FoodHack Demo Day: A Recap. A look back at the event and a look ahead at the future of FoodTech

FoodHack Demo Day: A Recap. A look back at the event and a look ahead at the future of FoodTech

By
Sam Panzer
October 11, 2021

So, what happened at the FoodHack Demo Day?

Last Wednesday featured FoodHack’s first ever Demo Day, which brought together the world’s leading FoodTech investors with 40 early-stage startups looking to change the future of food.

It was a whirlwind event, with each startup presenting via a 2-minute pitch followed by a round of Q&A from our four judges (better than Mark Cuban!).

This week, we’re recapping what went down on Wednesday: who pitched, who won, and what it all means for the future of FoodTech.

Demo Day, by the Numbers:

👀 40 startups made the cut to present out of 177 applicants.

🌍 16 countries represented (from Switzerland to China).

⏲️ 2 minute elevator pitches per startup.

🏅 3 winners selected by our panel of esteemed judges.

🤝 189 intros (and counting) between startups and investors.

Startups & Segments

The 40 participating startups are leading in some of the hottest segments of FoodTech (you can meet all 40 here). Here are the 8 categories represented by startups who pitched:

🛠️ Enabling Tech: innovative B2B tech (hardware and software) to power the next wave of food innovation. Think bioreactors and packaging equipment.

  • Batch included: Ark Biotech (just out of stealth).

🧪 Enabling Ingredients: novel ingredients offering new inputs for other food businesses. Functional nutrient inputs, growth mediums for cultivated meat, algae-derived colorants: it’s all there.

  • Batch included: Arkim, Biftek, Embion, MeliBio, Michroma, Moolec, Spira.

🌐 Marketplaces & Applications: new ways to connect people with products, often for the common good. Platforms for farmers to sell online, zero-waste delivery platforms, and recipe tools. 

  • Batch included: BEET, DeliverZero, GoodClub, FoodDock, Plant Jammer.

📦 Sustainable Packaging: our best shot at a planet not smothered in plastic. The next generation of biodegradability. 

  • Batch included: B'ZEOS, Mi Terro.

🛍️ Retail Tech: supporting more dynamic and sustainable retail environments. Adjustable pricing based on expiration dates and monitoring systems to reduce waste (and maximize profit).

  • Batch included: Innoscentia, Wasteless.

🍖 Alternative Proteins: we’re still in the first innings of the alt protein game, and entering a new phase of whole-muscle cuts, cultured meat, and new alt meats beyond chicken and beef.

  • Batch Included: Alfreds Food-Tech, Hargol FoodTech, Kinoko Labs, Revo Foods, Sundial Foods, Tebrito, Libre Foods.

🐮 Alternative Dairy/Milk: Veganizing the wide world of cheese products (as well as improving the functional and nutritional aspects of alt dairy) and creating nutritionally identical alternatives to human milk.

  • Batch Included: BIOMILQ, Cultivated Biosciences, De Novo Dairy, Time Travelling Milkman, Maolac.

🍽️ CPG / Meal Innovation: vegan chocolate bars, alcohol-free spirits, plant-based meal kits: this segment includes ready-to-eat goods as well as new ways for home cooks to prep dinner.

  • Batch Included: EASIP Drinks, Pa'lais, Mamamade, Fellow Creatures, Update Foods, Willicroft.

🤖 Robotics & Automation: breakthrough hardware and software solutions for the food industry, including tech to reduce waste in commercial kitchens, automated packaging and shipping, and robotic kitchens.

  • Batch Included: BeeSecure, Kitchen Robotics, IRRIOT, Kitro, Pick8ship.

Selection & Judges

In addition to the hundreds of investors on the Zoom call, we had four judges (coming from the VC, PE, CVC and governmental worlds) evaluating the startups and selecting three winners.  

Judges were tasked to pick based on 3 key criteria:

  • 🌎 Impact: What impact would this create if the company succeeds? 
  • 📈 Growth: How likely is this company to succeed? 
  • 💸 Investible: Would you put your own money into this today?

