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The Yield Lab Launches Irish Agtech Accelerator

July 17, 2016

The Yield Lab, one of the first accelerator programs to focus on the agriculture technology market, has launched an Ireland-focused program and investment fund.

Dubbed Yield Lab Galway, after the town in which it will be based, the accelerator has raised funding from Cultivation CapitalSt. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and St. Louis Regional Chamber. It is understood that the fund is targeting $800k to $1.2 million.

Following the same model as its US counterpart, Yield Lab Galway will invest €100k into eight to 12 startups over the next two years, providing them with one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities over a year-long program.

The Yield Lab chose to launch its first international foray in Ireland due to the strong links between St Louis, where its US business is based, and Galway in Ireland. The US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley is also from St Louis, and organized an economic delegation from St Louis to Ireland last year, which was attended by Thad Simons, managing director at The Yield Lab and lead on Yield Lab Galway.

“It also offers a number of regional resources such as NUI Galway, GMIT, Mountbellew Agriculture College and a central location to the vast agricultural production in the West of Ireland,” reads a press release. “Galway has built itself into an entrepreneurial stronghold, boasting a thriving technology park and growing support ecosystem.”

There is a chance that Yield Lab Galway could be selected to take part in an accelerator scheme launched by the Irish government, which would see its fundraising efforts matched by Enterprise Ireland, the government agency promoting new business, according to Matt Plummer, program manager at The Yield Lab. But even without that, it made sense for the accelerator to launch in Ireland, he told AgFunderNews.

“We are in Ireland because we also want to be able to leverage European deal flow that we aren’t able to access 3000 miles away, and Ireland is an agricultural economy, very similar to the American Midwest,” he said.

While less publicized than other countries, Ireland has a growing agtech startup scene. Dublin-based startup MagGrow was one of three winners of the Thrive Accelerator, SVG Partners announced on Wednesday at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, California. It is a magnetic spraying technology aimed at reducing drift by up to 80%. Last month, Dublin-based startup Obeo raised a $395k seed round for its food waste technology.

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