HudsonAlpha is meeting agricultural challenges head-on

Through genomics and commercialization

HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator powered by gener8tor logo

Experts predict that the world’s population will be 9.7 billion people by the year 2050, nearly two billion more than currently inhabit our planet. A growing population combined with increasing heat and drought will put pressure on the world’s finite land and water resources. All of this threatens food security for people across the globe, an immense challenge that requires innovative solutions. Humanity needs adaptive technologies and a deep understanding of our crops to increase yield while relying on fewer inputs like water and fertilizers.

To meet the increased need for food, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville is rising to the challenge. The Institute’s Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture studies plant genomics to breed crops tolerant of harsher growing conditions and more resistant to pests and disease. HudsonAlpha’s internationally recognized experts utilize advanced genomic research techniques to study crops and provide a path to greater sustainability in the industry. Recent projects include increasing peanuts’ drought tolerance, reducing agricultural dependence on nitrogen fertilizers, and creating a greater understanding of a promising biofuel crop.

These advancements in research and breeding are an essential part of the needed solutions, but a comprehensive approach also requires the involvement of growers, customers, and consumers. Working with Alabama’s farmers, businesses, and government leaders, HudsonAlpha is proud to play a vital role in the efforts to make Alabama agriculture even stronger.

In partnership with the State of Alabama and gener8tor, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator and venture fund, the Institute launched the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator. It recruits talented agricultural startup companies from around the world to Huntsville for a 12-week immersive business acceleration program. Selected participants will be a part of the HudsonAlpha ecosystem and have access to state-of-the-art facilities across the 152-acre biotech campus. The Accelerator’s startups will also have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with HudsonAlpha scientists.

“HudsonAlpha is dedicated to driving advancements to improve the lives of people in Alabama, our region, and far beyond our borders,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha. “The Institute is leading the way in the discovery of new tools for growing food and producing biofuels that will improve our world. This accelerator is a key part of a larger strategy to create new economies for growers by linking scientific research to commercial opportunity.”

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In December, HudsonAlpha hosted a showcase that concluded its first cohort of startups. The moment served as a capstone to weeks of intense growth for the founders of the selected companies.

“I can’t believe the first cohort has come to an end. Each of the companies entered a few of months ago with strong goals and enthusiasm,” said Torian Blackburn, program manager for the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator. “To watch them report on exceeding their KPI goals and tout their immense partnerships was amazing. Some grew so much while in the state that they decided to relocate business operations from out of the state – and even the country – to Alabama.”

The cohort represented a variety of fields in AgTech, and each company was selected through a rigorous application process of over 500 applicants. The companies identified individual key performance goals and worked with gener8tor and HudsonAlpha to hone their business models, networks, and offerings.

Week over week, each company hit its targeted 20% growth during the Accelerator, and as a collective, the cohort is pursuing millions of funding from their growth and connections during their tenures. Recruitment of the second cohort will begin in early 2023 and will commence in Spring 2023. Startups interested in applying or wanting to meet with the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator team can visit:

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