To level the playing field, judges were asked to select just one winning company per stage e.g. 1 from pre-seed, 1 from seed and 1 from Series A.

It wasn’t an easy choice: the quality of the startup pitches was damn impressive, but there always has to be a winner so:

🥁 The winners are…

🍯 MeliBio

Vegan honey isn’t just for the bees: farmed honeybees often end up competing with other natural pollinators (and winning), threatening wild species.

So it’s great news that MeliBio’s real honey made without bees is earning rave reviews from journalists and chefs. Their founder, Darko Mandich, has 10 years of experience in honey before turning vegan, and used that depth of knowledge to develop a product with the same composition and taste as real honey. 

Most impressively, they have a good handle on the applications of honey beyond bottles bought at the supermarket. Their eyes are on B2B applications, with strong market opportunity to sell into a booming vegan CPG market and food products with a lower glycemic index.

Source: MeliBio

 🚚 Pick8ship

Automated packing always felt like a futuristic moonshot, but the demo video Dr. Josef Haid shared spoke for itself. 

Their robotic picking and packing technology uses a smart storage system which enables a robot to seamlessly retrieve items from storage, stack them into vertical pods, and move them across a warehouse either to a human ready to pack a shopping bag or a vehicle ready for loading.

With several pilots in the works and a strong harmony between their robots and the APIs to support them, we were all impressed by the technical proof points, early market validation, and the strong possibility of liquidity events for Pick8ship.

Source: Pick8ship

🍖 Sundial Foods

It’s no secret: plant-based meats are taking off. But meat eaters want more from their plant-based alternatives, including the skin and bone they know and love.

That’s where Jessica Schwabach and her team at Sundial Foods impressed. Their chicken wings include an exterior layer of plant-based skin made via a novel processing technology which improves moisture retention and adds a familiar texture meat eaters love.

Early tasters are convinced. Sundial Foods together with the Nestle R&D team have launched a successful trial of their products in stores in Switzerland and the IndieBio-backed startup is now building out their industrial line for a 2022 commercial launch.

Source: Sundial Foods

🤷‍♂️ What’s next?

The 3 selected companies have been invited to pitch to our newly launched FoodHack Syndicate for a $100K to $200K investment by a group of foodtech focussed investors.

Additionally, all 3 startups receive a free ticket and startup booth at the FoodHack Summit in May 2022, key introductions to investors and corporates in Switzerland, and a visit to both the Nestlé and Givaudan R&D centers.

All participating startups also benefit from access to FoodHack’s investor network, and since last Wednesday we’ve made 189 introductions between attending startups and investors (with some of the most requested companies including Ark Biotech, B’ZEOS and Kinoko Tech).

🔮 What it means for FoodTech

One thing was clear: FoodTech is maturing.

The ‘early days’ of the FoodTech innovation featured a few flagship startups, Oatly, Beyond, Impossible (and all the delivery giants) trailblazing their way to success.

But our Demo Day suggests FoodTech is a much more populated and therefore resilient sector than it was two years ago. The diversity of companies in FoodTech means diversified risks when the economy turns. Additionally, the investment infrastructure is in place, with record number of funds raised (and more raising) and checks aplenty for the latest FoodTech solutions.

Backing this growth is a new generation of investors, corporations and governmental partners with a shared mission of a better food system for the people and the planet.

👀 What that future looks like..

The next chapter of FoodTech is more complete, interconnected and tasty than ever.

Think Spira’s algae-derived dyes and Time Traveling Milkman’s creamy plant-based fats together in a new product, packaged in a biodegradable B’ZEOS packaging, later picked and shipped by Pick8ship’s fulfilment robotics.

An Ark Biotech bioreactor producing cultivated BIOMILQ breastmilk, recommended by the community of parents on Mamamade’s meal platform.

A dark kitchen in Berlin creating delicious vegan fried chicken wings from Sundial Foods, prepared by the robotic arms of Kitchen Robotics and delivered waste-free via DeliverZero's platform.

Or (my favorite) a home chef cooking up a dinner with Libre Foods whole-cut mycelium steaks, washed down with a Whiskey Milk Punch made from EASIP's non-alcoholic distillates and Update Foods algae-based milk, finished off with a vegan baklava from MeliBio.

