Let’s meet at the HackSummit:
Find out who else is joining us
Let’s meet at the HackSummit: Find out who else is joining us
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What's on the Menu at the HackSummit?

At this year’s HackSummit we’ll be talking all about the future of food and climate.

So we’ve packed the Summit menu with some of the most exciting foods and drinks to give you a taste of the future and keep you fuelled throughout the two days.

Check out these top plant-based brands you'll have the chance to try in Lausanne on 11-12th May:

Breakfast. Start the day with:

Biofruits’ organic fruit and cereal bars.

FelFel’s large selection of freshly prepared meals with a low CO2 footprint, made by partner chefs located throughout Switzerland.

Lunch. The HackSummit Food Trucks are back by popular demand.

We’re working with Chef Brice Jacverzac to serve:  

Planted Chicken in Vietnamese style Banh Mi.

Revyve’s cruelty-free, sustainable burgers and Revyve Mayonneggless made with circular yeast protein.

Libre’s mushroom-based bacon in a caesar salad with zucchini, lettuce, arugula, bread croutons, and pine nuts.

Current Foods tuna in Maki with spinach and cucumbers, served with vegan sriracha mayo and topped with sesame seeds.

Heura Foods chicken chunks in Bao Buns with guacamole, pico de gallo and salade rucola.

Kynda x The Raging Pig Co bratwurst

Followed by:

Paleta Loca’s handmade artisanal ice cream in hibiscus-Raspberry, Mango-Passion fruit & Chocolate.

Scoops of Oba! feel-good Swiss chocolate, cappuccino, cocotella and crunchy caramel peanut ice cream as well as two sorbets of strawberry and pineapple-mint.

Evening. Wrap up the summit day with:

Local beers from Vaud Promotion

Super Natural Club’s organic and natural Swiss craft soft drinks.

Siradis’ mix of delicious vegan snacks that are “better for you”.

Redefine Meat pulled pork tacos.

Enjoy throughout the summit:

BettaF!sh TU-NAH sandwiches in three mouth-watering flavors to bring seaweed into the mainstream.

Culligan Switzerland’s convenient water coolers for fresher, better-tasting water.

Plus all the summit food will be served in Ozarka zero waste packaging.

Look out for plenty more samples and tasting opportunities throughout the startup fair and over the two days in Lausanne.

One thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry!

Book your place and join us at the HackSummit on 11-12th May to meet the founders of many of these brands and try their food and drinks.

Why these 6 Scandinavian entrepreneurs-turned-investors launched Europe’s latest FoodTech Fund

Denmark set an international precedent with the world’s first national action plan for plant-based foods. 

And in terms of the bioeconomy, this Nordic country is the HQ for Europe’s largest company, Novo Holdings.

As of today it’s also home to the latest FoodTech fund investing in the bioeconomy. 

Based in Copenhagen, Kost Capital comes out of stealth to announce its first close of a 25M€ fund with EIFO.

Could they be your startup’s next investor? 

Here’s what you need to know:

The team behind the fund are Kasper Hulthin, Christian Tang-Jespersen, Mark Emil Hermansen, Jacob Lee Ørnstrand, alongside General Partner Bodil Sidén and Paul Archambeau.

They are builders and investors who have founded, scaled and sold exceptional companies, bringing vast experience in FoodTech and the bioeconomy. 

Together, they are on a mission to become the best co-investor in Europe by teaming up with fellow FoodTech investors - as well as more generalist investors that need a specialised partner.

Besides capital, what does Kost Capital offer startups?

Kost Capital shares its office space with Kost Studio, a food development Studio experts in the flavour, historical and technical aspects of developing novel food products. 

The VC ensures quality in their investments as well as bringing the best innovation from universities across Europe and taking it to the market. 

Kost Capital and Kost Studio bridge the funding and commercialisation gap FoodTech companies have so often struggled with. 

What’s one strong opinion Kost Capital holds about investing in FoodTech?

To commercialize early. 

Bodil Sidén, General Partner explains why: ‘Even though FoodTech is often more R&D heavy it is the absolute key to bring on commercial partners onboard early to be able to iterate and fail fast. 

It is harder for FoodTech companies than for software companies to reach this, but also much more important. This requires a strong network, creativity and a deep understanding of how the food industry works.’

Who’s already in their portfolio? And how can you be next?

Kost Capital has already invested in Äio, sustainable fats and oils, Numi, french infant formula company and Nutrumami, an ingredient company enabling a plant-based diet. 

They are constantly assessing new investment opportunities within food, powered by the bioeconomy, so if you want to get on their radar:

2022's most active FoodTech investors and who they're investing in

Who writes the checks in FoodTech?

Like last year, we’ve surveyed the field to see the most active investors in the space, and are sharing that data publicly. Our goal? Help startups and investors understand the foodtech investment landscape, and shout out the leaders funding the future of food.

💯 In all, we identified 106 noteworthy investors. They’re a mix of foodtech-focused VCs (47%) or crossover VCs (33%), with some corporate funds (12%), accelerators / incubators (5%), and syndicates (2%).

👩 34% of this year’s funds are female-led, about the same as last year (32%), though is higher than the 15% of European VC general partners who are women. In the broader venture industry, women represent 43% of directors and principals, but only 18% of GPs.

🌎 Most of our profiled investors are based in EMEA (55%), though the USA (32%) is the most active individual country. 9% of our investors are APAC-based, and just 2% are in LATAM.

↔️ We see a wide spread of investment activity, with a median of 4 deals per investor but an average of 8.3. The median check size is $1m (though the average is $2.8m, as larger checks pull the mean up).

