Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Cultivo Virtual Academy announces 6 startups in second cohort

America’s Cultivation Corridor has announced the six international startups that will participate in the second cohort of Cultivo Virtual Academy.

The six-week virtual program will provide participants with mentorship, interaction with Iowa’s agricultural leaders, and an online curriculum focused on U.S. market entry, regulatory and financing systems, and customer perspectives.

The program will launch on Oct. 12 with sessions facilitated by Iowa business and university leaders.

“The strong group of international startups in the second cohort of Cultivo Virtual Academy builds on the success of the inaugural cohort earlier this year,” said Billi Hunt, executive director of America’s Cultivation Corridor in a release. “The world-class speakers, networking opportunities and connections they will make through this program will help them more successfully navigate their entry into the U.S. marketplace.”

The inaugural cohort of the Cultivo program was held in spring 2021 with six companies completing the program.

“We look forward to connecting these innovators with Iowa’s business leaders, researchers and forward-thinking farmers and livestock producers throughout the six-week Cultivo Virtual Academy program,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority. “The insights they gain and relationships they form will provide a solid foundation as they look to advance their market penetration in the United States.”  

The six companies participating in this year’s cohort are:

Biolevel (United Kingdom)

Biolevel produces tailored microbial products that improve the health of soil while stimulating plant growth and allowing farmers to reduce bulk fertilizer application.

Biotecland (Brazil)

Biotecland uses applied microbiology, especially microalgae, to increase productivity, reduce costs and environmental impact in agriculture.

Futuro Farming GmbH (Germany)

Futuro Farming GmbH has developed a patented sensor system for calf pens that can monitor calf behavior and serve as an early warning system for health issues or disease outbreaks.

GramworkX (India)

GramworkX provides a smart farm resource management tool that helps farmers guide, optimize and monitor use of water in irrigation systems.

Reazent (Canada)

Reazent has developed organic alternatives to protect plants from pests and disease.

Tottori Resource Recycling (Japan)

Tottori Resource Recycling uses a recycled glass product as a soil additive to reduce fertilizer and water needs and increase productivity.

Cultivo Virtual Academy announces 6 startups in second 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now