Now that's a future of food I can get behind. Onwards 🚀

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So, what happened at the FoodHack Demo Day?

Last Wednesday featured FoodHack’s first ever Demo Day, which brought together the world’s leading FoodTech investors with 40 early-stage startups looking to change the future of food.

It was a whirlwind event, with each startup presenting via a 2-minute pitch followed by a round of Q&A from our four judges (better than Mark Cuban!).

This week, we’re recapping what went down on Wednesday: who pitched, who won, and what it all means for the future of FoodTech.

Demo Day, by the Numbers:

👀 40 startups made the cut to present out of 177 applicants.

🌍 16 countries represented (from Switzerland to China).

⏲️ 2 minute elevator pitches per startup.

🏅 3 winners selected by our panel of esteemed judges.

🤝 189 intros (and counting) between startups and investors.

Startups & Segments

The 40 participating startups are leading in some of the hottest segments of FoodTech (you can meet all 40 here). Here are the 8 categories represented by startups who pitched:

🛠️ Enabling Tech: innovative B2B tech (hardware and software) to power the next wave of food innovation. Think bioreactors and packaging equipment.

  • Batch included: Ark Biotech (just out of stealth).

🧪 Enabling Ingredients: novel ingredients offering new inputs for other food businesses. Functional nutrient inputs, growth mediums for cultivated meat, algae-derived colorants: it’s all there.

  • Batch included: Arkim, Biftek, Embion, MeliBio, Michroma, Moolec, Spira.

🌐 Marketplaces & Applications: new ways to connect people with products, often for the common good. Platforms for farmers to sell online, zero-waste delivery platforms, and recipe tools. 

  • Batch included: BEET, DeliverZero, GoodClub, FoodDock, Plant Jammer.

📦 Sustainable Packaging: our best shot at a planet not smothered in plastic. The next generation of biodegradability. 

  • Batch included: B'ZEOS, Mi Terro.

🛍️ Retail Tech: supporting more dynamic and sustainable retail environments. Adjustable pricing based on expiration dates and monitoring systems to reduce waste (and maximize profit).

  • Batch included: Innoscentia, Wasteless.

🍖 Alternative Proteins: we’re still in the first innings of the alt protein game, and entering a new phase of whole-muscle cuts, cultured meat, and new alt meats beyond chicken and beef.

  • Batch Included: Alfreds Food-Tech, Hargol FoodTech, Kinoko Labs, Revo Foods, Sundial Foods, Tebrito, Libre Foods.

🐮 Alternative Dairy/Milk: Veganizing the wide world of cheese products (as well as improving the functional and nutritional aspects of alt dairy) and creating nutritionally identical alternatives to human milk.

  • Batch Included: BIOMILQ, Cultivated Biosciences, De Novo Dairy, Time Travelling Milkman, Maolac.

🍽️ CPG / Meal Innovation: vegan chocolate bars, alcohol-free spirits, plant-based meal kits: this segment includes ready-to-eat goods as well as new ways for home cooks to prep dinner.

  • Batch Included: EASIP Drinks, Pa'lais, Mamamade, Fellow Creatures, Update Foods, Willicroft.

🤖 Robotics & Automation: breakthrough hardware and software solutions for the food industry, including tech to reduce waste in commercial kitchens, automated packaging and shipping, and robotic kitchens.

  • Batch Included: BeeSecure, Kitchen Robotics, IRRIOT, Kitro, Pick8ship.

Selection & Judges

In addition to the hundreds of investors on the Zoom call, we had four judges (coming from the VC, PE, CVC and governmental worlds) evaluating the startups and selecting three winners.  

Judges were tasked to pick based on 3 key criteria:

  • 🌎 Impact: What impact would this create if the company succeeds? 
  • 📈 Growth: How likely is this company to succeed? 
  • 💸 Investible: Would you put your own money into this today?

To level the playing field, judges were asked to select just one winning company per stage e.g. 1 from pre-seed, 1 from seed and 1 from Series A.

