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Winners revealed for AgTechUCD’s Third Annual Accelerator Programme for start-ups

Posted 6 February, 2024

Two firms have been named as the winners of University College Dublin’s third annual Accelerator Programme for early-stage AgTech and FoodTech start-ups.

Following a final pitch, held at the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre at UCD Lyons, Moonsyst was named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2024 and received a €10k prize, and PitSeal was named the FBD AgTech One to Watch 2024 and received a €10k prize.

Both companies were announced winners of the Accelerator Programme after 12 weeks of intensive business development workshops and investor readiness training, alongside mentoring from AgTech and FoodTech experts and introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks.

Dedicated to early-stage start-ups with global potential in the AgTech, Agrifood, Equine and Veterinary sectors, the AgTechUCD programme fast tracks the commercial and leadership skills of participants, and provides the support and guidance needed to accelerate their start-ups.

"I would like to congratulate Moonsyst and PitSeal, both with international ambition and the passion to drive their concepts forward, as winners of our third AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme,” said Gary Ryan, AgTechUCD Director.

“Our programme aims to support the commercial development of the participating start-ups by helping them to further develop their innovative solutions, to enhance their marketplace visibility, to attract new customers and investors and to build new partnerships at home and on the international stage.”

(opens in a new window)Moonsyst has developed a Smart Rumen Monitoring solution that collects real-time information from inside cattle, an ingestible ‘Fitbit’ for cows. 
This information enables farmers to accurately detect heats, monitor health conditions and ultimately improve productivity. The solution is supported by cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) software that can be accessed on a phone and/or PC, anywhere, anytime.

The software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict health and reproduction events related to the animal. The more information collected the more accurate alerts become, helping the farmer with livestock management 24/7.

The co-founders of Moonsyst, based in Co. Cork and Hungary, are Desmond Savage and Peter Gesler. PJ Maguire, Sales Lead, completed the programme.

“It is a privilege for Moonsyst to accept the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2024 Award, following the completion of the third AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme,” said Desmond Savage, Moonsyst co-founder and COO.

“Based on the standard of all the companies who presented, the Agtech sector in Ireland will continue to grow from strength to strength. I would like to compliment AgTechUCD on the quality of the Agccelerator programme and thank the sponsors for their generous support.”

(opens in a new window)PitSeal is an eco-friendly biofilm spray comprised of unique strains of seaweed and nutrients that forms an airtight, water-repellent seal over silage pits, eliminating the need for plastic sheeting and weights. The company also reduces plastic waste and reduces greenhouse gas emissions upon consumption by livestock.

“I am thrilled that PitSeal has been named the FBD AgTech One to Watch 2024 following the completion of this year’s AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme,” said Marion Cantillon, PitSeal founder.

“The invaluable guidance and mentorship that PitSeal received throughout the programme has positioned us well to further develop and expand our team as we roll out on our test farms. The recognition from AgTechUCD, FBD Insurance, and the panel of judges has significantly strengthened our ambition to grow PitSeal and reach as many farmers as possible. Special thanks also to all the mentors and farmers who have supported me from the beginning.”

She added: “PitSeal is thrilled to have received support and funding from AgTechUCD, FBD Insurance, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Limerick and IGNITE University College Cork thus far, and we are excited to expand our team and bring in new talent to drive our mission forward.”

PitSeal, based in Co. Limerick, was founded by Marion Cantillon who is currently a PhD Walsh Scholar at Teagasc and University College Cork.

A total of twenty-seven (27) start-ups have now completed the three AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme held to date.

“Through the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre we look forward to continuing to support this latest cohort of start-ups who are based all across Ireland,” said Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD.

“As they launch their products and services into markets in Ireland and abroad, they are disrupting the agtech industry, creating opportunities for a more sustainable agri-future with highly applicable and relevant solutions.”

The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre, which opened late last year, is part of NovaUCD, and is the first and only on-farm workspace hub in Ireland. 

Its focus is to promote and accelerate early-stage start-ups and SMEs with innovative solutions in the agri, agtech, agrifood, equine and veterinary sectors, as they build their businesses into leading job creating companies on the national and global stage.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie