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Farmers2Founders set to scale 40 Queensland agtechs in two years

Updated: May 14

MEDIA RELEASE 


Farmers2Founders expands support to Queensland’s agtech landscape with the launch of its first state-based accelerators


Brisbane, Australia: Queensland's local agriculture sector is set to receive a significant innovation boost, with Farmers2Founders launching its first state-based accelerator programs, in partnership with the Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund (VCDF), managed by Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).


Farmers2Founders was one of five accelerator programs to recently receive funding from the VCDF, in an attempt to drive innovation across the state. As the only agtech specialist involved in the VCDF project, the initiative provides Farmers2Founders with a significant opportunity to unearth and support a new cohort of exceptional and sustainable agriculture and food technology ventures.


As the largest agrifood pathway in Australia, Farmers2Founders has established itself as a pivotal player in Queensland's agtech ecosystem, with an operational presence of eight staff members as well as strong partnerships with local startups and key industry stakeholders.


"As the sole agtech accelerator provider involved in the VCDF project, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the remarkable Queensland agtech sector," said Duncan Ferguson, Head of Venture Growth and Investment at Farmers2Founders. “Our presence in Queensland extends beyond our operational support; we are deeply ingrained in the local agriculture and food technology community. This funding ensures that we can continue to drive meaningful impact and sustainable growth in the Queensland agriculture industry. We are delighted to be able to expand further in the state and support the scaling of 40 local agtech companies.” 


The VCDF funding will enable Farmers2Founders to deliver its flagship pre-accelerator program for early-stage founders and established agtech startups, as well as its accelerator program designed for Pre-seed or Series A Australian agtech businesses with high potential for scalability and global expansion. The high-quality programming focuses on product development, customer engagement, business and team modelling, and investment readiness, tailored to the different stages of growth.


As part of the project, Farmers2Founders will roll out a Queensland pre-accelerator program and accelerator program each year in 2024 and 2025. Each program will include a cohort of 10 participants, equating to a total of 40 participants at the conclusion of the two year project. The 2024 pre-accelerator is set to commence in June, and the accelerator in July. 



The VCDF, managed by QIC, is further bolstered by the engagement and funding of five leading venture capital firms who have also received funding to inject and invest in participants from the selected accelerator programs. This will allow for Farmers2Founders participants to not only gain greater access to investment opportunities, but also the freedom to choose the most suitable partnerships for their ventures.


As the world's population grows there is increasing pressure on the agriculture sector to produce safe, high quality food in production systems that are climate smart, transparent and sustainable. Farmers2Founders, deeply understands these unique challenges and nuances of the sector and how this affects the trajectory of tech startups working across agriculture and food.


Farmers2Founders believes that embracing a multitude of perspectives is crucial for the evolution and prosperity of the sector and is firmly committed to amplifying diversity and inclusion across all aspects of the business. As a female-founded company, Farmers2Founders is particularly dedicated to supporting and championing female founders in the agtech space, recognising the critical role pathway support plays in their success and is also pivotal to the wider success and impact of the industry.


In response to this evolving and diverse demands of the industry, Farmers2Founders has created its pathway to specifically support this, designed to meet the individual needs of each founder at whatever stage they are at. "The startup journey in the agtech sector is a unique niche. As industry experts, we see the adoption of technology presenting significant opportunities for Australian agriculture. We understand that a producer-centric approach is essential for driving innovation and sustainability in agriculture and food. That's why we put producers at the core of our efforts,” states Ferguson.


“The VCDF program is funding the delivery of our pre-accelerators and accelerators, and local founders have the opportunity to participate if it’s the right fit. But our services and support goes beyond this as we don’t fit founders into our model; we adapt to fuel their success. This means the individual needs of each agtech drives our approach, our pathway supports their journey, at whatever stage they are at, with customised solutions.”


With over five years of operation, Farmers2Founders has supported 250+ startups and scaleups nationwide. Of those, 45 agtech pathway participants have hailed from Queensland, including Cloncurry-based, Luke Chaplain founder of SkyKelpie and Brisbane-based, Carina Steinbakk, founder of Aevi Tech. 


“I had no idea that my classroom daydream and fun paddock experiment would turn me into an entrepreneur, and create an agtech product that will now see me pitch at BEEF Week. SkyKelpie may have started as a curious idea in my head, but my start-up journey really began for me at Farmers2Founders,” states Luke Chaplain, founder of SkyKelpie. “Throughout the whole process I’ve been supported by the team at Farmers2Founders and I continue to benefit immensely from their pathway and programs. The VCDF program is an exciting opportunity for our industry and I encourage fellow Queensland agtechs to take advantage of the Farmers2Founders support.” 



“As a female founder and entrepreneur, with no previous agtech experience, the start of my business journey with Aevi Tech was daunting. Finding Farmers2Founders was crucial in gaining the support I needed to grow and succeed in farm biosecurity with CertMate, as well as empower me as a female entrepreneur to confidently contribute to the agtech sector,” said Carina Steinbakk, founder of Aevi Tech. “We need more female founders in the industry, and Farmers2Founders is the perfect example and partner to achieve this.”


Farmers2Founders has further bolstered its support to Queensland's regional communities and agtech innovators with its sponsorship of the GrainGrowers Innovation Generation 2024 event and culminates at evokeAG in Brisbane in February 2025.


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EDITOR NOTES 


About Farmers2Founders 


Farmers2Founders is a startup pathway, made specifically for agtech. Its mission is to accelerate the development, commercialisation and adoption of agtech solutions that deliver real industry impact. 


For media enquiries, please contact Anna Laskaris, anna@acreagency.com.au or Emma Williams, emma@acreagency.com.au


Additional stakeholder commentary -  Mandalay Venture Partners

Of particular note to Farmers2Founders, industry partner Mandalay Venture Partners (MVP) is one of the venture capital involved in the VCDF project.


“At Mandalay, we are deeply passionate about early stage agrifood innovation and are on a bigger mission to contribute to global food security and sustainability.” said Philippe Ceulen, Partner at Mandalay Venture Partners. “As a Brisbane-based company, we are thrilled to be part of the VCDF program and support the scaling of local ventures. With Queensland doubling down its efforts and focus on fit-for-purpose programs and funds, agrifood innovation is getting the attention it deserves. We are extremely excited to show the world the opportunities in agrifood tech, the companies creating real impact, pushing innovation and working with farmers to feed the world.


“Our strong synergies with Farmers2Founders has us particularly enthusiastic about the large cohort of technology ventures working across agriculture and food that will be involved in the program. We look forward to engaging with all the participants over the course of the project.”

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