It wasn’t an easy choice: the quality of the startup pitches was damn impressive, but there always has to be a winner so:

🥁 The winners are…

🍯 MeliBio

Vegan honey isn’t just for the bees: farmed honeybees often end up competing with other natural pollinators (and winning), threatening wild species.

So it’s great news that MeliBio’s real honey made without bees is earning rave reviews from journalists and chefs. Their founder, Darko Mandich, has 10 years of experience in honey before turning vegan, and used that depth of knowledge to develop a product with the same composition and taste as real honey. 

Most impressively, they have a good handle on the applications of honey beyond bottles bought at the supermarket. Their eyes are on B2B applications, with strong market opportunity to sell into a booming vegan CPG market and food products with a lower glycemic index.

Source: MeliBio

 🚚 Pick8ship

Automated packing always felt like a futuristic moonshot, but the demo video Dr. Josef Haid shared spoke for itself. 

Their robotic picking and packing technology uses a smart storage system which enables a robot to seamlessly retrieve items from storage, stack them into vertical pods, and move them across a warehouse either to a human ready to pack a shopping bag or a vehicle ready for loading.

With several pilots in the works and a strong harmony between their robots and the APIs to support them, we were all impressed by the technical proof points, early market validation, and the strong possibility of liquidity events for Pick8ship.

Source: Pick8ship

🍖 Sundial Foods

It’s no secret: plant-based meats are taking off. But meat eaters want more from their plant-based alternatives, including the skin and bone they know and love.

That’s where Jessica Schwabach and her team at Sundial Foods impressed. Their chicken wings include an exterior layer of plant-based skin made via a novel processing technology which improves moisture retention and adds a familiar texture meat eaters love.

Early tasters are convinced. Sundial Foods together with the Nestle R&D team have launched a successful trial of their products in stores in Switzerland and the IndieBio-backed startup is now building out their industrial line for a 2022 commercial launch.

Source: Sundial Foods

🤷‍♂️ What’s next?

The 3 selected companies have been invited to pitch to our newly launched FoodHack Syndicate for a $100K to $200K investment by a group of foodtech focussed investors.

Additionally, all 3 startups receive a free ticket and startup booth at the FoodHack Summit in May 2022, key introductions to investors and corporates in Switzerland, and a visit to both the Nestlé and Givaudan R&D centers.

All participating startups also benefit from access to FoodHack’s investor network, and since last Wednesday we’ve made 189 introductions between attending startups and investors (with some of the most requested companies including Ark Biotech, B’ZEOS and Kinoko Tech).

🔮 What it means for FoodTech

One thing was clear: FoodTech is maturing.

The ‘early days’ of the FoodTech innovation featured a few flagship startups, Oatly, Beyond, Impossible (and all the delivery giants) trailblazing their way to success.

But our Demo Day suggests FoodTech is a much more populated and therefore resilient sector than it was two years ago. The diversity of companies in FoodTech means diversified risks when the economy turns. Additionally, the investment infrastructure is in place, with record number of funds raised (and more raising) and checks aplenty for the latest FoodTech solutions.

Backing this growth is a new generation of investors, corporations and governmental partners with a shared mission of a better food system for the people and the planet.

👀 What that future looks like..

The next chapter of FoodTech is more complete, interconnected and tasty than ever.

Think Spira’s algae-derived dyes and Time Traveling Milkman’s creamy plant-based fats together in a new product, packaged in a biodegradable B’ZEOS packaging, later picked and shipped by Pick8ship’s fulfilment robotics.

An Ark Biotech bioreactor producing cultivated BIOMILQ breastmilk, recommended by the community of parents on Mamamade’s meal platform.

A dark kitchen in Berlin creating delicious vegan fried chicken wings from Sundial Foods, prepared by the robotic arms of Kitchen Robotics and delivered waste-free via DeliverZero's platform.

Or (my favorite) a home chef cooking up a dinner with Libre Foods whole-cut mycelium steaks, washed down with a Whiskey Milk Punch made from EASIP's non-alcoholic distillates and Update Foods algae-based milk, finished off with a vegan baklava from MeliBio.