Sources: FoodHack, Crunchbase+, Dealroom

It’s not a simple year to be raising or investing. So let’s take a look at who’s out there –– after a quick recap on total investment volume and trends we’re observing as we put a wrap on 2022.

2022 dealflow: smaller checks
⬇️ Deal volume is down (especially big deals)

Foodtech deal volume is down significantly this year after peaking in Q3 2021. Per Dealroom data, total $ volume decreased 65% in Q3 compared to 2021 –– a massive hit, to say the least.

The downturn was most extreme in the near total absence of ‘megarounds’ like Infarm’s $200M Series D in Dec 21 or Gorillas’ $1B Series C in October 2021, largely meant to fuel continued rapid growth before an IPO or serious M&A activity.

Since Russia expanded its war in Ukraine in February, enough market uncertainty has chilled IPOs and large acquisitions (while valuation multiples sank), meaning the top-dollar investment rounds have all but vanished.

In Q3 2021, there were 490 foodtech rounds < $4m (pre-seed and seed), according to Dealroom. In Q3 2022, there were 422. That 14% decrease is certainly meaningful, but the VC dropoff is so far concentrated on later-stage larger rounds. Those large rounds (>$100m) made up 60% of the Q3 2021 deal volume (in $), but are just 31% of Q3 2022’s volume.

Sources: Crunchbase+, Dealroom

⚠️ Less cash, more caution

There’s less cash and more caution than there was a year ago, thanks to fiscal policy, inflation, and general uncertainty. Investors have enjoyed an unprecedented 13 years of growth-minded fiscal policy, with policymakers keeping interest rates low and pumping money into markets through the pandemic. But as demand peaked in 2021, supply fell apart. That, combined with the destabilizing effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, drove runaway inflation (which happens when there’s too much cash for too little goods).

In response, policymakers cranked up interest rates to pull money out of the economy and temper inflation. Inflation is easing and employment remains strong, but in my opinion, the downswing is just getting started.

👋 Crossover investors have left the chat…

2019-2021 saw an influx of new investors flocking to foodtech, largely VC funds previously focused on high-margin software products or new players without a specific investment thesis.

With low interest rates and lots of cash, these crossover investors largely saw foodtech as an exciting and high-risk asset class (with a climate-friendly halo effect), following the scent of high-profile companies like Beyond Meat.

Now, with high interest rates, cooled growth, modest valuation multiples, and few blockbuster IPO success stories, these crossover investors pulled back from foodtech. The loss of that capital is painful (and will hurt through 2023), and we’re not sure if or when the space will see this kind of outside interest again.

🍏…but foodtech-focused investors are here to stay

However, we do see the most active investors are staying active in the space. Of our 25 most active investors last year, 12 have increased their investment volume, while 13 decreased. This year’s top 25 made 63 more investments than in 2021.

Source: FoodHack

25 most active FoodTech investors in 2022 (in terms of deal count)*

🥇SOSV: with 56 investments this year and over $1.5B in assets under management, multistage VC SOSV’s portfolio grew this year to include companies like UPSIDE Foods, Milk Moovement, and NovoNutrients.

🧑‍🔬 FoodLabs: Berlin-based FoodLabs backs a range of leading foodtech startups across the entire foodtech value chain, including alt protein (Bosque Foods), vertical farming (Infarm), delivery (Gorillas), and consumer tech (mitte). 47 investments in 2022.

💡Big Idea Ventures: alt-protein fund and accelerator Big Idea made 48 investments (including 36 new investments) this year in startups like Animal Alternative, MeliBio, and Minutri (Lypid) via their $50m New Protein Fund. Based in NYC, Paris and Singapore.

🍃 S2G Ventures: with 45 multi-stage investments (including 18 led and 9 co-led) this year, Chicago-based S2G invests across food & ag with new investments in Atomo Coffee, Sound Agriculture, and Soli Organic joining a strong portfolio including Everytable, sweetgreen, Beyond Meat, and Apeel Sciences.

🤘Rockstart AgriFood: investing to improve our food system ‘from soil to gut,’ Rockstart has inked 42 investments this year in startups like MoooFarm, Orderlion, and Fieldsense.  

🌎 Siddhi Capital: with excellent operational and outsourcing experience under co-managing partners Melissa Facchina and Steven Finn, Siddhi Capital invested in 35 startups like Ark Biotech, Liberation Labs, and Melibio to expand a strong portfolio including Magic Spoon, BlueNalu, and Beyond Meat.

🥕ProVeg: 30 investments via ProVeg Incubator under the ProVeg International NGO. Strong track record and focus on reducing consumption of animal-based products, with new investments in Libre Foods, Cultivated Biosciences, Bifidice, and ØZERS.

🌱 AgFunder: 30 investments across their accelerator program and impact fund, including 25 new investments. Highlight investments include Black Sheep Foods, Mooji Meats, Reel Seafood, Umaro Foods, Faeth Therapeutics, and Yeap Proteins.

💜HackCapital: with 24 investments, HackCapital’s 2022 investment highlights include Plantish, Hyfé Foods, Arkeon and Forsea Foods. Unlike other VCs on the list, HackCapital operates like a syndicate with a global group of climate-focused investors participating in rounds together, offering startups access to a wider group of angels & advisors, without cluttering the cap table.

🟦 Blue Horizon: Zürich-based foodtech VC Blue Horizon made 23 investments this year in pre-seed and growth companies like Atomo Coffee, Planetary, and Nucicer. Portfolio includes plant-based, cultivated meat, and synbio startups like Planted, Mosa Meat, and Geltor.

🌊 Astanor Ventures: Astanor’s 23 investments this year include Umiami, Planetary, and Source Ag, across regenerative food, ag, and ocean products. Prior investments include Stockeld Dreamery, Apeel, and Ynsect.

