Back in 2019, European Agri-FoodTech startups collectively raised $3.4B (approx €2.9B) funding, a 70% YoY growth, according to research firm AgFunder in collaboration with F&A Next. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has ruined it for everyone, impacting the food industry and consumer eating habits.
Even though the picture is not so rosy right now, many Agri-FoodTech VCs worldwide consider themselves comparatively as the Agri-Food industry falls under the essential industry; making it quite resilient to downturns.
Changing everything about foods
According to McKinsey, agriculture is among the least digitised of all major industries. However, numerous startups are popping up across the globe in a bid to change everything that you thought you knew about food. As a result, a slew of investors are buying into their ideas – now more than ever.
In this regard, StartLife, the Wageningen-based agri-food tech accelerator has selected nine European startups for its 2020 fall cohort.
Meet these 9 European startups
With various technologies including AI, robotics, machine learning, and more, these startups are in the mission of tackling global challenges such as diminishing food waste, boosting sustainable production, and enhancing productivity.
The Dutch accelerator will help them with funding, training, and global partnerships. The list of startups are:
- Blakbear (UK) – Package-level freshness visibility boosting product shelf-life
- Healthycrop (Denmark) – Solutions that enable fungicide free agriculture
- Iamus (Ireland) – Offers AI & Robotics solutions for poultry producers & processors
- KomraVision (Estonia) – Material analysis with next-generation dynamic optics
- Mylium (Netherlands) – Developing fungi-based textiles
- Plantik (France) – Engineering the plants of tomorrow, unthinkably faster
- Sphera Encapsulation (Italy) – Sustainable encapsulation technologies
- TuttiFoodi (Netherlands) – 100% natural food preservation technology
- Vertigo (Netherlands) – Quality control for fresh fruit with microwave measurements
Diving deep into the business
In the upcoming days, the company will be validating their customer segments, refine their propositions, and prepare for attracting growth capital and partnerships that will spur their business development. On 9th December this year, the startups will present their ideas to an international audience of investors, corporates, and other stakeholders from the agrifood industry.
Loet Rammelsberg, program director of StartLife, says: “The road from a minimal viable product to a successful startup is a big jigsaw puzzle. We have to assess at an early stage if we can help find and connect the right pieces. We hope the newly selected startups will follow into the footsteps of successful StartLife alumni like Nutrileads, Hudson River Biotechnology, and Cerescon and high potentials like Orbisk and FUMI Ingredients.”
Going remote this year
Due to pandemic, StartLife went fully remote with its flagship Accelerate program in the spring edition of this year. Having said that, the startups have been given the option to attend the program virtually or in person, as the program is now offered in hybrid. “Only for the demo day, which we refer to as graduation day, we prefer to have all startups physically present”, says Flora Vogelzang, program coordinator of StartLife.
Rammelsberg adds, “We had already planned to open our program to more international startups. With the program changes we had to make earlier this year we realized that a virtual program would enable entrepreneurs who are not based in the Netherlands to reap the benefits of our wide support more easily. In a way, you could say we are ‘zooming’ our way into Europe.”
StartLife is opening a brand new office building on Wageningen Campus on its 10th anniversary on November 5th. The new building is shared with various organisations involved in boosting entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as with numerous agri food startups and scale-ups.
Main image credits: StartLife