Now that's a future of food I can get behind. Onwards 🚀

So, what happened at the FoodHack Demo Day?

Last Wednesday featured FoodHack’s first ever Demo Day, which brought together the world’s leading FoodTech investors with 40 early-stage startups looking to change the future of food.

It was a whirlwind event, with each startup presenting via a 2-minute pitch followed by a round of Q&A from our four judges (better than Mark Cuban!).

This week, we’re recapping what went down on Wednesday: who pitched, who won, and what it all means for the future of FoodTech.

Demo Day, by the Numbers:

👀 40 startups made the cut to present out of 177 applicants.

🌍 16 countries represented (from Switzerland to China).

⏲️ 2 minute elevator pitches per startup.

🏅 3 winners selected by our panel of esteemed judges.

🤝 189 intros (and counting) between startups and investors.

Startups & Segments

The 40 participating startups are leading in some of the hottest segments of FoodTech (you can meet all 40 here). Here are the 8 categories represented by startups who pitched:

🛠️ Enabling Tech: innovative B2B tech (hardware and software) to power the next wave of food innovation. Think bioreactors and packaging equipment.

  • Batch included: Ark Biotech (just out of stealth).

🧪 Enabling Ingredients: novel ingredients offering new inputs for other food businesses. Functional nutrient inputs, growth mediums for cultivated meat, algae-derived colorants: it’s all there.

  • Batch included: Arkim, Biftek, Embion, MeliBio, Michroma, Moolec, Spira.

🌐 Marketplaces & Applications: new ways to connect people with products, often for the common good. Platforms for farmers to sell online, zero-waste delivery platforms, and recipe tools. 

  • Batch included: BEET, DeliverZero, GoodClub, FoodDock, Plant Jammer.

📦 Sustainable Packaging: our best shot at a planet not smothered in plastic. The next generation of biodegradability. 

  • Batch included: B'ZEOS, Mi Terro.

🛍️ Retail Tech: supporting more dynamic and sustainable retail environments. Adjustable pricing based on expiration dates and monitoring systems to reduce waste (and maximize profit).

  • Batch included: Innoscentia, Wasteless.

🍖 Alternative Proteins: we’re still in the first innings of the alt protein game, and entering a new phase of whole-muscle cuts, cultured meat, and new alt meats beyond chicken and beef.

  • Batch Included: Alfreds Food-Tech, Hargol FoodTech, Kinoko Labs, Revo Foods, Sundial Foods, Tebrito, Libre Foods.

🐮 Alternative Dairy/Milk: Veganizing the wide world of cheese products (as well as improving the functional and nutritional aspects of alt dairy) and creating nutritionally identical alternatives to human milk.

  • Batch Included: BIOMILQ, Cultivated Biosciences, De Novo Dairy, Time Travelling Milkman, Maolac.

🍽️ CPG / Meal Innovation: vegan chocolate bars, alcohol-free spirits, plant-based meal kits: this segment includes ready-to-eat goods as well as new ways for home cooks to prep dinner.

  • Batch Included: EASIP Drinks, Pa'lais, Mamamade, Fellow Creatures, Update Foods, Willicroft.

🤖 Robotics & Automation: breakthrough hardware and software solutions for the food industry, including tech to reduce waste in commercial kitchens, automated packaging and shipping, and robotic kitchens.

  • Batch Included: BeeSecure, Kitchen Robotics, IRRIOT, Kitro, Pick8ship.

Selection & Judges

In addition to the hundreds of investors on the Zoom call, we had four judges (coming from the VC, PE, CVC and governmental worlds) evaluating the startups and selecting three winners.  

Judges were tasked to pick based on 3 key criteria:

  • 🌎 Impact: What impact would this create if the company succeeds? 
  • 📈 Growth: How likely is this company to succeed? 
  • 💸 Investible: Would you put your own money into this today?

To level the playing field, judges were asked to select just one winning company per stage e.g. 1 from pre-seed, 1 from seed and 1 from Series A.

