Yield Lab Europe is looking to offer early stage venture capital to AgTech start-ups, particularly those with a focus on addressing environmental sustainability and food security.

This marks the third year of the European programme, which to date has invested in eight companies, four of which are based in Ireland.

Under the latest programme, Yield Lab will support up to five companies with an investment of €100,000 and an intensive mentoring and training programme to help them turn their ideas into successful internationally scalable businesses. 

Last month Yield Lab raised €21m for a new European venture capital fund to invest in the AgTech sector, backed by a €10m investment from Enterprise Ireland and €4m from AIB.

Nicky Deasy, Managing Partner of Yield Lab Europe, said its formula of offering both its own equity capital, alongside mentoring and access to market and the wider venture capital industry, is in high demand from AgTech start-ups across Europe.

Nicky Deasy said the group is anticipating a lot of interest in this year's programme. 

"Our new €21m fund means we the capability to do larger follow on investments of up to €1m in our companies as they grow," Mr Deasy added.

Yield Lab has already committed to a follow-on investment in ApisProtect, whose technology helps commercial beekeepers protect the health of their honey bees.

Last November, ApisProtect said it had completed a €1.5m fund raises supported by Yield Lab, Enterprise Ireland and other venture capital investors.

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO of ApisProtect, said the experience of working with the Yield Lab has been extremely helpful. 

"This investment has enabled us to roll out our technology across the world, we now have a team of ten monitoring 10 million honey bees worldwide," Dr Edwards Murphy said. 

"We have also benefited hugely from the extensive network of partners and corporates through the Yield Lab's relationships," she added.

As well as ApisProject, the other companies that received backing from The Yield Lab Europe's 2018 and 2017 programmes were Sencrop, Microgen Biotech, Impact Vision, Chalante, Hexafly, MicroSynbiotiX and Rootwave.