I-Corps Alumni Win Big at Food & Ag Competition

I-Corps Alumni Win Big at Food & Ag Competition

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.