ACRE AgTech Accelerator Launched our first cohort
on Aug 26, 2019

40 applicants were narrowed down to four companies.  Our selection process was driven by needs our agricultural industry has identified.  Lifelab-samples.jpg
During our week-long visit to Traverse City we were provided office space by Long Lake Culinary Campus, founded by Chip Hoagland (third from left).  Also in the photo (from left to right) Brig Ricks, Pres of Burly.Co; Andrew Joiner, Pres of Enmass Energy; Chip Hoagland, Tamarack Holdings; Frank Woodward, Pres of Wildlife Defense Systems; Doug Huesdash, COO ACRE AgTech; and Dennis Arouca, Traverse Area EDC and Senior Advisor to ACRE.  Our time in Traverse included our founders pitching at TC New Tech which was followed up by an article in the Ticker that generated several inquiries.Cohort-at-LLCC.jpg
Our program culminates at The
Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo
in Grand Rapids, Dec 10 - 12
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The response from Michigan’s agricultural community has been overwhelmingly supportive and interested.  Launching this accelerator model has established a clear direction that can address pressing issues for our farm and ag production businesses.

Highlights of the Inaugural Cohort Companies

Wildlife Defense Systems is based on St Mary’s Ga.  WDS saw a problem faced by most farmers, birds and other wildlife damage crops, often 20%-40% of crops are lost to these scavengers. All current efforts to deter these behaviors were based on scare tactics.  These devices are quickly ignored.  After extensive study of birds and other wildlife WDS discovered they could introduce a sound profile that disrupted the communications and navigation capabilities of birds, deer and other wildlife, making the protected areas uninhabitable.  Successful tests on pepper farms, cherry orchards and vineyards proved to the farm owners, this technology is effective.  This provides increased harvests and lower risk of disease spread. Michigan DNR contacted us to have WDS visit them to share how this technology could enable them to manage bird problems at Michigan fish hatcheries

Burly.Co is based in Traverse City Mi.  Capital assets for farmers and construction companies can be extremely expensive.  Burly discovered these assets can remain idle 60%-70% of the time.  Recognizing shifts in the marketplace and capabilities of technology Burly saw an opportunity.  They have created an app that provides a platform for equipment owners to easily list idle assets for rent and for smaller farms and companies to rent this equipment just for times they need it.  The equipment owners generate revenue with these valuable assets.  The renters are enabled to expand their businesses with reduced financial risk.  Burly provides insurance covering the assets should something happen, protecting the owner.

LifeLab Inc is based in Beirut Lebanon.  Faced with harsh farming conditions LifeLab set out to create a growing platform to overcome the surrounding conditions.  They were introduced to ACRE though our global accelerator network after they completed an affiliate program in Beirut.  There system, in test installations, has provided 30 times more produce than traditional hoop houses.  They have also been able to reduce water needs by 95% and labor by 75%.  They came to Michigan to seek partners to manufacture and distribute in North America.  This will provide increased business for Michigan manufacturers and enable 365 farming.  By the way, they have validated over 200 crops and are working on being able to grow deep root and vine crops.
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Enmass Energy is based in Chatham NC.   Society is desiring cleaner and more sustainable fuel sources be used for energy creation.  Enmass realized they could bring about positive change.  They have created a software platform that can track farm waste then link growers to energy production sites that can utilize these materials.  Farmers have about 65% bio waste after crops are harvested.  Stalks, vines, etc generate a high volume of farm waste, however, when managed, can be aggregated and used as biofuel.  Power plants can substitute coal or other fossil fuels with sustainable biomass and farmers generate revenue with formally scrap materials.  Developing regions of the world struggle with unreliable and expensive electricity.  Enmass deployed Phase One in Pakistan and is now moving to introduce their model to benefit Michigan and the rest of America.  Since starting the cohort with ACRE they have met with DTE, Michigan Biomass, and Varnum Law Senior Energy Counsel.