Agri-food tech accelerator SparkLabs Cultiv8 turns its attention to cleantech startups in a new program to fund and develop them.
The SparkLabs Cultiv8 CleanTech Accelerator has selected 10 startups for its first cohort, supported by Malcolm Nutt and Jonathon Quigley’s VC fund Cultiv8 Funds Management.
Since its launch in 2017, the SparkLabs accelerator program has supported and mentored 50 agritech startups, now collectively worth $1.6 billion, who have collectively raised more than $500 million.
Malcolm Nutt said adding cleantech to the portfolio made sense as Australia faces increasing pressures from climate change.
“Australia should be recognized globally as a leader in this field – the Australian Agri-Food Tech scene has an exceptional track record of innovation and more is happening,” he said.
“Agriculture is essential to any conversation on climate change, we are delighted to contribute through innovation and partnerships with Australia’s leading research firms.”
Nutt adds that from a policy perspective, investors should also consider these kinds of issues, both from the perspective of their own ESG commitments and the broader trends in global policy around carbon and climate, as well as food security.
“Two examples are Australia’s carbon target – 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 – and Singapore’s policy target of growing 30% of their food domestically by 2030. Australian agricultural exporters must meet European carbon standards in order to participate in those markets. ,” he said.
Jonathon Quigley said they saw an opportunity to showcase the innovation in NSW and Australia and support the startups involved in the commercialization.
“This year’s participants focus on areas such as biodiversity, resource efficiency and renewable energy, and we are excited to partner with these companies that will contribute to a more sustainable planet,” he said.
“Over the last 10 years, local agri-food technology investments have jumped from $3 billion to more than $50 billion, so there is a huge tidal wave in this direction.”
The new six-month cleantech program will be run from SparkLabs Cultiv8’s base on The gateat the Orange Agricultural Institute.
The startups in the cohort are:
- AusBioEnergy is a closed loop production system to produce competitively priced, scalable and sustainable bio-methanol.
- Blue carbon S2C focuses on developing and financing blue, blue-green and green carbon projects that help restore large-scale nature-based ecosystems.
- Carbonic acid provides organic fertilizer derived from enhanced rock weathering to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Clean up Eyre Global is a land-based Asparagopsis seaweed production company dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of ruminant nutritional supplements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- DownForce technology provides a new platform for accurate and efficient calculation of natural capital and ecosystem services, empowering farmers and land managers.
- ExoFlare has developed a platform for the food and agriculture industry to evaluate and manage biosecurity risks in real-time while complying with reporting standards.
- Nanosoils uses silica nanoparticles to deliver agrochemicals directly to plants, reducing pesticide residues in the environment.
- pack mom reinvented the wine bottle to make it more climate-friendly. Savings in space, weight and energy mean better bottles that reduce carbon emissions in the supply chain.
- Ten carbon chemistry has developed unique antimicrobial agents that are tested on fresh produce to extend shelf life; on packaging to improve safety and reduce emissions, as well as other applications in the industrial, agricultural and hygiene industries.
- Wollemi has developed a platform that automates scenario analysis and climate vulnerability assessment, enabling the seamless integration of climate risk into decision making. Their technology quantifies and reports climate risks for land and agricultural assets, from asset to portfolio level.
The program is also supported by the Department of Primary Industries, Meat and Livestock Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Agriculture Innovation Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Hort Innovation and Science and Technology Australia.