🧠 Gullspång Re:food: 21 investments from €5-10m in startups like Agreena Aps, Mission Barns, and Everytable, joining a portfolio including Oatly, and Planted.  

🧑‍🌾 AgFunder: VC platform AgFunder added 18 investments with check sizes up to $1.8m, backing startups like Black Sheep Foods, Nom Nom Nom, Mooji Meats, and Reel Seafood. Diverse portfolio across food and agtech includes MycoWorks, Bear Flag Robotics, and Jüsto.

🌐 Döhler Ventures: the corporate VC’s 18 2022 investments include Clean Food Group and Willicroft, focused on nutrition, plant-based, and ingredient tech. Portfolio includes Lyre’s spirit co, Mighty pea, and Vrai.

🌉 PeakBridge: with check sizes up to $5m, PeakBridge’s 18 investments this year include Rival Foods, Standing Ovation, and Forsea Foods.

🇳🇱 DSM Venturing BV: the Dutch multinational’s venture arm made 16 investments and led 13 deals this year, averaging $2m check sizes. Startups include Phytolon, DouxMatok, and Sun Genomics.

🧫 CPT Capital: with 15 investments this year, the London-based family office added startups like Equinom,Liberation Labs, and Bright Biotech to a strong alt protein portfolio including Upside Foods, Impossible Foods, Redefine Meat, and Aleph Farms.

🌱 Sustainable Food Ventures: SFV invested in Loki Foods, Tiamat Sciences, Prose Foods, and Mati Foodsamong others in their 15 investments this year, writing checks from $50k to $150k.

🤝 Collaborative Fund: 14 investments this year (leading 5) including MeliBio, Hoxton Farms, and Mori.

👍 Good Startup: Singapore-based alt protein fund with 14 investments this year, like Avant, Omeat, and New School Foods.

🧪 E²JDJ: with a strong upstream & scientific portfolio, the New Orleans investor wrote checks to 13 startups including Aigen, Vori, Verdant, and Wicked. Also in their portfolio are companies like Good Catch, NovoNutrients, and Seed Health.

📍Lever VC: 13 investments in 2022 from Hong Kong-based and alt-protein-focused Lever, including Melt&Marble, THIS, Mozza Foods, and Avant Meats.

🛣️ Trellis Road: founded in 2020, Trellis Road has a growing and strong portfolio of $200-$500k global investments. This year’s 13 checks included NuCicer, MicroTERRA, and Project Eaden.

🌾 Unovis (New Crop Capital): a longtime leader in alt protein investment (previous investments in Oatly, Miyoko’s, and Beyond Meat), Unovis inked 13 new deals this year (leading 6) with checks ranging from $500k to $10m. This year’s startups include Paragon Pure, Plantish, and Tender, with follow-ons for Black Sheep Foods, Eat Virgin, and NUMU Cheese.

🔬Thia Ventures: writing 12 checks from €500k to €3m, the European investor backed Arkeon, Gourmey, Synonym and Bond Pet Foods this year.

🚀 Y Combinator: the US-based tech startup accelerator made at least 11 agrifood investments including Mooji Meats and Positive Food Co.

*Quick disclaimers: all data is sourced from FoodHack, CrunchBase and Dealroom. As data on total funds deployed is hard to come by, we made the list based on total deals closed - meaning that the list clearly favours early stage investors. The list would look very different when you factor in total volume deployed. If you have updated data on your fund, please feel free to email us at Laura (at) foodhack (dot) global. And if your fund is missing, you can add it here

🔎 View: Database of 100+ Active FoodTech Investors

Get instant access to the data on FoodTech's top investors here.  

👀 What's on the horizon for 2023?

Look out for our next article featuring many of these VCs to read their prediction and see what they're excited about in 2023.

Why these 3 VCs came out on top in FoodTech and ClimateTech

There are some incredible VCs out there, but there are also some terrible ones. FoodHack asked founders to identify the best FoodTech investors to work with.

And now we can spill the beans 🫘

Sharing industry expertise, support with fundraising and recruitment, and unlocking connections to the industry can be just as valuable as the investment itself for many early-stage start-ups.

So we asked founders: Which VCs truly go above and beyond? 📈

Over 110 different VC funds were mentioned on cap tables, wishlists and, in a way, blacklists.

Let’s see who came out on top...

As the winners were crowned live on stage today at FoodTechIL.

Top emerging VC: Nucleus Capital

Mission: Supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs who are solving systemic challenges to planetary health.

20+ investments including: Planet A Foods, Planetary, Hier Foods, Vosbor, Hoxton Farms, Orbillion Bio, Juicy Marbles, Concert Bio and Root Global

Recognised for:

🧑‍🏫 1-1 coaching

🤝 Introductions to corporates and investors

📊 Support with valuable market research data

🎯 Guidance on fundraising strategy

🔍 Identifying potential advisors

"At Nucleus it is our passion to support purpose-driven entrepreneurs working to rebuild our global economy in a greener way from the bottom up to enhance planetary resilience. We are most excited about founders with deep domain expertise and creative ideas, supporting them at the Nucleus of their journey!" Maximilian Bade, Founding Partner at Nucleus Capital

Top European VC: FoodLabs

Mission: Backing the most ambitious entrepreneurs tackling key challenges across the entire value chain of the food industry.

