and accelerators focused on food and agriculture including Local Food Lab and The ARK in the food space, in the agtech/water space: Yield Labs in St Louis, which just put out a call for applications, Village Capital’s ag accelerator in Louisville, Thrive Accelerator in Salinas Valley, and the rumored Finistere/Larta agtech accelerator, and let’s not forget our partners over at Imagine H2O which started their water-focused accelerator back in 2007. Even Y-Combinator put out a Request for Startups in the Food and Water space.
Royse feels that being in the heart of Silicon Valley and the home of Stanford offers some big advantages, “RoyseLaw AgTech Incubator is in a unique position to leverage our location in the center of the technology universe and our extensive connections in venture capital, food and agriculture. The biggest ideas in the world often originate or settle in Silicon Valley, and we believe AgTech promises to produce the next big thing.”
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While many accelerators and incubators offer seed capital in return for a portion of the company (Often following the 5-7% Y-Combinator model), Royse said that they will be looking for sponsors to “provide challenge grants and investment capital to promising technologies” and that “in most cases” companies probably will not have to give up equity.
RoyseLaw AgTech Incubator mentors and advisors include human resources advisor and educator Michael L. Davis; agronomist Patrick Dosier; Local Roots Founder and CEO Eric Ellestad; investment and operations expert Garrett Goldberg; business lawyer and entrepreneur Fred Greguras; business strategy and operations expert Gary Jinks; chief financial officer Joe Marshall; urban farming and farm-to-table professor John Matthesen; business consultant Joy Montgomery; entrepreneur and president of Dynamite Network Jeff Musson; investor and organic foods entrepreneur Robert Nissenbaum; seasoned marketer and entrepreneur Shing Pan; strategic consultant Ralph Patterson; growth and innovation consultant Carolina Rizo; Silicon Valley technology veteran and California egg producer Mike Weber; management consultant Joseph Wei; and award-winning product development and food safety expert Robert Whitaker.
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IMAGE from the Silicon Valley AgTech Conference this past spring (Great shot of our friend Mark Khan over an Omnivore!)