It wasn’t an easy choice: the quality of the startup pitches was damn impressive, but there always has to be a winner so:

🥁 The winners are…

🍯 MeliBio

Vegan honey isn’t just for the bees: farmed honeybees often end up competing with other natural pollinators (and winning), threatening wild species.

So it’s great news that MeliBio’s real honey made without bees is earning rave reviews from journalists and chefs. Their founder, Darko Mandich, has 10 years of experience in honey before turning vegan, and used that depth of knowledge to develop a product with the same composition and taste as real honey. 

Most impressively, they have a good handle on the applications of honey beyond bottles bought at the supermarket. Their eyes are on B2B applications, with strong market opportunity to sell into a booming vegan CPG market and food products with a lower glycemic index.

Source: MeliBio

 🚚 Pick8ship

Automated packing always felt like a futuristic moonshot, but the demo video Dr. Josef Haid shared spoke for itself. 

Their robotic picking and packing technology uses a smart storage system which enables a robot to seamlessly retrieve items from storage, stack them into vertical pods, and move them across a warehouse either to a human ready to pack a shopping bag or a vehicle ready for loading.

With several pilots in the works and a strong harmony between their robots and the APIs to support them, we were all impressed by the technical proof points, early market validation, and the strong possibility of liquidity events for Pick8ship.

Source: Pick8ship

🍖 Sundial Foods

It’s no secret: plant-based meats are taking off. But meat eaters want more from their plant-based alternatives, including the skin and bone they know and love.

That’s where Jessica Schwabach and her team at Sundial Foods impressed. Their chicken wings include an exterior layer of plant-based skin made via a novel processing technology which improves moisture retention and adds a familiar texture meat eaters love.

Early tasters are convinced. Sundial Foods together with the Nestle R&D team have launched a successful trial of their products in stores in Switzerland and the IndieBio-backed startup is now building out their industrial line for a 2022 commercial launch.

Source: Sundial Foods

🤷‍♂️ What’s next?

The 3 selected companies have been invited to pitch to our newly launched FoodHack Syndicate for a $100K to $200K investment by a group of foodtech focussed investors.

Additionally, all 3 startups receive a free ticket and startup booth at the FoodHack Summit in May 2022, key introductions to investors and corporates in Switzerland, and a visit to both the Nestlé and Givaudan R&D centers.

All participating startups also benefit from access to FoodHack’s investor network, and since last Wednesday we’ve made 189 introductions between attending startups and investors (with some of the most requested companies including Ark Biotech, B’ZEOS and Kinoko Tech).

🔮 What it means for FoodTech

One thing was clear: FoodTech is maturing.

The ‘early days’ of the FoodTech innovation featured a few flagship startups, Oatly, Beyond, Impossible (and all the delivery giants) trailblazing their way to success.

But our Demo Day suggests FoodTech is a much more populated and therefore resilient sector than it was two years ago. The diversity of companies in FoodTech means diversified risks when the economy turns. Additionally, the investment infrastructure is in place, with record number of funds raised (and more raising) and checks aplenty for the latest FoodTech solutions.

Backing this growth is a new generation of investors, corporations and governmental partners with a shared mission of a better food system for the people and the planet.

👀 What that future looks like..

The next chapter of FoodTech is more complete, interconnected and tasty than ever.

Think Spira’s algae-derived dyes and Time Traveling Milkman’s creamy plant-based fats together in a new product, packaged in a biodegradable B’ZEOS packaging, later picked and shipped by Pick8ship’s fulfilment robotics.

An Ark Biotech bioreactor producing cultivated BIOMILQ breastmilk, recommended by the community of parents on Mamamade’s meal platform.

A dark kitchen in Berlin creating delicious vegan fried chicken wings from Sundial Foods, prepared by the robotic arms of Kitchen Robotics and delivered waste-free via DeliverZero's platform.

Or (my favorite) a home chef cooking up a dinner with Libre Foods whole-cut mycelium steaks, washed down with a Whiskey Milk Punch made from EASIP's non-alcoholic distillates and Update Foods algae-based milk, finished off with a vegan baklava from MeliBio.

