AgTechUCD Announces MyGug and OptaHaul Winners

30th January 2023

Posted In: Be In The Frame

The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre today announced MyGug and OptaHaul as the winners of University College Dublin’s (UCD) second annual accelerator programme dedicated to early-stage AgTech and Agri-food start-ups with global potential.  The focus of the 12-week intensive AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme is on fast tracking the business development and leadership skills of participants and to provide them with the support and guidance needed to accelerate their start-ups in Ireland and internationally.

Following a final pitching event, held at UCD Lyons Farm, in front of a judging panel, MyGug was named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2023 and received a €10k prize, and OptaHaul was named the Ornua AgTech One to Watch 2023 and received a €10k prize.

Niamh Collins, Director, AgTechUCD Innovation Centre, said, “I would like to congratulate MyGug and OptaHaul, both with significant global ambitions, as winners of our second AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme.

The aim of this programme is to support the commercial development of the participating start-ups by helping them to increase their marketplace visibility, to attract new customers and investors and to forge new partnerships.”

MyGug, based in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, has developed a micro-scale anaerobic digester that turns food waste into a green renewable energy source, suitable for homes, schools and small food businesses.

The efficient egg-shaped MyGug digester system, which is aesthetically pleasing, converts food waste into a natural gas suitable for cooking and a liquid fertiliser, suitable for use in gardens. The automated system also produces data via an app and dashboard that is valuable to customers for supporting and learning more about the efficacy of sustainability practices.

The company was founded by Kieran Coffey and Fiona Kelleher who completed the programme.

Fiona Kelleher, co-founder and COO, MyGug said, “I am thrilled that MyGug has named the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2023 following the completion of the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme.” She added,

“Every year a third of food intended for human consumption is lost or wasted. This food waste can be diverted from landfills and harnessed to create renewable energy.

Our ambition at MyGug is to empower our customers to become agents of positive change by using our technology to create renewable energy from their food waste, in the form of natural gas suitable for cooking and a liquid fertiliser suitable for use in their gardens, all year round.”

She concluded, “We are currently selling MyGug digesters to customers in Ireland as well as exporting to the UK and to mainland Europe. We are planning to raise €1 million in seed funding later this year to expand our manufacturing base in West Cork and to accelerate company growth and sales in Ireland and also internationally.”

MyGug has been supported to date with funding from LEO Cork North and West and Enterprise Ireland.

OptaHaul, which was co-founded by Gary Gallagher is based in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath and has developed the first route optimisation software solution designed specifically and exclusively for the dairy milk transportation industry. OptaHaul’s SaaS optimisation platform helps dairy processors, cooperatives and haulers to reduce transport costs, increase efficiency and remove vehicle greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from farm to plant milk transport.

“I am delighted that OptaHaul has been named the Ornua AgTech One to Watch 2023 following the completion of the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme,” said CEO Gary Gallagher, who completed the programme. OptaHaul has been supported to date by LEO Westmeath and has recently achieved Enterprise Ireland   High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) status.

AgTechUCD, based at UCD Lyons Farm and part of NovaUCD, is focused on accelerating the launch and scaling of AgTech and FoodTech start-ups in Ireland and has been funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland. AgTechUCD’s focus is supporting founding entrepreneurs as they build their innovative businesses into leading enterprises, though the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, and by providing access to incubation space and to on-farm testing for new products and services at UCD Lyons Farm.

Pictured at UCD Lyons farm are Fiona Kelleher, co-founder and COO, MyGug and Gary Gallagher, co-founder, OptaHaul.

Group Image: Tom Flanagan, NovaUCD; Eva Griffin, Ornua; David Bowles, The Yield Lag; Fiona Kelleher, MyGug; Niamh Sterling, HBAN; Faye Walsh Drouillard, WakeUp Capital; Gary Gallagher, OptaHaul; Liam Phelan, AIB; Danny O’Brien, Thrive/SVG Ventures; Gianni Matera, Growing Capital; Niamh Collins, AgTechUCD and James Maloney, Enterprise Ireland.