$100,000 Awarded to iUNU and FIn Gourmet for Agricultural Business Solutions

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Selected by peers as top ventures that address challenges in the agriculture sector

Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs

“We're excited to support these two wonderful companies that change the way we feed ourselves as a society, and provide income-generating opportunities for individual farmers worldwide." - Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital

SOURCE: Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs announced today that iUNU and FIn Gourmet were awarded $50,000 each in investment from Village Capital Investments and Radicle Capital. iUNU and FIn Gourmet were selected as the top two ventures from a national pool of startups working to improve the global agriculture economy.

Seattle-based iUNU offers an energy-efficient dual plasma light for indoor farming while Western Kentucky-based FIn Gourmet produces ready-to-eat foods using wild caught Asian carp.

The SOURCE initiative is a collaboration between The Hitachi Foundation, Village Capital, and Investors' Circle that connects early-stage entrepreneurs with the investment capital, mentoring, and support needed to grow their businesses.

Ten ventures participated in the three-month Village Capital Agriculture: Louisville 2014 accelerator program that worked to address challenges in the agriculture sector. Throughout the program, the entrepreneurs received mentoring from industry experts and potential investors. At the end of the cohort, the entrepreneurs peer ranked one another, and iUNU and FIn Gourmet were selected to receive $50,000 in funding.

"iUNU is helping small farmers take advantage of under-utilized space by leading the development of the indoor growing industry. FIn Gourmet has created a market opportunity for Western Kentucky fishermen to sell their wild caught fish, including Asian Carp, thereby increasing the sustainability of the global fish supply chain,” said Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital. “We're excited to support these two wonderful companies that change the way we feed ourselves as a society, and provide income-generating opportunities for individual farmers worldwide."

The announcement of the two top ventures followed the Village Capital Agriculture Venture Forum, held at the Kentucky Science Center, where the entrepreneurs pitched their companies to investors, business leaders, community members, and various stakeholders.

The eight other ventures that participated in the Village Capital Agriculture cohort are:

  •     Agribotix: Makes actionable intelligence for agriculture using drones.
  •     Apitronics: Empowers growers to gather real-time, in-the-field data through a software/hardware platform, and makes this data accessible anywhere.
  •     Iron Goat: Creates pelletized agricultural products directly from standing crops with no fossil fuel.
  •     FarmX: Designs personal hydroponic gardening systems for home gardeners.
  •     Growcentia: Developing microbial biostimulants that enhance plant growth.
  •     reNature Inc.: Processes food waste into fertilizer using a unique bioreactor technology.
  •     TekWear: Creates apps and software for wearable devices used in agriculture processes.
  •     Wildsense, LLC: Provides wireless underground soil moisture sensors, and information for irrigation management.

Village Capital Agriculture: Louisville 2014 is supported by Blue Sky Foundation, Radicle Capital, VentureWell, the SOURCE Initiative, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS), the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing (SGII), and the Owsley Brown Charitable Trust.

About SOURCE
SOURCE is a partnership between The Hitachi Foundation, Investors’ Circle, and Village Capital, with additional support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center. SOURCE discovers entrepreneurs creating business solutions to social issues affecting low-wealth Americans and links them with the investment capital and mentoring needed to grow their businesses.

About The Hitachi Foundation
The Hitachi Foundation is an independent, philanthropic organization that seeks to discover, demonstrate and expand business practices that both measurably improve economic opportunities for low-wealth individuals in the U.S. and enhance long term business value.

About Village Capital
Village Capital uses its unique peer-selection model help early-stage entrepreneurs develop and connect to investors. Since 2009, Village Capital has supported over 400 companies across the U.S., Europe, East Africa, India, China, and Brazil, solving major problems in financial access, energy, agriculture, education, and health.

About Investors’ Circle
Investors’ Circle (IC) is the largest early-stage impact investing network in the world. Together with hundreds of angels, venture capitalists, foundations and family offices, IC has propelled over $175 million into more than 275 enterprises dedicated to improving the environment, education, health, and community. A nonprofit organization, IC cultivates its impact investor network, provides opportunities for high-potential impact entrepreneurs to meet impact investors, and facilitates investment.

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Laura Faulkner
@SOURCE_US
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