A $2 million grant will support a new program designed to get more agricultural startups to market. The "Ag-celerator" is a partnership between the Purdue University College of Agriculture and Purdue Research Foundation that looks to push past the so-called "Valley of Death" that often exists between research and commercialization. The program, which involves supporting innovators in fields such as crop optimization, seed development and precision agriculture, will also create two entrepreneur-in-residence positions in the Purdue Foundry.
Selected startups could receive up to $100,000 of support at the discretion of an investment committee. The funds can be put toward "critical, commercially relevant development to improve the probability of attracting follow-on funding."
Purdue says startups through this pipeline will face an evaluation for market potential, operational viability and leadership team. Teams will be selected by a committee made up of College of Agriculture, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization and Purdue Foundry leaders. Those that are selected will go through the Foundry’s LaunchBox startup program, which will work with its new entrepreneurs-in-residence.
Innovators will develop executive summaries, a pitch deck and a business plan.
Plaut says "as Indiana’s land-grant university, an important part of Purdue’s mission is to move innovations to the public where they can help people. The Ag-celerator program is designed to do that by providing critical startup funding and practical advice that will support the commercialization of Purdue technologies in the plant sciences area."
Senior Associate Dean For Research and Faculty Affairs Karen Plaut says it will help innovators “develop a mindset” to help others see the value in their technology.