The Dutch agrifoodtech accelerator StartLife has selected nine European startups for its 2020 fall cohort. The startups are introducing new technologies that tackle global challenges such as diminishing food waste, boosting sustainable production and enhancing productivity. StartLife helps them with funding, training and global partnerships.

According to McKinsey, agriculture is among the least digitized of all major industries. With technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, encapsulation, RFID and spectrometers StartLife’s new batch of startups is keen to modernize and reshape the food industry. The following companies make up StartLife’s fifth cohort:

  • Blakbear (UK) - Package-level freshness visibility boosting product shelf-life
  • Healthycrop (Denmark) - Solutions that enable fungicide free agriculture
  • Iamus (Ireland) - Revolutionize the poultry industry with robotics and AI
  • 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

Deep dives

Even with almost 10 years of experience as an accelerator, deciding which startups StartLife accepts to its support program isn’t easy. Loet Rammelsberg, program director of StartLife: “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 together. Obviously 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.”

In the coming months the startups will be diving deep into their businesses. They will validate their customers segments, refine their propositions and prepare for attracting growth capital and partnerships that will spur their business development. On 9 December the startups will finalize the acceleration program with a presentation to an international audience of investors, corporates and other stakeholders from the agrifood industry.

‘Zoom-ing’ into Europe

In response to the coronavirus pandemic StartLife went fully remote with its flagship Accelerate program in the spring edition of this year. This time the program is fully virtual from the outset. Loet Rammelsberg: “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.”

Whilst the startups indeed appreciate the remote program, they are 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”, adds Flora Vogelzang, program coordinator of StartLife.

10-year anniversary

With the fifth cohort StartLife will also celebrate its 10th anniversary on 5 November. The anniversary coincides with the opening of a brand new office building on Wageningen Campus. The new building is shared with various organizations involved in boosting entrepreneurship and innovation, and, not least important, with numerous agrifood startups and scale-ups. Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, announces that more exciting news is yet to come in the coming months.

 

About StartLife

StartLife is the Wageningen-based agrifoodtech accelerator that helps impact driven startups grow into leading enterprises. Since its foundation in 2010, StartLife has built, supported and funded 300+ startups, propelling breakthrough technologies in the domains of food and agriculture. StartLife offers a world-class acceleration program, top industry business mentors, non-equity funding and access to a thriving community of startups, investors, corporates and experts.

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