Hugh Victor McKay Fund: A $1M Sidecar Fund to Boost Early-Stage AgTech Startups
AgTech Venture Fund

Hugh Victor McKay Fund: A $1M Sidecar Fund to Boost Early-Stage AgTech Startups

The world of AgTech is set to witness a significant boost with the introduction of the $1 million Hugh Victor McKay Fund, which is now welcoming applications. The fund aims to invest up to $200,000 in a minimum of five budding startups over the next year.

Named in honor of the Victorian inventor Hugh Victor McKay, who patented the groundbreaking combine harvester in the 1880s, the fund pays tribute to an innovation that revolutionized agriculture.

Following in the footsteps of the successful Alice Anderson Fund by LaunchVic, the Hugh Victor McKay Fund will co-invest alongside private sector investors. These investors are expected to match the government’s contribution at a minimum ratio of 2:1.

Matthew Pryor, the founder of Tenacious Ventures, will be a vital member of the fund’s Investment Committee, which plans to convene bi-monthly to evaluate applications. Pryor emphasized the fund’s potential impact: “The Hugh Victor McKay Fund is poised to offer invaluable support to founders who are shaping the future of on-farm productivity and sustainability.”

He added, “AgTech startups, especially those delving into hardware and deep tech, play a pivotal role in agrifood transition. After all, the software isn’t edible. Given the capital-intensive nature of these startups in their early stages, the additional leverage provided by the fund can be transformative.”

LaunchVic unveiled the first batch of seven grant recipients from the AgTech Grants program in a related announcement. This initiative provides equity-free grants of $50,000 to ambitious AgTech founders.

Dr. Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic, expressed her enthusiasm about collaborating with Agriculture Victoria and the comprehensive support extended to founders at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey. She stated, “From pre-accelerator programs that help validate startup ideas to grants that build capabilities and seed funding for scaling, we’re offering a holistic support system.”

Investment Committee Members:

  • Susan Oliver, AM, Founding Chairperson, Scale Investors (Chair of the Hugh Victor McKay Fund)
  • Ilona Charles, CEO and Co-Founder, shilo.people
  • Amanda Derham, Advisor, Investor, and Director, Aultmore Pty Ltd
  • Matthew Pryor, Co-Founder, Tenacious Ventures and Partner, AgThentic

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Photo by Kshithij Chandrashekar on Unsplash 

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