Hugh Victor McKay Fund for AgTech Start-ups

What is the Hugh Victor McKay Fund?

The Hugh Victor McKay Fund provides matching investments of up $200,000 to early-stage AgTech startups in Victoria for projects that enhance on-farm productivity and sustainability.

 

Background

The Hugh Victor McKay Fund is a strategic initiative developed in response to the underutilised potential of the AgTech sector in Victoria, Australia’s largest agricultural producer. This fund was established to address the gap between Victoria’s agricultural prowess and its relatively nascent AgTech industry. The government, recognising the critical role that technological innovation plays in modern agriculture, launched this fund as part of a broader effort to stimulate the growth of AgTech startups.

This initiative follows the successful implementation of programs like Farmers2Founders, Rocket Seeder, and SproutX, which were designed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills to transform ideas into viable businesses. The Hugh Victor McKay Fund builds on this foundation, aiming to provide more substantial and direct financial support to early-stage AgTech companies.

 

Objective

The objective of the Hugh Victor McKay Fund is to:

  • Stimulate Growth – Support the scaling of innovative AgTech start-ups in Victoria.
  • Leverage Private Investment – For every dollar of funding, attract two dollars of private investment, amplifying the impact of the fund.
  • Enhance Productivity and Sustainability – Focus on start-ups that offer solutions for increasing on-farm productivity and sustainability.
  • Foster Innovation – Encourage the development of cutting-edge technologies in the agricultural sector.

 

Eligible Entities

To be eligible for the Hugh Victor McKay Fund, applicants must:

  • Be an AgTech start-up based in Victoria, Australia.
  • Have a clear focus on developing technologies that enhance on-farm productivity and sustainability.
  • Demonstrate the potential for growth and scalability.
  • Be able to attract matching private investment.

 

The eligible expenditure for the Hugh Victor McKay Fund are:

  • Developing and scaling innovative agricultural technology products or services.
  • Creating and marketing software and applications tailored to agricultural needs.
  • Research and development of new AgTech solutions.
  • Purchasing specialised equipment necessary for project development and growth.
  • Expanding into new markets, both within Australia and internationally.
  • Engaging independent management expertise, such as C-suite executives or advisory boards.
  • Building or expanding management teams and establishing organisational boards.
  • Participating in relevant professional development to enhance business and technological skills.

 

Timing

Applications for the Hugh Victor McKay Fund are open now, with the fund set to co-invest in at least five early-stage AgTech start-ups over the next 12 months.

With a vision to energise the underdeveloped AgTech sector in Victoria, the Hugh Victor McKay Fund represents a significant opportunity for start-ups aiming to revolutionise agricultural practices. By offering substantial financial support and fostering private investment, this fund is a key driver in propelling Victoria to the forefront of agricultural innovation.

More Information

AgTech involves technologies that improve decision-making and productivity in agriculture, including precision farming and supply chain innovations.

Startups are young, tech-based businesses using innovation for rapid scaling and global market reach.

A startup with at least half of its assets and employees in Victoria and registered in the state.

Only investors, including Angel Networks and Early-Stage VCs, can apply on behalf of startups.

Investments that rely solely on public funding, grant funding, in-kind contributions, or related party investments.

Investments involving immediate family or equity services, and public funds or grants are considered related parties.

Founder investments are not considered, and the fund excludes co-investment with related parties.

Applicants must choose one as funding from both in the same round isn’t allowed.

A thorough deal memo assessing the startup’s market opportunity, traction, competitive landscape, and investment use.

Applications are reviewed monthly, with outcomes communicated within 48 hours post the Investment Committee meeting.

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