Kansas City-based TechAccel is joining an investment round in a Nebraska agriculture tech firm that aims to improve crop yields.
The area venture firm is among a group of investors in Lincoln-based Epicrop Technologies Inc., which raised a total of $3.2 million in its Series A round, which was led by North Forty Ventures. TechAccel — which joined Nelnet, Speedway Properties and Allen & Company as investors — declined to disclose the value of their investment.
TechAccel said in a release that the firm is committed to support scientific advancements such as those produced by Epicrop, which developed an “epigenetic” technology. Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression, rather than altering the genetic code.
“We’re excited to have TechAccel in our corner, both as an investor and a research partner advancing our technology,” Epicrop CEO Dr. Michael Fromm said in a release. “Their expertise and support will help Epicrop accelerate its programs demonstrating the enormous potential of epigenetics to increase yields and stress tolerance in a variety of crops.”
Combining epigenetics with agriculture, Epicrop co-founder Dr. Sally Mackenzie created a technology that uses conventional plant breeding techniques with molecular markers, enhancing yield in select plants. Greenhouse trials show that Mackenzie’s technology increased yields and stress tolerance for soybeans, tomatoes and sorghum.
“The pressure is on all of us in agriculture to deliver higher performing plants in the face of challenges like climate change and increasing global demand,” Dr. Mackenzie said in a release. “This technology is a critical step forward in addressing those problems head on.”
In December, TechAccel announced a $250,000 partnership with Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a St. Louis-based nonprofit research institute. Founded in 2014, TechAccel specializes in ag and animal health technology. The firm invests in, sources and acquires early-stage innovations through collaborations with various institutions.