40+ investments including: Formo, Bosque Foods, MushLabs, Infarm, Sundial Foods, Tupu, Microharvest, WNWN Food Labs, Foodji

Recognised for:

💸 Fundraising support for future rounds

📚 Coaching from FoodTech leaders

👋 Introductions to other investors

🤝 Connections to industry experts

💼 Professional recruiting support

"A big thank you to FoodHack and all the FoodTech entrepreneurs. Today, more than ever, we clearly need a food revolution and even more so, we need creative pioneers that are at the very forefront of innovation in the world's largest industry – pioneers like FoodHack. At FoodLabs, we’re strongly convinced that entrepreneurs, technology and science will be pushing the boundaries for a more sustainable food system. And we’re beyond excited to be working with mission-driven founders driving positive impact for the decades to come," Patrick Huber, General Partner at FoodLabs

Top US VC: Unovis (New Crop Capital)

Mission: Investing in purpose-driven entrepreneurs with a shared vision for a well-fed and sustainable world.

40+ investments including: Nobell Foods, Nova Meat, Upside Foods, Meati Foods, Oatly, Plantish, SuperMeat, Miyoko’s Creamery, Beyond Meat, Atlast, Aleph Farms

Recognised for:

🤝 Connections to other investors and industry partners

💡 Instrumental in strategic decisions

📈 Advice on fundraising, retail targets and food service growth

🔬 Industry expertise and know-how

👋 Introductions to manufacturers

"Our sincere thanks to FoodHack and all the food entrepreneurs. Unovis applauds the visionary individuals driving change in the global food system and considers it a privilege to play a part in this transformation," Dan Altschuler Malek, Managing Partner at Unovis (New Crop Capital)

Yes, investors hold the key to a startup’s next fundraising milestone, but beyond investment, the value of knowledge-sharing and support for the founder(s) shouldn’t be underestimated.

Fundraising is hard. Let's all give founders the support they need, so they can get back to building the future we all want to see.

How Co-Founders Meet: a look at the where and how foodtech founders met their match

Meeting your match.

It’s time: you’ve got your gazillion-dollar idea on the back of a napkin (or more likely on a Google doc) and you're now ready to go all-in on the startup life. But are you sure you can do it alone?

Enter the cofounder: something between a business partner and a spouse, here to round out the leadership team, support with critical skills that you're missing, and set your startup on the path to success.

True, cofounders aren’t required. In fact, over half of startups exit with just one founder. And some of foodtech’s biggest names are solo-founded, including both Beyond Meat (Ethan Brown) and Impossible Foods (Patrick Brown).

But most foodtech startups require a magic mix of expertise behind the wheel: test tubes and spreadsheets, sales plans and flavor wheels, websites and pitch decks. It’s very rare for one person to have everything it takes to take an idea into a successful business, and early-stage investors know this, typically choosing to back teams rather then solo founders.

But choosing the right cofounder is tricky, and it’s damn important. According to Harvard prof. Noam Wasserman, a whopping 65% of startups fail due to conflict among cofounders. Ouch. So this week, we’re looking at how to find your ideal cofounder match along with some real, weird and wonderful examples from the community.

👀 What to look for in a cofounder?

Finding a cofounder can feel like choosing the other half of your brain. Boostbar CEO Pascal Uffer recommends asking, “are you both blind in the same eye, or truly complementary?” and "what happens when 💩hit's the fan".

That’s what a good working relationship is all about: rounding out the founding team’s profile so that you’re able to handle the (many) challenges your startup will face along the way and being able to stick together when things (inevitably) get tough.

In foodtech, a well-rounded startup will look very different based on what you're building. A new eGrocery platform might mean pairing a growth marketer who can mock up a quick landing page, with a retail supply chain expert who understand the market needs and white spaces. For an alt-protein startup, it could be a fermentation specialist who will make the first prototypes a reality, with a sales wiz who knows how to best position the company to potential investors.

Typically, winning foodtech founding teams include a mix of 1) technical and scientific expertise 2) business development, marketing, branding and sales abilities 3) logistics, processes, admin, regulatory and legal know-how.

If you're dealing with cutting-edge science or new technologies, technical know-how in the early days is highly recommended. Otherwise, the pressures to exaggerate the science or scalability of the business can tank the whole mission - a common problem for biotech startups, and also the case for many of the more scientific segments of foodtech.

And finally, as important as complementary differences are, it’s also vital that the founding team is 100% aligned on your core mission as misalignment slows your go-to-market, reduces team buy-in, and overall, slows innovation.

🔎 Where to find a cofounder

We asked founders where they met their cofounder match, some of the interesting responses included dating apps, former clients and customers turned cofounders, father and son teams or spouses turned business partners. Here's a closer look at a few:

🏫 Universities. Universities provide an ideal setting for founding teams to meet, connect over like-minded interests and start working in a low-risk environment. The idea and team for Swiss plant-based startup, Planted first began at the ETH university in Zurich, and universities like Harvard and Stanford have been the meeting point for founders at Facebook, Google & Microsoft.

👪 Personal Network. Friends from high school, siblings, parents, friends of friends, spouses. We’ve heard it all. With the long hours and ample stress that comes with founding a company, ensuring you actually get along with your cofounder is an absolute must. Looking at the people who you already spend the most time with can be a good place to start. One Planet Pizza was founded by father and son team Joe and Mike Hill, and the Wonderlab Doozy founders are actually husband and wife team, Kristen and Karl Sutaria (talk about commitment).

💡Startup and pitch events. Getting yourself and your idea out there early on through startup and pitch events is another great way to meet with potential cofounders. Search for ‘pitch events near me’ on Google, attend relevant meetups in your industry, join Clubhouse pitch events or look for networking and mixer sessions by accelerators and funds in your domain.

🤝 Professional Network. Whether it’s a connection on Linkedin, a former client turned cofounder, a colleague at your job who's looking for a change of pace, or a fellow coworker at a desk near you - take a look into your rolodex or immediate work surrounding to meet with other, likely skilled professionals, who share a passion to build. Andreas Duss of Boreal Botanical highlights that his now co-founder, Mike McKenzie was a former client of his, and the founding team at Zurich based Wood & Field met through their former workplace.

