Agri-tech startups MyGug and OptaHaul were announced as winners and have secured funding through AgTechUCD Innovation Centre’s second Agccelerator programme.

The two new businesses each received a €10,000 prize to drive their development and expansion in the Irish market and further afield.

They were pulled from a pool of 11 startups participating in the 12-week Agccelerator programme, which culminated in pitching before a judging panel at the UCD Lyons Estate farm.


Clonakilty-based MyGug was named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech startup 2023.

The company, founded by Kieran Coffey and Fiona Kelleher, has developed a micro-scale anaerobic digester that turns food waste into a green renewable energy source, suitable for homes, schools and small food businesses.

The egg-shaped MyGug digester system converts food waste into a natural gas suitable for cooking and a liquid fertiliser and can be used in gardens.

The automated system also produces data via an app and dashboard, which Coffey and Kelleher say is valuable to customers for supporting them to learn more about the efficacy of sustainability practices.

(L-R) Liam Phelan, agri-development manager, AIB; Fiona Kelleher, co-founder and COO, MyGug and David Bowles, managing partner, The Yield Lab. \ Nick Bradshaw

MyGug has been supported to date with funding from Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cork North and West and Enterprise Ireland.

Speaking about the company’s win, Kelleher described how “every year a third of food intended for human consumption is lost or wasted”.

“This food waste can be diverted from landfills and harnessed to create renewable energy.

“Our ambition at MyGug is to empower our customers to become agents of positive change by using our technology to create renewable energy from their food waste, in the form of natural gas suitable for cooking and a liquid fertiliser suitable for use in their gardens, all year round,” she said.

The startup co-founder said the MyGug digesters are currently being sold to Irish, UK and European customers and that the company is aiming to secure €1m in seed funding this year.


Mullingar-based OptaHaul was the Ornua AgTech One to Watch 2023 winner.

The company has developed the first route optimisation software for the dairy milk transportation industry, cutting journey times.

OptaHaul’s platform helps dairy processors, co-ops and milk lorry drivers to reduce transport costs, increase efficiency and remove vehicle greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) for farm-to-plant milk transport.

OptaHaul CEO and co-founder Gary Gallagher said that “milk logistics is both complex and costly, involving the collection of a perishable product from hundreds or thousands of farms and delivering it to multiple factories, which change often, 365 days per year”.

Gary Gallagher, co-founder at OptaHaul, and Eva Griffin, sustainability specialist at Ornua. \ Nick Bradshaw

“Until now, the industry has been largely neglected by the large technology vendors, as it is quite unique compared to traditional delivery logistics,” he said.

Gallagher said the platform addresses this challenge and described how it has secured customers in central Europe, Ireland and the US.

The startup is currently managing some 300,000 unique truck movements per year on the platform.

OptaHaul has been supported to date by LEO Westmeath and has recently achieved Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up status.

Marketplace visibility

Congratulating the two startup winners, AgTechUCD Innovation Centre director Niamh Collins said the Agccelerator programme will increase their marketplace visibility, attract new customers and investors and enable them to forge new partnerships.

The other startups that completed the programme in addition to MyGug and OptaHaul were Acregreen, Agricom, Biotec, Dairy Robotics, Farm Fayre, MILJO, RialtoLabs, Silicate and Well Spent Grain.

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