Nine start-up companies have been selected to take part in University College Dublin’s new accelerator programme dedicated to early-stage ag-tech and food-tech start-up companies.

The inaugural AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, which commenced on Tuesday, is an intensive 12-week virtual programme, which includes dedicated business development workshops and investor readiness training, mentoring, guest speakers and facilitated introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angle networks.

Participating start-ups are based in Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Roscommon and Westmeath, in addition to Northern Ireland and Tunisia.

Director of enterprise and commercialisation at NovaUCD Tom Flanagan said: "We are delighted with the calibre and global potential of the start-ups selected to participate in the inaugural AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme.

"The programme received applications from all across Ireland, and indeed from all around the world."

AgTechUCD, based at UCD Lyons Farm and part of NovaUCD, is focused on accelerating the launch and scaling of ag-tech and food-tech start-ups in Ireland.


The participating start-ups in the 2021 AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme are:

Cotter Agritech is developing the Cotter Crate, a novel sheep handling and monitoring system to transform how sheep farmers care for their animals. The Cotter Crate combines hardware, which addresses animal handling and labour issues, with novel software that addresses anthelmintic (or wormer) resistance. The founders of Cotter Agritech, based in Limerick, are brothers Jack and Nick Cotter.

CropHound uses remote sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor crop health, growing conditions and crop potential from planting to harvest giving early insights and recommendations to users. The founder of CropHound, based in Belfast, is Mark Elliott.

FodderBox has developed and built a fully-fitted, self-contained, computer-controlled fodder production system that arrives on-site, ready to plug and play. The system produces one tonne of fresh premium fodder per day in pure water. The founder of FodderBox, based in Cork, is Ella Goddin.

FreshGraze has developed a robotic moving fence and management system which portions out new pasture to grazing animals as they require it. The founders of Freshgraze, based in Co Westmeath, are Thomas Drumm and his sons Charlie and James.

Izario has developed an autonomous poultry robot that operates in broiler-breeder and commercial egg-laying hen houses. Using custom built proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision software, the robot detects eggs laid on the floor by birds and retrieves them reducing labour inputs. The founders of Izario, based in Galway, are Raymond Heneghan and Stepan Dzhanov.

Niskus BioTec is focused on the provision of innovative products and services to the agri-food and biotech sectors in fungal large-scale solid-state fermentation. The company works with customers to select the most suitable fungal strains for their process and growing media and to develop and scale-up new fungal derived high-value products such as proteins, enzymes and intermediates. The founder of Niskus BioTec, based in Donegal, is Vincent Farrelly.

Positive Carbon is developing food waste monitoring technology for the food service industry. This will enable food service providers to establish where they are wasting food and assist them in making informed food purchasing, preparation and production decisions, helping them to reduce food bills and food waste and reach sustainability goals. The founders of Positive Carbon, based in Roscommon, are Aisling Kirwan and Mark Kirwan.

ProvEye, a spin-out from the UCD school of biosystems and food engineering, provides advanced processing software to derive quantitative data from images, collected by drones and other platforms, at high levels of accuracy, which can be used to create actionable management decisions in agriculture and other industries. The founders of ProvEye, based in Dublin, are Dr Jerome O’Connell and Dr Nick Holden.

SmartBeeKeeper is developing SmartBee, a cutting-edge hardware and software platform to enable beekeepers monitor and track their beehives. SmartBeeKeeper also provides access to a luxury and traceable honey marketplace. The founder of SmartBeeKeeper, based in Tunisia, is Khaled Bouchoucha.