In Agritech – as with any sector of the innovation ecosystem – the biggest hindrance to growth is funding. Cash is the one thing that can make or break technology – although this should come as no surprise to anyone involved in investment, or anyone with experience in a tech-related industry. With Agritech, the situation becomes even more complicated. Creating an innovative agricultural solution, or one that uses agricultural resources, is more difficult than you might normally expect.
Why more difficult?
Firstly, there’s the timing issue. The development of anything takes a certain length of time – that’s a given – but when it comes to Agritech, solutions are often season-sensitive, meaning that it takes even longer.
Then there’s the catch-22 of #funding_no_funding. Investors usually want to see some evidence that a solution will actually do what it says it will do, prior to parting with any capital. However, a product usually requires an injection of funds in order to get to such a stage – presenting a conundrum. Furthermore, the kind of funding required is much more than simply “throw some money at us and leave us to it, we’ll make it work – promise!”
Mind the Gap
There is also a substantial distance between the initial stages of academic research and the level of research that renders a product ready for market. The process of developing an idea, to where it becomes something that could genuinely contribute to feeding the world, thereby helping to solve one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, is long and complex.
And this all requires money. Well-intentioned, properly timed, adequately sized sums of money, which can help you succeed in Agritech by being strategic and long-term. More importantly, the source of this cash needs to be a very specific kind of investor, one with vision, patience and the willingness to take a risk.
US Federal Grants
The word on the street, or at least, the word according to CB Insights, is that an increasingly popular financing mechanism for Agritech companies are governmental grants at both federal and state levels; and contributions can range from lesser amounts to more than $4 million. As you might expect, US federal grants are primarily designated to US-based candidates.
Despite this fact, there are also ways in which Israeli companies can qualify for such endowments. For example, if one of the primary figures in an Israeli Agritech innovation company holds US citizenship, then an application can be made for a federal or state grant. Similarly, if such a company has a US subsidiary company, or if they are partnered with an American entity, an application can also be made for a grant.
While the application process is extensive, difficult and very likely tiresome and frustrating, the benefits that such grants can bring are both plentiful and evident. More importantly, since obtaining a US federal or state grant can open significant doors towards implementation of the company’s product in the US – why on earth would you not even try?
All About Obtaining US Funding (From People Who Know Their Stuff)
Start-Up Nation Central wrote its Guide to US Federal Funding Opportunities for Israeli Agriculture and Food-Related Technologies, in conjunction with Holland & Knight, in order to comprehensively map and identify the US federal funding opportunities that are relevant for Israeli Agritech and Foodtech companies in the innovation ecosystem, and present the applicable funding mechanisms within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.
As well as identifying specific funding opportunities, the guide also provides explanations of the different ways in which Israelis can become eligible to receive these grants. More to the point, the guide also offers guidelines on how to apply.
When compiling this report, Start-Up Nation Central partnered with the international law firm Holland & Knight, whose extensive experience working with federal agencies and their agricultural programs means that they have a unique and highly knowledgeable viewpoint. Point of fact: Holland & Knight has helped companies secure more than $100 million in grants, hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement, and billions of dollars in loan guarantees from the U.S. government.
Click here to download the Start-Up Nation Central Guide to US Federal Funding Opportunities for Israeli Agriculture and Food-Related Technologies.