💻 Platforms. There's a rising number of startup matchmaking platforms looking to solve this problem and spur innovation. The founders of plant-based pet food startup, Omni, met through a website called Work in Startups after co-founder Shiv Sivakumar put out a call for applications via the platform. YCombinator’s Startup School, cofoundme, CoFoundersLab, and StartHawk also all boast solid success stories of winning teams meeting their match.

🙏 Divine Intervention. Sometimes, life just brings you together. The idea for UK-based VFC came when Matthew Glover, the co-founder of Veganuary, tried Adam Lyon’s vegan chicken dish at his omnivore restaurant. And the founding team at Dubai-based, Sprout was cooked up when co-founders Oz Erbas Soydaner and Katerina Papatryfon, meet whilst walking their dogs. So keep an open mind, maybe that jerk who just cut you in line could one day be your future sparring partner 🤷

💡 Structuring Co-Founder Relationships

Great, you’ve now found your dream cofounder and are ready to get to work. But first, let’s put that relationship on paper and formalize the equity setup. Usually, this step happens right after incorporating –– as founders typically have endless to-do lists, this tends to get left to the last minute, but should really be a top priority.

Every startup’s structure is unique, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

🥧 Avoid 50/50 splits. They sound fair, yes, but can create corporate deadlock in decision making later on. Of course, the minority cofounder faces greater uncertainty and can be forced out by the majority party –– but the initial responsibilities and risk often point to one cofounder taking a larger share. Some disagree with this tip (including YCombinator’s managing director), and European startups do skew more evenly. But we still think it’s best to avoid the risk of deadlock down the road. Here's a helpful guide that might help figure out the best split.

🕒 Vest founder shares. Which simply means setting a specified time period or event where founders can keep all or a certain percentage of their stock shares. A four year vest is the norm and it helps to ensure somebody doesn’t take a big piece or end the business if they leave early on - leaving the other founders in an awkward situation.

💰Build a buyout plan in case a cofounder ends up leaving the company. That includes pre-setting expectations that if a founder leaves during their vesting period, the company can buy back the shares. The share price of the buyback is sometimes pre-set to a nominal fee (i.e. $0.0001 per share), or it can be calculated based on a fair market rate.

True Love Takes Time

Finding a cofounder is a critical and challenging step in your startup story. But as is true with much of the hustle, it’s actually ok to take your time. A few months without a cofounder with you at the wheel is way better than shacking up with the wrong person.

As you start your search, get the word out. Post your story on LinkedIn, attend events, put yourself out there, grab coffee with people who have what you’re missing. Founders often have the impulse to go fast, go alone, and go in secret. But if your idea is solid, then nothing is more important than executing it with the right people.

And if all else fails, drop us a line with what you're building and who you're looking to connect with and we'll see if we can help. No promises.

Finding an Advisor for your startup: The Who, How and Why

Founders aren't perfect.

Passionate, smart, gritty-as-hell, sure –– but no founding team is capable of solving all of the many problems a startup will face. And the best teams will be honest about what they don’t know, and ask for help.

Enter the startup advisor. They’re a pillar of expertise, sounding board for great (and bad) ideas, and a channel for key introductions to partners, new hires, and investors. It’s a flexible concept, but generally advisors round up the strengths of a founding team with deep domain knowledge and a set of outside eyes for the startup.

Like angel investors, accelerators, VCs and CVCs, advisors are a key piece of startup infrastructure. So this week, we’re diving in on advisors: who they are, what they do, and how to find one.

p.s. looking for an advisor or looking to advise startups? Fill in the form here and we'll let you know when we've found a match

🤷 Who are advisors?

Advisors have relevant experience and a useful network they share to help startups navigate their early growth. Every advisor relationship is unique, but generally an advisor has two or three focus areas they can help with (i.e. fundraising, partnerships, marketing, sales strategy, or manufacturing). An advisor might be….

  • A well-connected founder who has fundraised before and can help navigate your early rounds
  • A corporate marketing leader who understands how to position a product
  • An accounting ace who can help optimize your cashflow and monitor your runway
  • An operations expert from a similar foodtech company who has navigated challenges relating to manufacturing or packaging a product

Typically, advisors only support a handful of companies (at most) as a side gig, with the exception of ‘exited’ founders or semi-retired professionals who spend most of their time advising.

🤔 What do advisors do?

Generally, an advisor is good at whatever your founding team isn’t. In foodtech, founders are often knowledgeable about a technology (i.e. fermentation, alt proteins, crop health) or skill (product marketing, sales). Or, they’re a business wiz with an MBA and an understanding of how good businesses operate.


But no matter how passionate and smart your founding team is, there are always going to be challenges you’ve never addressed before. Advisors know these challenges and can help you avoid common mistakes and think through problems. Their support usually comes in the form of:

🧠 Expert guidance: strategic support navigating core business challenges

👂 Sounding boards: a collaborative sparring partner to work through new ideas.

🤝 Key intros: an open rolodex of possible customers, distributors / manufacturers, and investors.

💵 Fundraising credibility: a “we’re serious!” stamp for investors, demonstrating external, expert validation for the startup’s idea.

The engagement looks different in every case, but typically is a more agile “hotline” relationship between the founding team and advisor, as well as standing check-ins.

Many startups also engage several advisors together into an Advisory Board. This structure helps keep the founding team accountable and pools expertise.

👋 How can you find an advisor?

To identify where an advisor will make the largest impact, startups should first take an honest look at their strengths and weaknesses –– a classic SWOT analysis is a great way to map what help you need.

