The announcement brings the number of SparkLabs Cultiv8 fund’s investments to 36. These companies are now worth a total value in excess of A$400 million and have raised over A$100m from global venture, corporate, strategic and private investors. SparkLabs Cultiv8 invests in exciting early-stage companies globally that have the potential to shift the dial in Australian Agriculture and Food production. To date, 50% of investments have been in Australian start-ups and the remainder are from all corners of the world.
After recently being named the 8th most active Ag and Food Technology Accelerator Globally from AgFunder, SparkLabs Cultiv8 has announced the ten businesses set to receive almost $1 million in funding on their path to revolutionising the global agriculture industry.
Investments include a CSIRO project where a specific seaweed is fed to livestock to reduce their methane production, a consumer app with an intention to enhance consumer decision making, contributing to better outcomes for the planet, a company making honey without bees, a packaging technology that reduces single use plastic in our supply chains and some strong consumer facing food products with health benefits.
Besides seed funding of up to $100,000 and SparkLabs resourcing, each company is set to benefit from the growing network of SparkLabs Cultiv8 and The GATE (Global Ag-Tech Ecosystem). This program kicked off this week and will Showcase in late October.
SparkLabs Cultiv8 partner, Jonathon Quigley, says ‘It’s an incredibly exciting industry to be supporting right now. We have been positively overwhelmed by the calibre of businesses presented for consideration to this year’s cohort. Applicants were spread far and wide across the globe and the level of sophistication of these early-stage Ag and Food-Tech startups, solving issues facing our food production systems was extraordinary’.
The 10 teams have come from all over the world with an intention to gain knowledge from the Australian producers and intend to expand in the Southern Hemisphere. They are –
- Agriforte – is tackling chemical resistance issues facing production systems across the globe. Agriforte is an innovative biopesticide, which uses a lactic acid and probiotic bacterial species. Agriforte reduces pests and removes pesticides using an organic, innovative and safe mechanism to protect against larvae and adult insects by forming a protective, invisible, and edible biofilm over the plant.
- Dr Glitter Health – Dr Glitter™ is an Australian healthcare brand founded by China-based actress Augusta Xu-Holland and Melbourne-based entrepreneur Jade Diep. The core product uses a prebiotic soluble fibre to create a new category of health supplements that look like edible glitter, designed to be sprinkled on top of healthy foods and drinks.
- Future Feed – developed by industry leaders CSIRO, MLA and James Cook University (JCU), Future Feed is fighting climate change and producing more food with fewer resources. Future Feed are the global IP holder of Asparagopsis seaweed as a feed ration for use in reducing methane ruminant livestock, notably cattle.
- Greener – an app that helps people repair the planet with every dollar they spend by helping consumers find trusted green brands for everything they buy, understand the impact of their purchases in simple terms and suggests greener alternatives for next time. ‘When you spend with a Greener brand, we remove all the emissions of the purchase at no cost to the user’.
- Health Food Symmetry (HFS) – is restoring the human gut microbiome through their patented technology derived from whole plant, virgin sugarcane prebiotic fibre. HFS researches and manufactures nutraceuticals (prebiotics & synbiotics) from sugarcane with a clear focus on “food as medicine” with the flagship product, KfibreTM – a natural, un-purified prebiotic containing active phytonutrients and used for gut health management, digestive normalisation, regularity, occasional dietary indigestion & bloat, microbiome support.
- Melibio – is making real honey without bees, through a proprietary technology based on synthetic biology, precision fermentation, and plant science that replaces honeybees as a medium for honey production. With sustainability and biodiversity in mind, the core technology has wide applications for the future of sustainable food.
- Nano-Soils – is using the latest in medical nano technology, nano soils have devised a way to improve the delivery of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture. Initially targeting broadacre cropping, nano particle delivery has the potential to improve profitability and sustainability by reduce active ingredient required by a factor of 10 and reduce residues, a key industry target for any plant growth production system.
- Salicrop – salinity is a major issue in many parts of the world and Australia is no exception. Salicrop overcomes the impact of salinity in broadacre farming utilising a unique wet chemistry process that stimulates an ‘Epi-Genetic’ reaction to salinity conditions at seed stages, enabling seeds treated to this process to grow well in high salinity situations.
- Shandi – has developed plant-based proteins which overcome the key barriers of existing plant-based proteins in the market. These are high price, lack of flavour and low nutritional value. Their product is affordable, nutritious and cooks and tastes just like meat. Located in Singapore this team looks to help everyone reduce meat consumption without compromising taste and nutrition.
- StenCo LLC – every single year there is over 300 million tons of plastic produced and remnants of this finds its way to our ocean floors. StenCo is remedying this with a breathable biodegradable coating system that is set to revolutionise the packaging industry. Targeting the food industry and with market traction in place, this ingenious system’s IP is currently being rolled out to customers.
‘This year’s cohort is one of the most diverse and exciting groups. We are looking forward to getting their solutions in the hands of Australian growers and consumers as they have enormous potential to shift the dial in agriculture and sustainability here and abroad’ says Graham Bougen, Program Director for SparkLabs Cultiv8.