BOKU spin-off Agrobiogel receives top-class EU funding worth millions of Euros

AgroBiogel GmbH is, what can be described a success story, when it comes to starting a university spin-off. The core technology and basis for creating the company was developed at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU).

With a tightly knit support system, ranging  from BOKU’s technology transfer and BOKU:BASE (BOKU Activities Supporting Entrepreneurship) -  helping with first steps and establishment of the company - to  consulting services provided by Lower Austrian incubator accent, as well as initial funding from AWS (austria wirtschaftsservice) and support by FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency), the  spin-off has become a huge success.  The most important ingredient though:  The commitment and determination of the founding team (GS Nyanhongo, Johannes Paul Schwarz, Herbert Hlawati, Johannes Zwickl).

What is the idea? Agrobiogel GmbH's innovative technology is a completely new type of wood-based water superabsorbent material added to soil like fertilizer that stores water, slowly release it to plants during dry periods. The product itself completely decomposes into humus over the course of years, simultaneously improving overall soil fertility and structure. From a global perspective, this is particularly relevant for any region experiencing increasing periods of drought.

In December 2021, the company received EUR 3.4 million in funding from EU’s competitive EIC Accelerator Program. The EIC Accelerator Program - EIC stands for European Innovation Council - supports only Europe's most promising innovators in achieving an international market breakthrough. Out of the 99 companies, who have successfully applied for funding in the program’s October deadline, only two come from Austria, one being the BOKU spin-off.

For Agrobiogel GmbH, 2021 was a generally successful year: In addition to their EU funding, the company was able to secure further AWS funding and received the Best Austrian Start-up award 2021 by 'Falling Walls' last year, an international platform for world-leading top researchers*.

The technology, developed by a team of researchers (Gibson S. Nyanhongo and Georg M. Gübitz, Sabrina Bischof and Andreas Ortner) at BOKU in 2018, was set on a promising path early on.  With the support of  BOKU’s technology transfer and BOKU:BASE  it was possible to quickly identify ideally suited external partners for the company and establish, not only a suitable location for production, but also secure sufficient financial resources for next steps,  as well as the further development of the technology. Summing up: A good support system for young entrepreneurs supporting them from their initial idea until well after the creation of a company can make a difference when it comes to successfully creating highly innovative spin-offs.

We warmly congratulate Agrobiogel on this outstanding success!

BOKU supports the foundation of university start-ups and spin-offs with its newly established umbrella BOKU:BASE (BOKU Activities Supporting Entrepreneurship).


Contact Technologietransfer/ BOKU:BASE Research&IP

Mag. Michaela Amstötter-Visotschnig


Conctact Agrobiogel

Dr. Gibson Stephen Nyanhongo