With that in mind, get the word out to your network.

  • Tell your investors you’re looking for help and ask for intros
  • Post on LinkedIn asking if anybody knows an expert on a topic you need help with
  • Explore platforms like Kolabtree (platform for freelance scientists and industry experts)

We also asked a few founders for their tips on this topic, including Peter Schatzberg, CEO of Sweetheart Kitchen(multi-brand cloud kitchen), who tells foodtech founders “don't limit yourself to looking for advisor(s) in foodtech or from VCs / funds,” and recommends looking for “a seasoned veteran from an international corporate enterprise.”

Schatzberg believes an advisor from a corporate setting offers “expertise driving for profitability, creating process and controllership, and learning how to lead. You know your domain, you are the startup person. So surround yourself with people that balance the equation.”

We also know there’s a huge appetite for mid-tier corporate leaders who want to get involved in food innovation and startups –– if you’re a startup with some connections working in Big Food & Big Ag don’t be afraid to drop a DM and ask if they know anybody who might help.

💡 Looking for an advisor fill in the form here and we'll let you know when we've found a match

Meet your future advisor at the FoodHack Summit 👋

Finding advisors is all about who you know. And where better to meet your match then at this years FoodHack Summit

With 500 industry attendees joining, from scrappy and venture-backed startups to big name VC funds, multinationals and seasoned founders, you're sure meet your match.

Grab one of the last few remaining early bird tickets here and use code NEWSLETTER-10 for a discount at checkout.

🤷 How can I start advising?

First, become an expert in a problem startups need help solving. Advisors aren’t just a friendly face –– they have real-world experience to offer.

With that, make it clear what your expertise is on LinkedIn. Engage regularly on topics that interest you and include your interest area in your headline (i.e. “Operations Director interested in food innovation & advising startups”).

Then, start approaching startups in the areas that interest you, noting the near-universal truth that startups love talking about what they’re doing. Ask for a 30-minute Zoom coffee with founders and see what challenges they are facing, and if it’s something you can help with.

🧠 Looking to advise startups? Fill in the form here and we'll let you know when we've found a match

💵 Who pays who?

Advisors are usually paid with one of the following:

🥧 Equity. Depending on the startup’s size and stage (and the advisor’s scope), startups often give an equity stake a 0.25 - 1% to the advisor. Provides a strong incentive to the advisor to actively support the startup in hopes of a growth in their share value.

💵 Cash. While challenging at an early stage, fees for advisors can be a highly effective and efficient investment, expanding your team’s brain power and expertise without shelling out another salary.

So, how much exactly?

It is common to calculate compensation (whether cash or equity) based either on an hourly rate (i.e. $200 / hour) or a fraction of a full-time compensation plan.

Example: if you expect an advisor to assist 2 hours per week, that’s 5% of a full-time role. If a full-time version of that role would be a $100K salary, a $5K annual fee (either in cash or a share of equity) could be a fair rate.

While typically the startup compensates the advisor, it’s also not uncommon for advisors to also invest in the startup to have some ‘skin in the game.’

💡 Final Thoughts & What Comes Next

Every startup needs advisors. Maybe they’re your existing investors, but more often than not, the bit of equity or cash you pay to a separate advisor is a must-do to fill in the gaps of your founding team.

As with angels, the infrastructure to find advisors is unfortunately murky. It’s a messy web of who you know and how you get the word out. That’s a big reason why accelerators can be so valuable: they’ve pooled together domain experts for participating startups.

We do hope to see more platforms emerge here to connect startups with advisors, likely hosted by existing media companies, accelerators, or investors.

Advisor and startup matchmaking is something we hope to do more of here at FoodHack. We just launched a new feature - Advisor x Startup Matchmaking to help better connect both sides. If you have any other ideas for how we can best support the space here, let us know, we’re all ears 💘

Angel Investing 101: With Daniel Skavén Ruben

Angel Investing 101: With Daniel Skavén Ruben

“It’s all a bit serendipitous.”

That’s how Daniel Skavén Ruben describes the matchmaking process between startups and angel investors –– early-stage, individual investors who support companies at the very beginning of their journeys.

It’s a process he knows well, as a food tech expert, investor, and advisor to startups, VCs, and accelerators. He’s also the host of this year’s FoodHack Summit (and writes the excellent FoodTech Weekly newsletter –– subscribe!).

This week, we sat down with Daniel to chat angel investing: why it’s needed, how it works, and tips for startups seeking angel investment.

🤷 What are angel investors?

Angel investors are individual investors who invest in the earliest stage of a company’ growth. They invest a ‘small’ amount (typically $10K to $100K) before other more traditional investors would be confident enough to invest.

“It’s an interesting risk / reward,” says Ruben. “Early-stage startups are very high risk, and most will not make it. So valuations at that stage are very attractive.”

That means angels do have a shot at a nice big return –– but most angels aren’t just looking to get in early with a unicorn. They typically have expertise and a network in the startup’s space, so they can actively advise the business towards success. For experts like Ruben, that’s an “opportunity to pay it forward and give back.”

Because angel investors tend to play a hands-on role, they often focus on the industry they know best. In Ruben’s case, that’s “advancing a more sustainable and nourishing food system,” but “other angels have other focus areas. You can optimize the food system for different things. You may care deeply about animal welfare, organic, locally-grown, nutrition, gender, economic opportunity.”

Where different types of funding options come to play in a startup lifecycle. Source: wikimedia

🤔 Why take angel investment?

So what about the startup receiving the investment?

First, It’s available. In the early days, the best a foodtech startup can hope for from a VC is “come back later.” It’s at this stage when angels come in to provide much-needed capital to a great idea or product that might not have a real business plan sorted out.

