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Village Capital Selects 13 Businesses for 3rd Agtech Accelerator Program

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Village Capital, the entrepreneur community, and accelerator, has selected 13 businesses for its third agriculture accelerator program.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, and New Orleans, the program brings together early stage entrepreneurs who are working on tackling problems at various points in the food and agriculture supply chain.

The program is particularly focused on ventures that increase resource efficiency and productivity throughout the supply chain, from production to the aggregation and distribution of food. It has a special emphasis on small farms.

“Agriculture related activities are responsible for more than 60 percent of the nation’s water withdrawals, and 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2013,” reads a statement from Village Capital announcing the program’s launch. “Additionally, 19.5 percent of US homes with children are experiencing food insecurity, and grocery store food costs continue to increase by about 3.5 percent every year.”

Here is a snapshot of this year’s cohort.

Global Plant Solutions produces and distributes environmentally safe, nutrient-based fungal and bacterial control products, which enhance plant growth, strength, and vitality. Stony Creek Colors has created what it deems as the first scalable agricultural supply chain to replace synthetic petrol based dyes with cleaner and safer biobased dyes. 3Bar Biologics is on a mission to improve yield, profitability, and sustainability through its bio-inoculant inputs.

A number of companies are focused on improving some of the final stages of the food production process. Full Harvest, for example, is a mission-driven B2B marketplace designed to help reduce food waste at the farm level, while Follow That Meat! provides data management services enhancing transparency and traceability in the meat supply chain. Earthineer is a peer-to-peer social marketplace for food and farm goods.

Other participants in this year’s accelerator include:

Emmer & Co. – Providing Heritage Poultry. Rebuilding a bond with honest food.

FoodTrace – Helping food businesses answer the daily questions “Where is your product coming from and/or where is it going?”

Hemp Foods America – Aiming to achieve rank as one of the top 3 hemp food brands on grocery store shelves with Kentucky-grown organic grains.

IDIAS Bioenergy – changing the way the world sees waste and utilizing carbon dioxide emissions to create sustainable products.

Kuli Kuli – The first company to sell moringa food products in the US & use this new superfood as a tool to improve nutrition worldwide.

Sunstrand – Processing and supplying value added biomaterials primarily for the polymer composites industry.

Arise agtech – Developing a new way to grow plants with soil, anywhere, using less water, land, energy, labor and no chemicals, waste or pollution.

During the three-month accelerator program, 13 companies will have a chance to learn from some of the brightest minds in the industry as well as enjoying countless opportunities to collaborate with one another at three different multi-day workshops based in Louisville and New Orleans.

The program is designed to help the entrepreneurs challenge any assumptions they have made about their business models and products, integrate feedback from potential customers into their design and obtain access to critical mentoring opportunities from established business leaders and investors.

At the end, two companies will be peer-selected for a $75,000 pre-committed capital investment from VilCap Investments and Radicle Capital.

Village Capital’s other partners are Blue Sky Network, a venture philanthropy organization, Reily Foods, the established US food company, The Owsley Brown Family Foundation, a charitable foundation, and Sustainable America, a non-profit organization focused on making US’s food and fuel system more efficient.

Agtech has received increasing attention from the accelerator community in recent years, drawing some big name businesses to the sector. Thrive Accelerator, for example, nurtures precision agriculture technology companies that will help farmers meet the ever-increasing food needs of our growing population. It includes participation from agtech-focused venture capital firm SVG Partners, IT giant Verizon, Forbes, the business magazine, and Western Growers, the Salinas Valley farmers organization.

Using funding from Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership supporting startup businesses in the state, USDA, and private donors, Memphis Bioworks Foundation’s NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator offers programs to support agtech startups throughout Tennessee and the Southeast region. The program targets a number of segments, including precision agriculture, animal health and nutrition, specialty crops, food safety, and bio-based products and bioenergy.

In the summer, the UK’s first agtech accelerator was established by commodity risk management firm Amius. And earlier this month, The Yield Lab opened for applications to its second agtech accelerator program in St Louis, after helping its first cohort raise $12 million in external funding, while the first agtech accelerator in New Zealand also launched.

Keep an eye on for more news about accelerators for the agtech sector.

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