Irish agri-tech company wins 2 awards at world’s largest start-up competition

An Irish agri-technology company has won two awards at the world’s largest start-up competition.

MicroGen Biotech, based in the Institute of Technology Carlow, won the AgTech and Food Category at the recent Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) competition.

The company was selected from over 2,400 companies across 80 countries. Founder and CEO of the company, Dr. Xuemei Germaine, also took home the Female Founder Award.

MicroGen said the aim of the company is to “feed the world with safe foods that are produced sustainably”, through the microbial products it develops and sells for stressed and polluted arable land.

According to the company, it has sold millions of euros of products to China this year and is co-developing products for North America to reduce toxic arsenic in rice.

‘Improving food safety and tackling soil pollution’

Dr. Germaine said: “Human health is damaged by highly carcinogenic heavy metals such as arsenic, which are in everyday foods including potatoes, rice, wheat and vegetables.

Winning the award is a huge achievement for us and brings global recognition to the work in improving food safety, reducing hunger and tackling soil pollution.

Dr. Germaine added that she is “deeply honoured” to have won the Female Founder Award, saying: “I would say to all girls and women to stand up and go for your big dream.”

Earlier this year, the company raised $3.8 million (€3.47 million) in a funding round led by a number of top US and European agri-tech investors – Fulcrum Global Capital, The Yield Lab Europe and The Yield Lab Opportunity Fund (USA).

Nicky Deasy, managing partner of The Yield Lab Europe, said: “Reducing toxic heavy metals in food and restoring soil health are critically important to improving the quality and safety of our food, and to regenerative agriculture.”