Coverage from NBC29: interview with Ameer Shakeel
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – AgroSpheres announces its selection as an awardee for the 2020 STTR Matching Funds Program. This distinction is supported by the Center for Innovative Technology’s (CIT) Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF). The mission of this fund is to accelerate innovation and economic growth in Virginia by advancing solutions to important state, national, and international problems through technology research, development, and commercialization. Since it began in 2011, CRCF has awarded more than $30 million to help launch nearly 380 early-stage technology projects in strategically important industries.
“Congratulations to the Charlottesville, Virginia-based AgroSpheres team,” said Ed Albrigo, President and CEO of the Center for Innovative Technology. “It has been exciting to watch this young group of innovators navigate from research to commercialization with CRCF support. They are revolutionizing modern agriculture by transforming crop protection through the development of environmentally-friendly delivery platforms. Their technology is poised to put Virginia in the national spotlight of AgTech. This is only the beginning, and I look forward to their continued success.”
AgroSpheres plans to use the funding to bridge the funding gap between Phase I and Phase II funding from the NSF. AgroSpheres will be able to rapidly move towards commercialization and thanks to CIT, will not have to slow down R&D while waiting for Phase II funding. “We are very grateful for the state’s commitment to entrepreneurs and look forward to developing the next generation of crop protectants made possible by these funds,” said CTO, Ameer Shakeel. “Thanks to the overwhelming support received from CIT CRCF, we were able to collect data that was crucial in securing follow-on funds from grant institutions and private investors,” said CEO, Payam Pourtaheri. Virginia has provided a lot of support to AgroSpheres and the team is passionate about building an AgTech Hub in Charlottesville, Virginia.
AgroSpheres was founded by CTO Ameer Shakeel and CEO Payam Pourtaheri and is located in Charlottesville, VA. The company’s mission is to improve the delivery of crop protection products to make them more effective, less costly and better for the environment. AgroSpheres will leverage its novel pesticide delivery technology, the AgriCell, to enhance the performance of crop protection products, giving farmers better tools to control pests. AgroSpheres aims to transform the crop protection industry, improving the lives of growers and consumers while helping to preserve the planet.
About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies to create high-paying jobs throughout the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been a primary driver of advocating for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. CIT accelerates next generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Programs include CIT GAP Funds, CRCF, Virginia Founders Fund, Broadband/Rural Broadband, Smart Communities, Cybersecurity, Unmanned Systems, Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer programs, University Partnerships, Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement on behalf of Virginia Entrepreneurship & Economic Development.
About the CIT Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF)
The CRCF advances science- and technology-based research, development, and commercialization to drive economic growth in Virginia, create and foster high-potential technology companies in the Commonwealth, and to encourage and strengthen collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sector. The Fund seeks to advance Virginia’s position in strategically important areas including, but not limited to human health, cybersecurity, smart communities, and unmanned systems.