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Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

North Carolina boasts one of the world’s most fertile agricultural technology startup ecosystems, set in a state rich in agricultural history and diversity. At the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative, we are making that environment even better.

Catalyzing a Culture of Entrepreneurship

N.C. PSI students, faculty and partners work together to bring great ideas to market. That takes a culture of innovation and NC State’s entrepreneurial infrastructure. We strive to grow entrepreneurs with grit and determination to improve the world through plant science innovation. Our goal: fostering a culture of entrepreneurship that accelerates new discoveries and technologies and launches new startups, all in the interest of advancing agriculture in North Carolina and beyond.

NC State’s cutting-edge tools, investor networks and institutional support – including a tech transfer office that’s among the best in the nation and a Chancellor’s Innovation Fund that supports short-term commercially focused research – empower interdisciplinary teams to take big ideas and run with them.

7 N.C. PSI Startup Companies

since April 2022

#2 in Research Commercialization

NC State ranking among universities without a medical school

29 Intellectual Property Disclosures

at NC State in plant sciences
since 2022

Startups Get Their Start Here

The N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative’s Startup Program offers exciting new opportunities for researchers who want to turn their ideas into local and global solutions. Admission to the program, granted by our Commercialization Advisory Council, offers them:

> Access to the NC State’s Plant Sciences Building and its specialized labs, core facilities and research and meeting space
> Proximity to talent: leading faculty members plus graduate students and undergrads
> Mentoring with an Executive in Residence
> Networking Opportunities
>Assistance with Business Plan Development and Marketing

Our Current Startups

Hoofprint BiomeFlip Biosystems
Soteria Formulations Inc.Acre Shield
Elysia Creative BiologyPrecision Plant
Raleigh Biosciences

Startup Spotlight:
Hoofprint Biome

Methane has proven to be one of the main drivers behind climate change, and cows emit this gas every time they burp. Hoofprint Biome, a startup led by Scott Collins and Kathryn Polkoff, is out to provide producers, and our climate, with a solution: a feed additive that eliminates the microbes that cause methane in a cow’s rumen. 

A Place to Incubate

A newly upfitted 2,500-square-foot combined open office and wet lab space in NC State’s Plant Sciences Building houses agricultural technology startup companies emerging from the university. 

Connecting University Resources

In partnership with the NC State Office of Research Commercialization, we facilitate the commercialization of research discoveries.

Our Approach:

  • Actively scout for disruptive technologies and make connections early in faculty development of technology.
  • Work with N.C. PSI–developed innovations and IP to advance them along the commercialization pathway to maximize their value.
  • Optimize the entrepreneurial environment for plant-science business startups, including building closer ties with the agtech community.
  • Coordinate commercialization support programs.
  • Leverage existing faculty and student technology entrepreneurship training and develop additional incubator and accelerator programming as needed.
  • Raise innovation funds focused on the agtech sector to secure access to earlier-stage pre-seed and seed capital, advanced technologies and early-stage business enterprise and later equity capital and growth rounds.
  • Develop a network of industry mentors focused on plant sciences.

For more information

Kathleen Pitcher

Kathleen Pitcher, Ph.D.

Director of Innovation Partnerships or 919.513.2073