Accelerating prospects for Irish agri-tech start-ups

Moocall chief executive Emmet Savage
Moocall chief executive Emmet Savage
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Animal health and feed giant Alltech is calling on agri-tech start-ups who are looking to go global to apply for the three-month Pearse Lyons Accelerator programme.

The three-month programme will be hosted in Ireland's leading start-up hub, Dogpatch Labs Ireland, in Dublin and conclude on the main-stage at the Alltech Ideas conference in May 2018, in Kentucky, where start-ups will get the opportunity to present their businesses to more than 4,000 attendees.

The programme will give start-ups the opportunity to work with Louth-born founder of Alltech, Dr Pearse Lyons, and other senior management members.

Last year's start-ups collectively added $50m in new qualified sales leads across 28 international markets by the end of the accelerator. Dublin-based calving sensory company, Moocall were among the 10 firms to take part in the ­inaugural accelerator last year.

Moocall CEO Emmet Savage told the Farming Independent that the ­accelerator has helped the start-up, which was founded in 2015, to sell 30,000 of its products worldwide and launch a new heat-detection device due out in January 2018.

"We've now gone global and are in 55 countries. The major take-away we got from the accelerator is that it allowed us to reach a global distribution. During the conference in Kentucky you get to pitch your business for three to four minutes and meet fantastic, like-minded people," he said.

Dogpatch Labs Managing Director Patrick Walsh pointed out that the accelerator is particularly fitted to companies who are looking to go global. "The companies that did well last year were the ones that were looking to increase their international reach and scale out," he said.

"If you're looking for a way to reach farmers in markets like the US or China, then the accelerator is your vehicle to do so."

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From working closely with the companies last year, Mr Walsh says that the Irish agri-tech firms equally measured up to the international ones. "I'm not just saying that because I'm from here either. There's such a long history of agriculture in us, when you think of Alltech and other firms like Kerry Group and Glanbia, it's obvious that we have that industry knowledge ingrained in us."

The deadline for applications to The Pearse Lyons Accelerator programme will close on December 22.

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