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Wells Fargo gives agtech startups a boost

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator has selected 5 early-stage companies for the program’s agtech cohort.

Each company participating in this invitation-only program will receive up to $ 250,000 in non-dilutive funding and hands-on technical assistance to further develop and validate their technologies with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the world’s largest independent plant science institute.

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, or IN2, launched in 2014 with a focus on supporting scalable solutions that improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. It expanded its charter in 2018 to advance the agriculture industry, which accounts for approximately 70% of the water and 14% of the energy usage worldwide.

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IN2 aims to speed the development and commercialisation of technologies that help the agriculture sector overcome barriers and costs of implementing sustainable farming solutions. - Photo: Jan Willem Schouten
IN2 aims to speed the development and commercialisation of technologies that help the agriculture sector overcome barriers and costs of implementing sustainable farming solutions. - Photo: Jan Willem Schouten

To help guide the selection process for the first agtech cohort, IN2 commissioned a white paper entitled “IN2 Food, Energy, Water Landscape” to determine where its impact would be most beneficial. Portfolio companies selected for IN2’s first agtech cohort are advancing technologies that focus on sustainable crop production and yield. They are:

  • Aker Technologies, Chicago, automated crop-scouting process that captures and analyses the presence and intensity of pests and pathogens below the crop canopy.
  • CoverCress, St. Louis, winter crop that covers soil during winter, protecting it from harsh conditions while producing a low-carbon intensity crop for renewable fuel and food.
  • Intrinsyx Bio, Los Altos, Calif., plant probiotics that increase crop yield, reduce excess fertilizer and improve soil and water conditions.
  • RNAIssance Ag, St. Louis, safe, effective and environmentally sustainable insecticide for precision pest management.
  • SolGro, Arlington, Texas, nanoparticle film designed to increase crop productivity through light conversion on greenhouses.

30 cleantech and agtech startups

With the addition of these 5 companies, IN2 brings its total portfolio count to 30 cleantech and agtech startups. Since joining the IN2 program, portfolio companies have raised $ 142 million from external follow-on funding — on average, more than $ 20 for every $ 1 awarded by IN2.

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