Second, you gain an advisor. Most angels know your industry well, with a great network of partners, distributors, or possible team members to introduce you to. A small equity stake in the company gives the angels a great incentive to do everything they can to support the business.

👋 How to find your angel?

According to Ruben, the key is to “get yourself out there. Don’t be afraid of sharing your idea. There’s probably 100 people out there who already have the same idea. It’s all about how you execute that idea. You need to dare to share. Even if there are companies doing something similar, there are also differences in how you approach things.”

There are a lot of ways to get the word out. Here are a few examples:

  • Attend conferences: join meetups and events (yep, like the FoodHack Summit) where you can chat with like-minded professionals. Even if you don’t talk to the angel you need, you'll likely connect with someone who can provide you with a warm intro at a later stage.
  • Engage on LinkedIn/Twitter: post the behind-the-scenes story of your startup or share relevant content aligned with your business or industry to start growing your following with potential investors.
  • Participate to accelerators: dedicated accelerators within your industry attract eager angel investors who are looking for the next big thing and most accelerators typically have some sort of investor <> startup matchmaking included in the program. Some will even cut you your first check.
  • Subscribe to newsletters: newsletters like this and Daniel’s FoodTech Weekly are a great way to see who is investing in what spaces and help build your pipeline for later.
  • Attend pitch events: demo days and pitch events are a great way to get your company out to an audience of investors or to collect feedback on your pitch and business idea for further development.
  • Get your deck to investors: our dedicated investor newsletter gets your deck into the inboxes of 200+ VC’s, CVC’s and business angels in foodtech. Selfish plug? You bet, but it works, is free and we’ve matched nearly 100 startups to investors so far.

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Who should apply? If you're a (pre)seed startup shaping a sustainable food system through innovative technology, and looking to scale up: Apply here before the application deadline of 2nd August 2021.

👀 Who: Angel Syndicates

It’s a loose (and new) category, but we’re seeing more and more “angel syndicates” –– groups of angel investors who curate investors and startups in one place, host pitch events, share intel, and make introductions.

Syndicates range from informal groups of investors who meet up for coffee, to formal teams with shared staff to help find and approach potential investments.

Most syndicates these days will feature your foodtech startup and have relevant investors in the their network, but here are a few foodtech-focused syndicates worth looking into:

👀 Who: Angel Investors

We put out a call to find out who are the most active angel investors in FoodTech, and received 50+ suggestions from founders and investors. Here are a few that stood out (in no particular order).

  • Ryan Bethencourt: applied biology expert with 140+ biotech/foodtech angel investments. Cutting some of the first checks at Clara Foods, NotCo and many, many others.
  • Michal Klar: plant- and cell-based angel investor with a preference for APAC. Invested in Next Gen Foods and Change Foods amongst others.
  • Rob Wilder: founder of FoodTech angels and partner of legendary restaurant innovator ThinkFoodGroup.
  • Lara Nuchowicz: focused on investments supporting healthier lives and planet.
  • Erik Byrenius: investor at Trellis Road and angel investor since his restaurant delivery company exited to Delivery Hero in 2012.
  • Neeraj Berry: formerly co-founder of Sprig and now an active investor across foodtech including early investments at Gorillas, Orbillion Bio, Kingdom Supercultures and more.
  • Sean O’Sullivan: “super angel” with 50+ investments in foodtech, including Geltor and Upside Foods.
  • Margaret Coblentz: founder and expert in retail products.
  • Michiel Van Deursen: entrepreneur turned plant-based investor who invested early with The Vegetarian Butcher. Investor at at Heura, Evo Foods, The Vurger Co. and 20+ others.
  • Timo Meyer: broad investment area including CPGs and consumer apps (featuring an early investment into Gorillas).
  • Maximilian Bade: former Atlantic Food Labs investor with a broad angel profile as investor and advisor (including bioreactor meat and circular packaging).
  • Gary Lin: investment profile expands beyond food, but does have a solid streak of social impact and foodtech investments including BIOMILQ, Stockeld Dreamery, Wild Earth and more.
  • HonMun Yip: former Temasek exec making alternative protein investments and advising early-stage startups.
  • Heather Mills: VBites founder and plant-based diet enthusiast.
  • Wolf Michael Nietzer: attorney and investor, as well as founder of Food Angels Germany who have backed Redefine Meat, Just Spices, Peace Of Meat and around 20+ others.
  • Gwendolyn Schröter: impact-oriented and sustainable startup investor in Germany.
  • Gil Horsky: Director of Innovation at SnackFutures (Mondelez innovation & venture studio) with deep corporate experience.
  • Maja Markowitz: the Berlin-based investment manager (now with btov) with an interest in angel investment.
  • Simon Newstead: serial entrepreneur and vegan investor. Investments include Shiok Meats, Change Foods, and around 10 more.
  • Beni Nofech: alt-protein investor in Tel-Aviv, investing in alt protein startups like SuperMeat and Remilk.

💡 Tips for angel fundraising

🔗 Dare to share

Ruben strongly recommends companies “don’t be too secretive.” It’s key to get the word out on your business to the right audience and start building traction early on.

👋 Start the relationship early

Angel investors are normal people like you and me (just with some extra pocket change to spare). Like any normal person, angel investors are more likely to trust, and invest, into people they know. So start networking and building the relationship early on.

📖 Study your space

It’s vital to “learn about the market you’re trying to disrupt. Subscribe to relevant newsletters. Find investors who have invested in similar spaces.” That knowledge will help lend you credibility and approach angels with relevant asks. More tips on researching an investor here.

🧠 Ask for feedback

Think of your angel conversations as ‘pressure tests’ for your ideas. Use them to collect feedback on your business idea and pitch. Angels generally care about your space and want more innovation and growth in the area –– they’re in your corner, even if you’re not in their portfolio.

