LIC AgCelerator™ is a fund for individuals and entities seeking to develop innovations that will deliver value to the dairy industry from generating higher yields, improving animal health, diagnostic tools and improved traceability to sustainability, advancements in breeding techniques and leveraging big data for improvements to farm management.

LIC Chief Executive, Wayne McNee says annual investment in upstream agritech companies grew 44% year-on-year from 2012 to 2018 and a further 1.3% from 2018-2019 highlighting both the opportunities and need for expansion.

“LIC is a long-term investor in research and development – in fact we’re investing $16 million this year alone in giving farmers future tools to further improve genetic gain and address environmental challenges. But we know we need to look externally also. Its important New Zealand retains its leading dairy reputation at this critical time and investing in new innovations and technology is central to ensuring that.”

LIC’s AgCelerator Fund is a designated fund designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs kick-start their early-stage concepts and get them launched to market.

McNee says the fund is also open to established businesses where there is alignment with the cooperative’s innovation led growth strategy and ongoing focus on the core New Zealand dairy industry.

“LIC has extensive knowledge of the New Zealand pasture-based dairy farming market and can offer successful applicants to the fund collaboration benefits such as R&D support, mentoring, market and customer research facilities and distribution capability.”

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LIC’s Corporate Development Manager, Eleshea D’Souza, manages LIC’s new AgCelerator Fund. She says, “LIC has been a corporate partner of Sprout, a New Zealand accelerator for agritech and future food start-ups, for five years. We have been impressed with the level of innovation and creativity being demonstrated.

“Our new fund is separate to this association but similar in principle in that we’re looking to fund those at the pre-seed and seed stage. We’re looking forward to receiving and considering great ideas and supporting those that will enhance New Zealand’s leading pastoral dairy position.”

Those interested in applying to LIC’s AgCelerator Fund can find an application form on LIC’s website under 'Investment, Collaboration or Partnership Enquiries.'