Rockstart AgriFood Insider #1: empowering startups internationally
This summer, Rockstart AgriFood has enabled over 20 different agritech and foodtech startups from as far away as Bangkok, Boston and Tanzania to pitch their companies to investors, corporates and partners. We’ve co-hosted with comedians, mingled with the King and rocked it in Copenhagen with some of the best AgriFood startups out there…
…all in the name of building the best AgriFood program to give startups access to capital, market, community and expertise!
TechBBQ: showcasing AgriFood startups
Rockstart AgriFood partnered with the Foodtech tent and stage at this years TechBBQ in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is the first year that TechBBQ hosted AgriFood startups in its line up, and we at Rockstart AgriFood are proud to lead the initiative.
With a tent hosting 32 startups, entrepreneurs were able to network and introduce their products to investors and potential partners over September 5 and 6. Rockstart AgriFood program director, Mark Durno, also hosted four panel discussions with startups focussing on different disruptions in the industry:
- Digital Farming – looking at examples of digital disruption, e.g. livestock facial recognition or detection of pests in open-field production (Kukua, FaunaPhotonics, Serket Technologies)
- Vertical Farming – this emerging segment is attracting some serious attention! (FreightFarms, GrowUp Urban Farms, NextFood)
- Alternative Proteins – investigating the role of algae, crickets and meal worms as consumable ingredients (Dare to Eat, Bugsolutely, The Algae Factory)
- Future Logistics – from global shipping to the last mile, digital solutions are bringing transparency (Wolt, Babbler)
TechFestival: inspiring new AgriFood entrepreneurs
In an attempt to inspire new agri and food initiatives, Rockstart AgriFood co-created the event “Hacking Hunger: how to sustainably feed 10 billion people” alongside CPHFoodSpace and TechFestival in Copenhagen, on September 7, 2017.
This was TechFestival’s launch year, with almost 16,000 visitors gathering to explore the intersection between humans and technology. Rockstart AgriFood contributed by hosting a program with 80 participants to “Hack Hunger” by coming up with innovative ideas to improve the food supply chain.
The program started with Mark Durno & Rune Theill introducing some of the main challenges faced in the Food Supply Chain centered around future demand of sustainably feeding ten billion people. Five AgriFood startups inspired the audience with two-minute lightning pitches to get the participants thinking of what is possible (startups: OneMeal, FoodChain, Kukua, NextFood, Serket Technologies).
Then, the hacking began! Teams of five to eight people introduced themselves and then focussed on one of three core themes for hacking hunger:
- Optimizing practices and processes along the food supply chain
- Stopping food waste
- Driving a more sustainable and transparent food supply chain
Seven teams had two hours to create, develop and pitch a new idea to tackle one of the challenges. The results were fantastic! Read on below for some examples of the outcomes.
- “Happy Trees” – attacking the issue of where palm oil comes from by making the supply chain traceable and tracking the production, supply and use of palm oil. Consumers can be confident they are buying sustainably sourced ingredients.
- “Co-Ree” – an online platform to connect smallholder farmers with everyting: experts/advice, equipment, inputs → better information means better profit for small holders!
- “Agrifood” – a recipe app to help consumer track and connect with surplus products from supermarkets. The retailer pays a commission on all surplus food sold over the app.
- “This is $hit” – collecting and processing food waste into biological fertilizer for food production.
- “Gamify Waste” – an app for consumers to upload a picture of surplus food to give away – drives community connections, gamification and reduces food waste
- “Surplus soup” – recycling surplus food into soups for sale in retail stores and supermarkets.
- “Seasonal Recipes” – an app to help consumers buy and cook seasonal products for delicious seasonal meals. Use of seasonal produce promotes locally grown products over imported produce.
Each team presented a two minute pitch to the group, before closing for some celebratory drinks with local beers and bubbles sourced by CPHFoodSpace.
Koppert Biological Systems: 50th Anniversary Seminar/Partners With Nature
Koppert Biological Systems, the world’s leading innovator, producer, supplier and consultant of beneficial insects turned 50 this year. To celebrate this milestone, Koppert hosted a full day “seminar” at their newly constructed research centre in Berkel en Rodenrijs, the Netherlands.
The event was opened by king Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and saw a plethora of distinguished speakers relate to how the agrifood industry can “partner with nature.” Highlights included insights on tech farming by Jacob van den Borne (co-owner Van den Borne Potatoes), polyculture by Joel Salatin (co-owner Polyface Farms) and Mario Steta (CEO Driscoll’s Latin America) on Driscoll’s commitment to sustainability and humans.
Rockstart AgriFood Program Director, Mark Durno, co-hosted the innovation stage with comedian Greg Shapiro to showcase 16 startups focused on innovating for positive impact on our food supply chain. The companies focused on various themes, such as microfinance for East African small holders (Agrics), pest recognition with IoT (AgroPestAlert), access to agricultural education (KDI Berries) and insect breeding and processing for protein (Bestico) amongst many others.
Partnering with forward thinking organisations like Koppert Biological Control is an essential element to any successful startup scaling. Rockstart AgriFood is committed to making these connections to give startups the best access to market.