MagGrow and MooCall selected for Alltech’s agri-tech accelerator

Company teams up with Dogpatch Labs to hold 15-week mentorship programme


Two Irish firms are among 10 start-ups that have been selected from more than 180 applicants for an agritech accelerator to be run by Alltech and Dogpatch Labs.

The successful applicants, who hail from Ireland, Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Indonesia, the US and UK, will take part in a 15-week mentorship programme for agri-business innovators that are ready for market.

The brainchild of Alltech founder and president Dr Pearse Lyons, who established the US-based animal health company in 1980, the programme will see applicants working with the firm and Dogpatch Labs to accelerate their business development.

A total of 183 start-ups from 38 countries across six continents applied for the accelerator with applicants working in a wide range of areas, including automated irrigation, virtual reality, drones, blockchain and wearables.

The programme was open to start-ups that have already raised funding, are ready to go to market and are looking for assistance in areas such as which segments to focus on.

Participants will receive access to Dr Lyons and other senior executives of Alltech, which has a presence in 129 countries. They will also receive free space for three months in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin’s Docklands, a €15,000 cash fund and mentoring in a number of areas including strategy and international expansion. Start-ups will also be able to avail of software perks worth more than €300,000 from companies such as Google and Facebook.

The Pearse Lyons Global Agritech Accelerator will culminate with the companies pitching on stage at the Alltech Ideas conference in Lexington, Kentucky in May where more than 3,000 attendees from 80 countries will converge.

Selected firms

Among the firms selected for the programme are MagCrow, a Dublin-based spinout from UCD which has pioneered a magnetic spraying system that reduces spray drift by more than 80 per cent. MooCall, another Dublin-based start-up that has developed a wearable device which alerts farmers when a cow is going to give birth, has also been chosen for the accelerator.

“I envisaged maybe 100 companies applying but we ended up with nearly 200 start-ups, which was fantastic. The fact we are holding the accelerator in Ireland with the Dogpatch crew was very attractive to companies, who see Dublin as a tech hub,” Aidan Connolly, chief information officer at Alltech told The Irish Times.

“The successful applicants have all raised at least €3 million each and are all close to market. They want access to our footprint, our market knowledge and our contacts. We have a very strong network of people we can bring in who may be potential customers, distributors and even investors in these start-ups,” he said.

Mr Connolly said the agricultural sector was starting to see serious disruption from new technologies as agritech investment soars, with €9.65 billion invested in start-ups working in the space since 2013.

“We’re seeing a complete revolution in the way things will be done in agriculture with the way we farm set to undergo major changes,” he said.