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US: Innovation incubator selects first cohort of agtech startups focused on sustainable solutions

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has selected five early-stage companies for the program’s first agtech cohort. Each company participating in this invitation-only program will receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to further develop and validate its technology with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Danforth Center scientists will be paired with each of the five companies and will conduct research to further develop and validate their innovative solutions that address how to use digital agriculture to produce food more sustainably.

“These five companies are driving innovation and new breakthroughs that will ultimately improve the way that we grow, make, distribute and consume food and use resources,” said Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer at the Danforth Center. “We are proud to be a strategic partner helping to accelerate promising technologies that tackle these critical challenges.”

IN2 Agtech Cohort

  • Aker Technologies (Chicago, IL) Automated crop-scouting process that captures and analyzes the presence and intensity of pests and pathogens below the crop canopy. Malia Gehan, Ph.D. and Rebecca Bart, Ph.D., of the Danforth Center will serve as Principal Investigators.
  • CoverCress (St. Louis, MO) Winter crop that covers soil over winter, protecting it from harsh conditions, while producing a low-carbon intensity crop for renewable fuel and food. Dmitri Nusinow, Ph.D., and Dilip Shah Ph.D., of the Danforth Center will serve as Principal Investigators.
  • Intrinsyx Bio (Los Altos, CA) Plant probiotics that increase crop yield, reduce excess fertilizer and improve soil and water conditions. Ivan Baxter, Ph.D., and Rebecca Bart, Ph.D., of the Danforth Center will serve as Principal Investigators.
  • RNAissance Ag (St. Louis, MO) Safe, effective and environmentally sustainable insecticide for precision pest management. Noah Fahlgren, Ph.D., of the Danforth Center will serve as Principal Investigator.
  • SolGro (Arlington, Texas) Nanoparticle film designed to increase crop productivity through light conversion on greenhouses. Ru Zhang, Ph.D. and Jim Umen, Ph.D., of the Danforth Center will serve as Principal Investigators.  

Click here for more information.


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