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AgroValo Méditerranée, an incubator designed for agroecology

Information updated on 16/12/21

Originating from a desire by Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro and INRAE to promote research results, this incubator helps project leaders and young companies get off to a good start. Here is an overview.

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Smag and ITK are among the companies that benefited from assistance when they were getting started. And there are many more. The AgroValo Méditerranée incubator is an accelerator of successes. By founding the incubator in 2001, Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro and INRAE chose to take advantage of the opportunity opened by France’s Allègre law for innovation and research to help students, researchers, and project leaders create an innovative company based on their research.
 
Whereas the idea had not yet become widespread, the two organizations quickly understood its interest.

“Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro is the only agronomics school in France equipped with its own incubator,” says Pascal Peny, in charge of AgroValo Méditerranée.

Its creators were therefore pioneers, and they were right.
 
Over the past 20 years, this one-of-a-kind incubator has helped no less than 55 companies get started. Even better: the five-year survival rate for the startups assisted by the incubator is far higher than the national average: 84% compared to 60.4%.
 
This is partly because the incubator is quite selective about the projects it assists. According to incubator criteria, projects must demonstrate “innovation intensity”, lead to beneficial collaborations with students and researchers at Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro and INRAE, and of course, they must fit into one of the three sectors covered by the incubator:  agriculture, agri-food, and the environment. These fields all present high-potential challenges on a planet-wide level.
 
Located at the Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro campus, AgroValo is gaining momentum. It now benefits from much larger facilities, including eight offices, open spaces, and a workshop. At this time, the incubator assists 18 startups, whose projects are all as innovative as they are diverse.
 
Among them: Transformers, which designs a very successful range of composting flower pots; and La Picorée, which is also incubated by Montpellier BIC. The startup is working on a line of snacks adapted to the needs of oncology patients and populations with a risk of denutrition. Other startups include Bactolytix, which focuses on bio-control solutions for fighting against pathogenic plant bacteria; Bionomeex, whose works are designed to leverage artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery of useful properties for human and plant health by identifying characteristics associating several genes; and Yifixia, which produces ingredients for the cosmetics sector by reusing agricultural waste.
 
By driving projects forward in the fields of health, the environment, food, and well-being, AgroValo Méditerranée is an active contributor to the Med Vallée momentum initiated by Montpellier Métropole. Not only that, but the incubator’s two founders – Institut Agro | Montpellier SupAgro and INRAE – decided to commit themselves more deeply by founding the Water & Agriculture Chair, notably alongside Montpellier Métropole, Société du Canal de Provence, and BRL. Now being created, the public-private alliance will focus on ways to systematically think about water usage for agriculture in a context of climate change.
 
One more asset for Med Vallée.
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