Now that's a future of food I can get behind. Onwards 🚀

So, what happened at the FoodHack Demo Day?

Last Wednesday featured FoodHack’s first ever Demo Day, which brought together the world’s leading FoodTech investors with 40 early-stage startups looking to change the future of food.

It was a whirlwind event, with each startup presenting via a 2-minute pitch followed by a round of Q&A from our four judges (better than Mark Cuban!).

This week, we’re recapping what went down on Wednesday: who pitched, who won, and what it all means for the future of FoodTech.

Demo Day, by the Numbers:

👀 40 startups made the cut to present out of 177 applicants.

🌍 16 countries represented (from Switzerland to China).

⏲️ 2 minute elevator pitches per startup.

🏅 3 winners selected by our panel of esteemed judges.

🤝 189 intros (and counting) between startups and investors.

Startups & Segments

The 40 participating startups are leading in some of the hottest segments of FoodTech (you can meet all 40 here). Here are the 8 categories represented by startups who pitched:

🛠️ Enabling Tech: innovative B2B tech (hardware and software) to power the next wave of food innovation. Think bioreactors and packaging equipment.

  • Batch included: Ark Biotech (just out of stealth).

🧪 Enabling Ingredients: novel ingredients offering new inputs for other food businesses. Functional nutrient inputs, growth mediums for cultivated meat, algae-derived colorants: it’s all there.

  • Batch included: Arkim, Biftek, Embion, MeliBio, Michroma, Moolec, Spira.

🌐 Marketplaces & Applications: new ways to connect people with products, often for the common good. Platforms for farmers to sell online, zero-waste delivery platforms, and recipe tools. 

  • Batch included: BEET, DeliverZero, GoodClub, FoodDock, Plant Jammer.

📦 Sustainable Packaging: our best shot at a planet not smothered in plastic. The next generation of biodegradability. 

  • Batch included: B'ZEOS, Mi Terro.

🛍️ Retail Tech: supporting more dynamic and sustainable retail environments. Adjustable pricing based on expiration dates and monitoring systems to reduce waste (and maximize profit).

  • Batch included: Innoscentia, Wasteless.

🍖 Alternative Proteins: we’re still in the first innings of the alt protein game, and entering a new phase of whole-muscle cuts, cultured meat, and new alt meats beyond chicken and beef.

  • Batch Included: Alfreds Food-Tech, Hargol FoodTech, Kinoko Labs, Revo Foods, Sundial Foods, Tebrito, Libre Foods.

🐮 Alternative Dairy/Milk: Veganizing the wide world of cheese products (as well as improving the functional and nutritional aspects of alt dairy) and creating nutritionally identical alternatives to human milk.

  • Batch Included: BIOMILQ, Cultivated Biosciences, De Novo Dairy, Time Travelling Milkman, Maolac.

🍽️ CPG / Meal Innovation: vegan chocolate bars, alcohol-free spirits, plant-based meal kits: this segment includes ready-to-eat goods as well as new ways for home cooks to prep dinner.

  • Batch Included: EASIP Drinks, Pa'lais, Mamamade, Fellow Creatures, Update Foods, Willicroft.

🤖 Robotics & Automation: breakthrough hardware and software solutions for the food industry, including tech to reduce waste in commercial kitchens, automated packaging and shipping, and robotic kitchens.

  • Batch Included: BeeSecure, Kitchen Robotics, IRRIOT, Kitro, Pick8ship.

Selection & Judges

In addition to the hundreds of investors on the Zoom call, we had four judges (coming from the VC, PE, CVC and governmental worlds) evaluating the startups and selecting three winners.  

Judges were tasked to pick based on 3 key criteria:

  • 🌎 Impact: What impact would this create if the company succeeds? 
  • 📈 Growth: How likely is this company to succeed? 
  • 💸 Investible: Would you put your own money into this today?

To level the playing field, judges were asked to select just one winning company per stage e.g. 1 from pre-seed, 1 from seed and 1 from Series A.

