Research Foundation News

May 20, 2020

Purdue Ag-Celerator invests $100,000 in plant, leaf scanning technology startup

leaf-spec Leaf Spec Ag Technologies took first place in the Spring 2020 Demo Day, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup’s technologies provide a digital lab solution for growers. (Image provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue Ag-Celerator will invest $100,000 in an agriculture technology startup that was selected for the investment following the semiannual Ag-Celerator Demo Day.

Leaf Spec Ag Technologies took first place in the Spring 2020 Demo Day, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup’s technologies provide a digital lab solution for growers to identify in real time the nutrient and chemical compositions of plants.

The technologies were developed in the lab of Jian Jin, a Purdue assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering. Members of the Leaf Spec team presented their technology commercialization plan to the Ag-Celerator Demo Day Selection Committee, which includes entrepreneurial and industry professionals from Purdue and beyond.

“Partnership between Purdue and industry helps us move technologies forward from the lab to the marketplace,” said John Mascoe, CEO of Leaf Spec. “This latest show of confidence in our technologies and business comes at a crucial time as we look to exponentially grow even as the pandemic presents new challenges.”

The Purdue Ag-Celerator was founded jointly by Purdue Ventures, Purdue Foundry and Purdue’s College of Agriculture in 2015.

Purdue students, faculty and alumni can receive up to $100,000 in funding through the program. Investments are made per semester on a competitive basis.

 “Ag-Celerator is meant to help Purdue plant science entrepreneurs build momentum to commercialize their innovations, gain customers and earn more funding,” said John Hanak, managing director of Purdue Ventures.

Technology from Leaf Spec has been licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. Both OTC and Purdue Foundry now are housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park, Purdue Technology Centers and University Development Office. In 2020, the IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at For more information about setting up a presence at Purdue, possibly in the Purdue Research Park or Discovery Park District, contact the PRF Economic Development Office at

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, 

John Mascoe,

John Hanak,

Research Foundation News

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