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Alltech looks to give leg up to innovators

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By Jane Byrne

Last updated on 17-Feb-2017 at 17:01 GMT2017-02-17T17:01:27Z

© istock/Pepsikan
© istock/Pepsikan

Aqua feed delivery innovator, eFishery, is one of 10 start-up companies chosen to take part in a mentorship program run by Alltech and Irish start-up hub, Dogpatch Labs.

The 10 successful applicants hail from Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Ireland and the US. Between them, they have already raised more than $30m in funding.

Startup participants, as part of the agri-tech accelerator, will receive access to Dr Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, and the senior management of that US animal health and nutrition company.

They will also receive free space for three months in Dublin based Dogpatch Labs, a €15K cash fund and mentoring covering a range of areas from product development to strategy and international expansion, said Alltech.

At the end of the program, the startup firms will pitch to the accelerator for business partners and investors; the technology will also be showcased at the Alltech conference in Kentucky in May.

Thought leadership 

But what is in it for Alltech? Its chief innovation officer, Aidan Connolly, told us: “We made the decision to set up an accelerator as part of our commitment to provide thought leadership within the sector with respect to introducing technologies that can help make our customers more profitable.“

Connolly, along with other representatives from Alltech and Dogpatch Labs, make up the jury.

eFishery appealed, he said, as it allows the control of feed delivery to the farm remotely. He noted the Asian company’s sensing technology allows more precision in terms of the timing and quantity of feeding, and that this should reduce environmental wastage, which, ultimately, will result in more profitable farming.

The Indonesia feed technology firm was also chosen as part of the shortlist for Nutreco’s innovation challenge .

However, feed or nutrition focused initiatives do not loom large in the final 10 start-ups selected:

“We were not looking specifically for companies in the nutrition area. We were very interested in some of the areas of digital technologies and innovations, and of course the partnership with Dogpatch to some degree also confirmed that direction. 

"While it is surprising that we did not receive more nutritional applicants, it is clear that all of these technologies have synergies, which are very important as the area of nutrition continues to incorporate big data,” said Connolly.


The finalists include:

MagGrow (Ireland)

Using a magnetic spraying system reduces drift by more than 80 percent and delivers superior coverage by enabling a spray of finer droplets, a key challenge for conventional spraying systems.

Moocall (Ireland)

A wearable technology that accurately predicts when a cow will give birth and communicates to the farmer via text message.

eFishery (Indonesia)

A fish feeder that automatically senses the appetite of fish and adjusts the amount of feed accordingly.

SkySquirrel (Canada)

A crop-analytics company that develops drone-based technology for monitoring crop health, with a primary focus on improving crop yields and reducing costs at commercial vineyards.

Agriwebb (Australia)

A mobile herd and farm management application developed for cattle, sheep and wool producers, with an online trading platform.

Greengage (UK)

Greengage provides market leading LED lamps to serve the farming industry with a simple and highly effective solution you can rely on.

Hargol FoodTech (Israel)

An optimized method and technology that enables producers to grow large quantities of grasshoppers quickly in captivity.

Tevatronic (Israel)

A technological solution enabling crops to be grown autonomously from an irrigation and a fertilisation aspect. The system is capable of deciding when and how much to irrigate, and it executes the irrigation decisions autonomously.

Agrilyst (USA)

Helping greenhouse operators run their operations more efficiently by pulling in data from sensors in the greenhouse and information about crop yields and other metrics.

Alesca Life (China)

A concept called farming-as-a-service was developed that allows scalable, localised food production for commercial and retail customers.

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