Ascribe Bioscience and WeRadiate, two I-Corps alumni startups, took home prizes at the 2021 Grow-NY Food & Agriculture Competition earlier this month. Closing out its third year, Grow-NY is the premier food and ag business competition in New York State, annually awarding $3 million in prize money to innovative startups with the potential to make a significant positive economic impact on the region.
Ascribe Bioscience impressed the panel of Grow-NY judges with its innovative non-toxic biopesticides that prime plants’ immune systems to enhance resistance to pathogens and increase crop yields. The Ithaca, NY startup was awarded a second-place prize of $500,000 following the November 16 and 17 Grow-NY Summit held in Syracuse, NY. An alumni of both regional and national I-Corps programming, Ascribe Bioscience received a $225,000 NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award in 2019, followed by a $750,000 NSF SBIR Phase II award in 2020 to field test its unique pathogen-fighting technology.
Last month, Ascribe Bioscience announced the successful completion of a $2.5 million seed funding round. Led by The Yield Lab and Acre Venture Partners, this funding will allow the company to fight crop loss and further the development and commercialization of their primary product, Phytalix.
WeRadiate, a former UNY I-Corps regional course participant, was awarded $250,000 at Grow-NY. The company, based out of Buffalo, NY, has developed a turnkey solution to improve soil quality using hardware, software and data technology, offering a complete array of tools to create high-efficacy and high-quality compost end products at all composting sites.
When selecting winners from the 20 finalists, the panel of esteemed Grow-NY judges considered a variety of criteria, including the business model and viability, team makeup, customer value, innovation, and regional job creation potential. Read more about Grow-NY and the 2021 winners in the press release shared here.