HUNTSVILLE – A startup company with an intriguing item among its catalog, a device that would aid wildlife and vehicle drivers alike, is one of five budding companies chosen for the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator, a program the biotechnology giant began to connect cutting-edge tech startups with the means to grow their businesses faster.
SetaTech, which along with four others were selected for HudsonAlpha’s Fall 2023 Cohort, is producing DeerWall. This innovative method is designed to protect humans, property and deer. SetaTech bills the method as a “sustainable natural protocol that minimizes deer predation and also deters deer crossing at high danger points.’’
SetaTech, COMUlabs, Harmony Dx, InTerra SmarTarget and Plants Without Borders are in the cohort for the 12-week program. These accelerators are used worldwide and are catered towards early-stage startup companies that are technology based.
“The companies selected for the AgTech Accelerator Program are considered the best and brightest, which makes our selection an honor,” SetaTech CEO Blair Blacker told 256 Today. “The benefits of the program have proven of such value that our product launch dates are now first quarter 2024.
“The program has significantly matured the company in these past (two months). We are now establishing production in the Huntsville/Madison metropolitan area as we execute our first outside equity round. The program director, Christopher Udall, has been phenomenal in encouraging and advising as we develop and expand our capabilities to address our three large vertical markets.”
Segatech uses all-natural materials such as chicken feathers, natural hair and Moringa leaves to create eco-friendly solutions to waste problems to provide long-term environmental and economic sustainability.
“This (DeerWall) product is a continuation of the development of the Smart4Growing family of BioStimulants resulting in the creation of a natural anti-deer predation product line which will also aid in mitigating auto/deer incidents,” Blacker said. “Our products include our patent-protected ingredients.”
The AgTech Accelerator is partnered with global venture firm and startup accelerator gener8tor. The company’s third cohort is supported by the Growing Alabama Tax Credit program through the Alabama Department of Commerce. Sponsors include Breland Homes, Fuqua & Partners, Keel Point, Pearce Construction, Regions Bank, Synovus, and individual contributors.
“HudsonAlpha is doing amazing work and is an important part of the economic engine that drives this community,” Breland Cos. founder Louis Breland said. “I am happy to support them and their mission any way I can.”
According to Alex Cate, HudsonAlpha’s director for entrepreneurship programs, the Growing Alabama Tax Credit that was launched through Innovative Alabama funds the accelerator.
“The program was an economic development tax credit program that funded two things,” Cate said. “It funded site prep for large scale industrial economic development sites, so communities and economic development organizations could apply for a level of tax credits.
“When they receive those tax credits, they could pass them along to businesses and individuals in their community. And those funds that they collected would help to pay for utilities, construction, those kinds of activities with many other things within the economic development location.”
The Accelerator invests up to $100K in high-growth agricultural-tech startups working at the forefront of agriculture innovation in cohorts of five. It’s designed to provide meaningful engagement with the program team, global community, and regional resources from both HudsonAlpha and gener8tor.
Participants also receive intensive and individualized coaching and access to gener8tor’s national network of mentors, customers, corporate partners, and investors, which helps startups secure customers, accelerate their revenue growth, and attract additional funding.
“I can say from the HudsonAlpha side in terms of why we do this program is we work with a lot of really outstanding innovators and entrepreneurs on our campus,” Cate said. “We wanted to bring more agriculture-based entrepreneurs into our ecosystem, and we also wanted to showcase our unique capabilities as an innovation hub to other parts of the world.”
The program began with a two-pronged plan.
“For us, the AgTech Accelerator has a couple goals,” Cate said. “One of those goals was to bring those companies, those really cool ag tech companies to Huntsville and show them the opportunities that exist here in Huntsville and in Alabama and get them plugged into our environment.
“But then, since some of them are not a local, and we’ve had companies from California, Arizona, Spain, Portugal and I think Chicago, several other places, another goal is as they go back into their own parts of the world, and they become familiar with HudsonAlpha and Huntsville, I think they would say good things about the way we wrapped our arms around them while they’re here and help them grow. I think that helps to raise the Huntsville and HudsonAlpha brand around the world.”
Investors, mentors, and community members interested in connecting with the startup companies and programs are encouraged to contact Christopher Udall, HudsonAlpha Agtech Accelerator managing director, at https://www.hudsonalpha.org/innovate/agtech-accelerator/
“I think our community likes to see these really cool startups,’’ Cate added.