One of only five agtech companies selected for the IN2 program, Aker will receive up to $250,000 in technical support from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
St., Louis, MO (May 14, 2019) — The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), today announced that Aker Technologies Inc. has been selected as one of five companies nationally to participate in the incubator’s first agtech cohort — the program’s fifth cohort overall. Aker Technologies Inc., a Midwest company advancing crop diagnostics, was selected for its innovations in developing technologies that help produce food more sustainably.
In selecting Aker for the inaugural agtech cohort, IN2’s goal is to advance technologies that can reduce agriculture’s carbon, energy and water impact, which collectively account for as much as 70 percent of water and 14 percent of energy usage worldwide. As a benefit of participation in the program, Aker will receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to test, validate and advance its technologies with experts at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (Danforth Center), the world’s largest independent plant science institute.
“At Aker, we have a strong engineering and software background to enable technology that collects in-season, in-field information at the earliest manifestation of crop stress on a large scale. Our mission is to efficiently serve grower needs,” said Orlando Saez, CEO and co-founder of Aker. “Working with the Danforth Center is a great honor. Their intellectual capital and facilities will greatly accelerate the validation and agronomic impact of our technology for improved crop management outcomes and improve the environmental impact of farming.”
Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings, IN2 expanded its focus in 2018 to advance innovations in agtech, or the application of software and hardware technology to farming. In launching this first agriculture cohort, IN2 seeks to help the agricultural sector overcome the substantial challenges, barriers and costs of implementing new technologies and to speed their paths to market.
“Wells Fargo is excited to be supporting and nurturing innovations that will ultimately lead to more sustainable and productive agriculture,” said Ramsay Huntley, Clean Technology and Innovation Philanthropy program officer for Wells Fargo. “As one of the largest lenders to the agriculture and agricultural technology sectors, Wells Fargo will bring its expertise to the table in de-risking these early-stage startups and help move them to the next level.”
“The companies involved with IN2 might be small, but they’re solving big problems,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL. “Aker was an extremely strong applicant, and we cannot wait to see the strides they make by being a part of our program.”
“The Danforth Center has been a driver in the growth of agriculture innovation for 20 years,” said Claire Kinlaw, director of Innovation Commercialization at the Danforth Center. “We look forward to leveraging the IN2 model and working with these early-stage companies to accelerate their technologies to commercialization.”
For a complete list of IN2 portfolio companies, visit in2ecosystem.com.
About Aker Technologies Inc.
Aker helps growers drive higher crop yields to maximize profitable and sustainable in-season decisions. Aker advances crop diagnostics with patented technology that automates the process of “crop scouting” by detecting disease, pests, crop damage and other environmental stresses UNDER the crop canopy, at scale. Aker offers county and local, pest and pathogen alert data and map services through subscription and in-field crop scouting services on demand. All data is real observed geo-referenced data, not inferred or approximated by current crop models. For more information, visit www.aker.ag.
About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a $30 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN2 expanded its focus in 2018 to advance technologies that address the interconnection of food, energy, and water. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding, technical support, and validation from experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and ongoing connections to organizations across value chains. For more information, visit in2ecosystem.com.
About the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education, and outreach aim to have an impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and through the support of individuals and corporations. For more information please visit, www.danforthcenter.org