Bayer, DuPont to collaborate on agricultural technology startups

by Leah Sosland
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Agriculture technology
Radicle is an accelerator aimed at advancing early stage agricultural technology startups.

SAN FRANCISCO — An alliance of top ag industry leaders, including Bayer, DuPont and OurCrowd, an Israeli equity crowdfunding platform, are joining forces with AgTech venture capital firm Finistere Ventures and Cloud Break Advisors. The investors, advisers, and triumvirate officially founded and launched Radicle, an accelerator aimed at advancing early stage agricultural technology startups. By incubating leading AgTech companies, Radicle works to reduce the time required to develop, market and commercialize the latest ag technologies that may solve global farming dilemmas.

Neal Gutterson, DuPont
Neal Gutterson, vice-president of research and development at DuPont Pioneer

“DuPont Pioneer continually scouts the innovation frontier for novel ways to improve agricultural productivity and seeks to collaborate with those on the cutting edge of science,” said Neal Gutterson, vice-president of research and development at DuPont Pioneer. “Radicle’s virtual accelerator operating model and investing approach is expected to help Pioneer achieve these objectives.”

Radicle will focus on challenges to productivity, sustainability and quality that growers face. Areas of focus include technology fields such as genomics and plant sciences, seed tech, biologicals for crop protection and regulation, digital ag (application of data and predictive analytics to precision ag), and disruptive farm systems.

Geoff Kneen, Bayer
Geoff Kneen, manager of R.&D. licensing and new ventures for North America at Bayer

“Investing in the Radicle accelerator fits perfectly with Bayer’s global investment strategy,” said Geoff Kneen, manager of R.&D. licensing and new ventures for North America at Bayer. “It complements our VC partnership with Finistere, which can support earlier stage venture in the United States with a global pipeline. The deep AgTech knowledge and experience of the management team and investor partners will be able to provide strong guidance to the start-up companies.”

The Radicle accelerator fund provides:

•Expert advisory services and strategic mentorship from a wide network of ag experts and proven entrepreneurs;

•Access to key leaders and corporate relationships across a range of ag focus areas;

•Connections with top academic institutions, including Texas A&M, University of California, University of Missouri, University of Queensland, and the University of Wisconsin Madison;

•Strong industry collaboration with ag leaders such as Bayer and DuPont Pioneer;

•A network of participating public and private research institutes, including Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, BSES, CSIRO, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Landcare Research;

•Follow-on financing round options from the founding investors and their networks once companies “graduate” from the accelerator; and

•A service platform with an intense focus on value creation initiatives and exit planning guidance from the start.

David Stark, OurCrowd
David Stark, general partner at OurCrowd

"Forced  to overcome the challenge of making the desert bloom, Israel has a long history of agricultural innovation and today is home to a multitude of world-class AgTech startups,” said David Stark, general partner at OurCrowd. “We are excited to work with our partners at Radicle to bring to market solutions that address the greatest challenges that will face farmers over the next half century and to open these investment opportunities to our global network of investors via our online platform."

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