Calling all agricultural-focused startups. This week, agri tech VC firm AgFunder announced its forthcoming startup accelerator, GROW, is now accepting applications.
GROW is a joint venture between AgFunder and agrifood accelerator Rocket Seeder, and includes backing from the Singapore government through Enterprise Singapore and the Economic Development Bank. The program will work with early-stage startups in the agri tech space to help them fine-tune their business models, identify target audiences, and prepare to get further funding.
Though based in Singapore, the program encourages startups from around the world to apply. According to an AgFunder blog post, those chosen to participate will receive up-to $120,000 in equity funding, $80,000 in-kind benefits, coaching and mentorship sessions, and access to “experts, test labs and deep-tech expertise in GROW research partners.”
Participants are expected to be in Singapore for part but not all of the duration of the three-month program, which kicks off in September. According to GROW’s FAQ page, those who complete the program will also become eligible for the accelerator’s +3 GROW program, which includes an additional three months in the GROW coworking space in Singapore along with extra coaching during that time.
AgFunder’s current portfolio includes companies that cover a range of different technology solutions both on the farm and in the food supply chain. Trace Genomics, for example, uses a proprietary analytics engine to help farmers track soil health. ImpactVision’s technology assesses food quality and safety through hyperspectral imaging. Aerobotics uses satellites and drones for pest-control on the farm.
As to why Singapore is the chosen location for the accelerator, part of the reason is that agri tech in that country is still fairly nascent and therefore needs more investment. Quoting Openspace Ventures’ Nicole Tee, the AgFunder blog post noted that, “it’s still early days for agtech in the region and so creating an active ecosystem was important to drive further investment and create ‘credible players in the global markets.'”
Of late, Singapore has received much attention for its role in developing cultured meat, as well as its recent $535 million investment to boost R&D in areas like robotics, AI, and sustainable urban food production. And other accelerator programs already have a presence in Singapore, including HATCH’s aquaculture program and Big Idea Ventures, who’s mainly tackling alternative proteins right now.
According to AgFunder, GROW is the first agri tech-specific startup accelerator to be based in Singapore. Applications close on August 19.