Yield Lab, a new St.Louis-based ag tech accelerator program launched in September, announced its first class of five startups. More than 100 companies applied to the program from around the world, and the first batch includes one company from St. Louis, three from the United States, and one from Argentina.
The Yield Lab invests $100,000 in each of these startups. The companies go through a nine-month program, receiving hands-on training, mentoring and networking opportunities from top agriculture research and development institutions in the region. The Yield Lab is backed by Cultivation Capital and is led by Thad Simons, the former CEO of Novus International. It’s supported by a framework of agriculturally focused individuals, organizations, and businesses in the St. Louis area.
There are five companies in the first cohort:
Arvegenix is developing Pennycress, an annual energy crop grown over winter when land is idle, giving farmers another revenue crop. Pennycress produces oil for biofuels and press-cake that is used as livestock feed.
AGERpoint provides comprehensive GIS-based asset inventory, data and precision agriculture solutions to growers of tree, vine, and bush-based crops. AGERpoint distills data from laser and other optical scanning equipment into actionable information for permanent crop farmers from planting to harvest.
Holganix is a 100% natural bio-nutritional product that promotes strong plant health and sustainable soils while reducing the need for traditional fertilizers and pesticides.
TerViva is commercializing a perennial tree grown on underproductive agricultural land called Pongamia. Pongamia produces an annual harvest of pods, which can be crushed to produce animal feed and oil used for biofuels.
Solapa4 is a data gathering and analytics company that can predict the agricultural performance of land. Their products show the productivity of a farm for risk management, agribusiness, and farming decisions.
TerViva is a AgFunder alum that raised $1.2M last year; AGERPoint is now available for investment, with the first $50,000 commitment coming from Yield Lab and $450,000 remaining for their target raise. Investors in AGERPoint will be co-investing alongside Yield Lab in this round.
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