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Cultivo Global Ag selects Australia as country for inaugural cohort

Australia will be the first country to participate in its Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program, Cultivation Corridor announced yesterday.

Cultivation Corridor first announced the launch of the 10-day immersion program for international startups and entrepreneurs last October. The new program will bring international startups to Iowa for 10 days of experience, training and networking. The program will provide opportunities for accepted startups to learn from and connect with Iowa’s agricultural research and business leadership throughout the 10-day program.

The accepted Australian startups will be introduced to the startup community and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iowa, as well as to U.S. financial system and regulatory programs.

“Australia is the perfect fit for the first cohort of the Cultivo program because of the country’s strong ecosystem for developing and bringing new agricultural technologies to market,” said Judd O’Connor, Chair of the board of directors for America’s Cultivation Corridor, in an announcement. “Connecting startups with Iowa’s world-renowned researchers, industry leaders and farmers will better build and enable opportunities to introduce new technologies and services to benefit the world’s farmers and consumers.”

They will visit Iowa State University to engage with top faculty at ISU Research Park and ISU BioCentury Research Farm.

The cohort will run May 11-20 and will conclude with opportunities to meet one-on-one with U.S. investors and present their business to the investors that are part of the Cultivo program. The names of the participating companies will be announced at a later date.

Previous coverage

Cultivation Corridor launches Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program -Oct. 18, 2019

Cultivo Global Ag selects Australia as country for inaugural cohort | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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