Bayer Crop Science

First Flight Venture Center Partners with Bayer to Host New Propeller Cohort


Research Triangle Park, NC – July 1, 2024 – First Flight Venture Center, the premier science and technology incubator in North Carolina, is excited to announce a strategic partnership with Bayer to host the latest cohort of the Propeller Program. This collaboration aims to accelerate novel startups focused on issues like “food security” in agriculture and crop science using scientific innovations, like CRISPR technology and other agriculture innovations. For founders, having access to strategic partners like Bayer is a game-changer for their entrepreneurial journey to success.

Propeller is an 8-week entrepreneurial design thinking program that helps founders, innovators and entrepreneurs determine the highest value for a product or service idea. This early-stage accelerator program helps entrepreneurs identify potential markets, develop a path to market strategy, and learn how to communicate the value of the idea to early stakeholders and adopters.

Over eight weeks of instruction, Propeller enables innovators to utilize the tools provided and peer interaction to consider angles from the business problem, customer value, and competitive edge–resulting in a clear understanding about the business direction and value of their idea and how to present this value in an investor-ready pitch. Companies will also practice their elevator pitches at the beginning of the sessions. We also leverage our phenomenal mentor network – we call them Navigators – to supplement the curriculum with real world insights.

Propeller serves as a first-step program for early-stage science and technology innovators by helping them bridge the gap between a brilliant idea and the business value it represents. It is based in part on the Wendy Kennedy Institute (WKI) methodology but tailored to science and technology-focused companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with Bayer to host this exciting new cohort of the Propeller Program. This collaboration underscores our commitment to fostering innovation in the science and technology sectors, particularly in addressing critical challenges such as food security. By supporting startups that leverage cutting-edge technologies like CRISPR and other scientific innovation, we are not only nurturing the next generation of innovators but also contributing to the development of sustainable solutions for global agricultural needs.” – Krista Covey, President of First Flight Venture Center

Participants in the Propeller Program will benefit from:

  • Tailored Mentorship: Access to industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs for guidance and advice.
  • Comprehensive Workshops: A series of sessions covering key topics such as regulatory strategies, business development, and fundraising.
  • Networking Opportunities: Connections with potential investors, partners, and industry leaders to help scale their businesses.

“Harnessing external innovation through partnerships is a key part of our R&D strategy and our Health for All, Hunger for None mission. The Propellor cohort that emerges from our collaboration with FFVC will go on to foster the kinds of breakthroughs that we think are possible using next generation technologies like CRISPR”, said Phil Taylor, Ph.D., Director of Open Innovation and Outreach for Crop Science R&D at Bayer.

Applications for the Propeller Program are now open. Interested startups can apply Here:


Deadline to apply is July 5, 2024.


About First Flight Venture Center
First Flight is a high science, high impact science-focused business incubator and innovation hub located in the heart of Research Triangle Park, NC. Established in 1991, First Flight has hosted more than 400 science-focused companies, providing strategic education, tailored resources, guidance, business connections and office/lab space in a 25,000 sq.ft. facility. First Flight has launched businesses that have commercialized important new science breakthroughs and disruptive technologies, while creating thousands of jobs in North Carolina. For more information, visit or view First Flight video.

About Bayer Crop Science
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. In line with its mission, “Health for all, Hunger for none,” the company’s products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2023, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 47.6 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 5.8 billion euros. For more information, go to

For more information, contact:

Contact: Krista Covey
First Flight Venture Center
Office: 919.990.8558