Home Enterprise Solutions Agtech hub SproutX accepts 11 start-ups into accelerator programme

National agtech innovation hub SproutX has accepted 11 start-ups into its accelerator programme in a bid to help transform Australia's agriculture sector through the use of technology.

The 11 were selected from among more than 100 applicants and they will attempt to solve a broad range of agricultural problems, using solutions involving solutions such as Internet-connected sensors, blockchain, and hydroponic vertical farming for city dwellers.

Each start-up will receive $40,000, expert mentoring and office space for six months.

There will be attempts to translate their ideas into reality and they will have the chance to test and distribute their products nationally through SproutX’s corporate partners, including Findex and Ruralco.

“SproutX exists to find and support amazing teams who are focused on taking agriculture to the next level,” said Andrew Lai, SproutX Accelerator director. “Our first batch of start-ups have amazing potential and the SproutX programme is designed to help start-up teams rapidly accelerate their growth and become world class businesses.”

Applant, one of the first start-ups accepted, is developing the world’s first human-pumped, hydroponic vertical farm for the home. The eTree uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture methods.

“The chance to grow our start-up and gain support from industry leaders like the ones involved in the SproutX accelerator means we are that much closer to making the world aware of our idea and that's invaluable to us,” said Caleb Ha, co-founder and chief executive of Applant.

The teams will also have access to potential follow-on angel and later-stage venture capital funding of up to $1 million through the $10 million SproutX Venture Capital Fund.

The fund will provide follow-on funding for chosen start-ups alongside a network of external investors, expediting funding rounds and reducing pressure on start-up founders to spend time away from growing their business.

SproutX accelerator participants

AgriLedger: a philanthropic venture helping the smallest farmers in developing countries. It provides a blockchain and smartphone solution directly to the farmer to improve trust, enabling farmers to work together in cooperatives as well as connecting buyers and sellers together to reduce food waste and inefficiency in farming.

Applant: has created eTree, the world's first human-pumped, aeroponic vertical garden. eTree uses 95% less water than traditional growing methods and does not require soil or electricity. It grows fresh, pesticide-free produce, indoors and out, in hyper-local environments for families and communities.

Bloombox Co: works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher product than ever before.

Farmapp: is revolutionising food production management by helping growers embrace technology. Farmapp has developed an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) software-based service for crops. The software includes a combination of scouting and fumigation apps with sensors and brings automation (IOT) devices to the agriculture sector.

Hub & Spoke: will maximise animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety by revolutionising the meat processing industry. Hub & Spoke will build the first truly mobile, on-farm slaughtering service that incorporates the highest standards of animal welfare, state-of-the-art processing methods and environmentally sustainable practices.

IoTAg: enriches farmers’ lives with exponential technology. Its maiden product — a smart cattle ear tag — enables cattle farmers to track cattle over large distances, monitor for key breeding-related events, as well as alerts them to illnesses and births. All of this, ultimately helps take risk out of farming and make better agri-financing possible.

OutofBox Solutions: aims to build Smart Monitoring solutions using the latest technology to improve Livestock health and well-being. The first product as part of the company’s launch plan will focus on smart-foot inspection.

Snaptrap: is developing a "smart trap" to automate fruit fly surveillance. It eliminates costs including time, travel, waste, by providing concise, real-time decision information remotely. It makes interventions more accurate and cheap, and supports market access efforts.

thingc: is on a mission to help farmers produce more with less by optimising resources and increasing yield. thingc provides deep insight into current farm conditions by orchestrating a broad range of farming data. It equips farmers with the tools and technologies to make informed farming decisions.

Tie Up Farming: is digitising farming operations across the entire horticulture sector by offering a fully customised online platform. Tie Up Farming specialises in precision agriculture and traceability, while making its cutting edge technology accessible for every farm.

Water Save: is delivering an affordable, automated farm irrigation solution, which can can be monitored from anywhere in the world. Whilst reducing costs by up to 20%, the platform can build in machine learning to monitor and reduce the level of chemicals applied to crops. This is critical in regions such as Queensland, where outputs severely impact waterways leading to The Great Barrier Reef.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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