NEW YORK — Forty-five startups were selected to participate in Rabobank’s FoodBytes! food and agriculture innovation platform, which this year transitioned beyond its annual pitch competition to a continuous scouting model with quarterly themes.
The chosen companies participated in programming with access to industry executives, mentorship and relationship building with potential corporate partners and investors. Applicants were required to demonstrate product market fit and alignment with the program’s focus areas, as well as a collaborative mindset and commitment to a triple-bottom-line business model prioritizing people, profit and planet.
“These startups are actively problem-solving for the highest priority challenges in the food and ag industry,” said Anne Greven, global head of food and agriculture innovation, Rabobank and FoodBytes! by Rabobank. “FoodBytes! remains the go-to community for those working to accelerate impact, and through our best-in-class network, we’ve brokered pivotal connections in real time. Heading into next year, we’ll continue to explore ways to expand our reach and scale actionable, sustainable solutions.”
The first quarterly program focused on meeting new consumer demand, with solutions including diversified ingredients, nutrition and immunity, novel packaging and traceability. The selected startups were Cano-ela, Eighth Day Foods, Ergo Bioscience, Equii, Grain4Grain, Ira Noah, Embion Technologies, Nulixir, Whole & Free Foods, ReStalk, SAVRpak, Farmstand, Improvin, Wholechain and Kafoodle.
“FoodBytes! was instrumental in helping us connect to a global network of food businesses all in one place,” said Monica Bhatia, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Equii, formerly Cella Farms, a developer of high-protein grain flour. “Through the experience, we have built so many strong relationships with like-minded partners. FoodBytes! helped put us in a position to co-develop products with highly respected names in the packaged food industry, which can lead to other pivotal relationships for the brand in the future.”
The second quarterly program encompassed new modes of production, such as novel farming, hyper-localization, cell and fermentation technology and farm biologics and inputs. The selected startups were AgroScout, Blue White Robotics, Boomitra, Viridix, Pink Farms, Raiar Organicos, Allozymes, Celf Nutrition, Eclipse, Orbillion Bio, Phytolon, Resugar, Hypercell Technologies, Maura Mazuri and UV Boosting.
Qiaosong Zheng, CEO of Celf Nutrition, said the program was valuable, noting, “We’re in active due diligence with a syndicate of leading food tech investors and were connected with two global CPG manufacturers seeking to fortify their products with protein and gut health.”
The third quarter program featured new ways of working, reimagining the role of the worker by introducing new technologies that create more from less, such as robotics and manufacturing automation, new food distribution, novel food processing and upcycling. The selected startups were Agot AI, Agree, AgXeed, Arugga AI Farming, CIED BV, Future Acres, Big Wheelbarrow, Foodsys.io, Nat4Bio, Earthwise Global, Rebellyous Foods, True Essence Foods, Kaffe Bueno, Superfrau and The Leaf Protein Co.
With the addition of this year’s cohort, FoodBytes! has an alumni network of more than 400 startups who have raised a total of $3.2 billion in capital, according to Rabobank.
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