What are the goals of the Yield Lab Startup Accelerator?
The Yield Lab’s mission is to sustainably increase the world’s food supply or reduce inputs from farm to fork. We believe that innovation and investment in agriculture technology will play a vital role in securing a more food secure future and reaching the necessity to feed a population expected to reach over 9 billion by the year 2050.
Why was the Yield Lab Accelerator Created?
After seeing more and more deal flow within the agriculture sector, several key players within the agriculture industry decided that St. Louis was the perfect place for an agriculture technology accelerator. Thad Simons, former CEO of NOVUS International, and Cultivation Capital joined forces to create the Yield Lab. St. Louis is an ideal space for an AgTech accelerator with a strong network that includes international agribusiness, plant sciences, animal health/nutrition, and farmers all located in America’s heartland.
What is the relationship between the Yield Lab and Cultivation Capital?
Cultivation Capital is a large St. Louis Venture Capital firm investing in information technology and life sciences. The Yield Lab is an independent venture capital fund contracting Cultivation Capital for back office support, such as: deal flow, due diligence, finance/accounting, legal and program management and event set up.
Cultivation Capital is closely aligned with Yield Lab operations, which provide a great source of quality deal flow and a front row seat to the development of Yield Lab portfolio companies. Companies in the Yield Lab portfolio have the opportunity to speak with the Principals and Partners of the larger Cultivation Capital investment funds. Some companies have syndicated with the Yield Lab or been a lead investor in future rounds of Yield Lab Portfolio Companies.
How Does the Yield Lab Accelerator Work?
The Yield Lab runs a nine-month program that supports emerging AgTech companies with up to $100,000 in funding, an Agriculture (Ag) specific curriculum, one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities all focused on customers, collaborators and investors. The Yield Lab is supported by a solid framework of agriculturally focused individuals, organizations, and businesses in the St. Louis area.
The Yield Lab runs programming on a month-by-month basis. This allows for Yield lab Managing Directors and staff to provided tailored programming to each portfolio companies evolving needs. These needs are determined by monthly portfolio surveys and Yield Lab internal meetings to discuss portfolio development.
The Yield Lab had over 85 network mentors participate in programming in 2016. These network mentors include but are not limited to: venture capitalists, industry professionals, business strategists, experienced entrepreneurs and more.
What Types of Companies does the Yield Lab look for?
The Yield Lab invests in companies that sustainably increase the world food supply or reduce the number of inputs from farm to fork.
We invest in companies with a management team and a minimum viable product. More importantly, the company size is not as impactful to investment as the Yield Lab being able to provide value to each company’s business development.
The company should:
Commercial ready/Business to Business product or technology
Focus on sustainably increasing yields
Focus on reducing inputs in the production chain
Be a legal entity
What can Companies Expect from the Yield Lab Accelerator?
$100,000 in funding
Extensive hands-on training and mentoring matched to industry and company stage
Curriculum designed specifically for agriculture technology startups to help them scale their businesses and raise follow-on capital
Instructors who are leaders in their fields of technology, marketing, management and others.
No need to relocate the company. All company CEOs/founders commit to being in St. Louis for the monthly programming that takes place over the nine-month period.
Exposure to the strong St. Louis network of ag experts from big agribusiness to small farmers and possible capital sources
The Yield lab taking a negotiable financial stake via company equity or convertible note.
Be comfortable with board observer rights for a Yield Lab Managing Director.
What other Funding Resources are Available to the Accelerator
Our portfolio companies are encouraged to seek additional sources of funding throughout the nine-month cohort with the Yield Lab. Although the Yield Lab may provide additional financing, we provide access to a strong affinity network of leaders in the agriculture industry and venture capital investors.
Are Accelerator Participants Required to Move to St Louis?
There is no need to relocate the company. All company CEOs/founders commit to being in St. Louis for the two-day monthly programming that takes place over the nine-month period.
The Yield Lab Galway based portfolio companies will be expected to come to St. Louis one month in the summer to leverage the agriculture resources available in North America.
Are Housing Options Available for Visiting CEOs/Companies participating in the program?
Yes. There are a variety of hotels that have negotiated favorable rates for our companies.
Does the Yield Lab Accelerator Accept Applicants from Outside the USA?
Yes. Our portfolio in the past has included international companies. Food security is a global problem and we believe that it will take innovative thinking from all across the world to address food security issues in the coming years.
The Yield Lab also has an international location in Galway, Ireland that will run an accelerator program similar to the St. Louis program. Galway and St. Louis will also act as beachheads for respective companies seeking to access alternative sources of capital or new markets.
What Types of Companies Apply to the Yield Lab Startup Accelerator?
Our past applicant pool included a range of technologies within the agriculture sector. We had companies apply from a number of disciplines within the AgTech space and will contemplate investment, in any company that fits our mission statement. Our cohort currently includes companies within clean tech/ renewables, agriculture data, and crop production and precision agriculture and animal health/nutrition.
Where are Applications Available?
Applications for the 2017 Portfolio will open on September 1 and close October 16.
Please contact Matt Plummer, Principal at firstname.lastname@example.org