It wasn’t an easy choice: the quality of the startup pitches was damn impressive, but there always has to be a winner so:

🥁 The winners are…

🍯 MeliBio

Vegan honey isn’t just for the bees: farmed honeybees often end up competing with other natural pollinators (and winning), threatening wild species.

So it’s great news that MeliBio’s real honey made without bees is earning rave reviews from journalists and chefs. Their founder, Darko Mandich, has 10 years of experience in honey before turning vegan, and used that depth of knowledge to develop a product with the same composition and taste as real honey. 

Most impressively, they have a good handle on the applications of honey beyond bottles bought at the supermarket. Their eyes are on B2B applications, with strong market opportunity to sell into a booming vegan CPG market and food products with a lower glycemic index.

Source: MeliBio

 🚚 Pick8ship

Automated packing always felt like a futuristic moonshot, but the demo video Dr. Josef Haid shared spoke for itself. 

Their robotic picking and packing technology uses a smart storage system which enables a robot to seamlessly retrieve items from storage, stack them into vertical pods, and move them across a warehouse either to a human ready to pack a shopping bag or a vehicle ready for loading.

With several pilots in the works and a strong harmony between their robots and the APIs to support them, we were all impressed by the technical proof points, early market validation, and the strong possibility of liquidity events for Pick8ship.

Source: Pick8ship

🍖 Sundial Foods

It’s no secret: plant-based meats are taking off. But meat eaters want more from their plant-based alternatives, including the skin and bone they know and love.

That’s where Jessica Schwabach and her team at Sundial Foods impressed. Their chicken wings include an exterior layer of plant-based skin made via a novel processing technology which improves moisture retention and adds a familiar texture meat eaters love.

Early tasters are convinced. Sundial Foods together with the Nestle R&D team have launched a successful trial of their products in stores in Switzerland and the IndieBio-backed startup is now building out their industrial line for a 2022 commercial launch.

Source: Sundial Foods

🤷‍♂️ What’s next?

The 3 selected companies have been invited to pitch to our newly launched FoodHack Syndicate for a $100K to $200K investment by a group of foodtech focussed investors.

Additionally, all 3 startups receive a free ticket and startup booth at the FoodHack Summit in May 2022, key introductions to investors and corporates in Switzerland, and a visit to both the Nestlé and Givaudan R&D centers.

All participating startups also benefit from access to FoodHack’s investor network, and since last Wednesday we’ve made 189 introductions between attending startups and investors (with some of the most requested companies including Ark Biotech, B’ZEOS and Kinoko Tech).

🔮 What it means for FoodTech

One thing was clear: FoodTech is maturing.

The ‘early days’ of the FoodTech innovation featured a few flagship startups, Oatly, Beyond, Impossible (and all the delivery giants) trailblazing their way to success.

But our Demo Day suggests FoodTech is a much more populated and therefore resilient sector than it was two years ago. The diversity of companies in FoodTech means diversified risks when the economy turns. Additionally, the investment infrastructure is in place, with record number of funds raised (and more raising) and checks aplenty for the latest FoodTech solutions.

Backing this growth is a new generation of investors, corporations and governmental partners with a shared mission of a better food system for the people and the planet.

👀 What that future looks like..

The next chapter of FoodTech is more complete, interconnected and tasty than ever.

Think Spira’s algae-derived dyes and Time Traveling Milkman’s creamy plant-based fats together in a new product, packaged in a biodegradable B’ZEOS packaging, later picked and shipped by Pick8ship’s fulfilment robotics.

An Ark Biotech bioreactor producing cultivated BIOMILQ breastmilk, recommended by the community of parents on Mamamade’s meal platform.

A dark kitchen in Berlin creating delicious vegan fried chicken wings from Sundial Foods, prepared by the robotic arms of Kitchen Robotics and delivered waste-free via DeliverZero's platform.

Or (my favorite) a home chef cooking up a dinner with Libre Foods whole-cut mycelium steaks, washed down with a Whiskey Milk Punch made from EASIP's non-alcoholic distillates and Update Foods algae-based milk, finished off with a vegan baklava from MeliBio.

Now that's a future of food I can get behind. Onwards 🚀

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