🖊 Get it in writing

Finally, whatever value you expect the angel to bring –– get it in writing. A major piece of the value angels offer is their advising, so try and map out that engagement as best you can. Here's some helpful tips on advisory shares.

If you're angel investing in foodtech or a startup looking for investors, come join us at this years FoodHack Summit on October 5-6. With already 30+ startups and 20+ investors in foodtech attending, you might just find your match.

Boring disclaimer: This is not financial or investment advice and should not be taken as such. This is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision, and doing further due diligence on a potential investment is highly recommended. Invest (or don't) into startups at your own risk.

The A-Z of FoodTech Investment: 30+ Terms You Need To Know

Everything you need to know about investment terminology.

Blockbuster IPOs. High-rolling acquisitions. Celebrity investors. There’s been a perfect storm accelerating investment in foodtech over the past 12-18 months in particular, with foodtech growing 31% faster than general VC activity in 2020.

Just last week, we saw:

  • Pre-Seed: $675k to Bite Ninja (restaurant HR tech)
  • Seed: $5M to Nitricity (nitrogen fertilizer production)
  • Series A: $14M to WoodSpoon (home chef food delivery)
  • Series B: $160M to 80 Acres Farms (indoor farming)
  • Series C: $106M to Super Coffee’s parent (better-for-you coffee brand)

But dig in past the headlines, and investment starts to sound pretty complicated. Every investment round is unique, and those involved tend to only share the snappy stuff with the public.

So this week, we’re sharing 30+ of the most important terms for founders and advisors looking to understand the mechanisms of foodtech investment. Get out the flashcards, time to study up 🤓

p.s. This is a 7-minute read - Save the guide for later or strap in for a long-read.

The A-Z of FoodTech Investment


💡 Accelerators
: programs that help early-stage startups grow via expert coaching and intros to investors and strategic partners. Accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based, and mentorship-focused. Read More: Accelerator Database

✅ Accredited Investor: a high-income investor (individual or institutional) who can make equity investments with less regulation and government oversight. This varies widely by country, but equity investment is regulated differently than publicly-traded stocks. In the USA, the Securities & Exchange Commission doesn’t require complicated investment registration if the company is only taking investment from accredited investors. It’s up to the company to make sure investors are accredited if the company wants to avoid government oversight of non-accredited investors.

🤝 Advisors: an outside expert supporting a startup with strategic advice and key introductions. Usually a pro in one area, like marketing, finance, fundraising, or a specific technology. Compensated either with equity (more common) or cash. Read More: Advisor <> Startup Matchmaking

💸 Angel Investors: the earliest investors in a startup, typically individual investors with checks from $10K -$100K. Angels know the space well and often are highly active advisors in the early days. Read More: Angel Investing 101

📉 Anti-Dilution Rights: future investment rounds ideally increase the valuation of the company. But this isn’t always the case. With this in mind, some investors require an anti-dilution privilege that protects them if future investment rounds have a decreased valuation (a “down round”). These are not required, but an investor might request or demand them in negotiations (particularly if the startup might be over-valued).

📈 Annual Revenue: the sales coming into a company over 12 months. Simple, yes, but a key piece of the valuation puzzle. Startup valuations typically take AR and multiply it to assess a startup’s value (how that AR is reported varies widely -- could be 12 months trailing, 12 month forecast, or a hybrid). This year’s banner trend in funding is that the multiplier for valuation keeps increasing. While 5-10x used to be typical for high-growth startups, 40-50x is now typical. Read More: Valuations in foodtech

🌉 Bridge Round: typically a tactical, smaller round to extend a startup’s runway or achieve a specific goal before the next, larger round. While it sometimes can be a red flag that a startup is struggling, it’s also common that they just need a fast check for a big initiative or market entry. One recent example: cultured seafood co Shiok Meats closed a bridge round on July 21 to open a new production line, and likely used that capital for their acquisition of Gaia Foods just 20 days later.

🔥 Burn Rate and Runway: burn rate is simply the amount of money a startup is burning, inclusive of all the sales revenue against all operating costs. It’s usually expressed as a $ value lost each month. Burn rate is used to calculate the Runway, which is the length of time before a startup will run out of money. Seed-stage startups should aim for 12-18 months of runway to avoid joining the 29% of startups which fail after they run out of money.

🧢 Cap Table: a record of all the shareholders behind a company, including employees, investors, advisors –– anybody who has a piece of the equity pie.

💵 Convertible Note: a startup’s earliest money is typically raised by the startup selling ‘convertible notes’ to investors that turn to equity later on. This process is simpler than issuing equity, and entitles the investor to a certain number of shares as soon as a future financing event takes place (or once the startup hits a certain valuation). Convertible notes usually include a discount, meaning the holder of the convertible note gets their shares issued at a lower share price. That’s more bang for their (early) buck than investors joining on later when a proper equity setup is established. Read about the related SAFE agreement below.

🕴 Corporate VCs: many corporations have their own investment arms, including Cargill Ventures, Kellogg’s Eighteen94, or Nestle’s Inventages. Why? Sometimes they’re scouting for strategic partnerships (imagine a global meat operator investing in a sustainable animal feed startup). Sometimes they’re just chasing a big return. It’s a growing space (currently around 10% of all foodtech investment) and a huge focus area for the big players. Read More: Investors Database

🔎 Due Diligence: before investing, investors (especially VCs) will comb through your financial plans and ‘kick the tires’ by talking with customers and your core team. This process used to take a few weeks, including several in-person meetings. But due diligence is less and less of a priority as investment velocity increases. Why? First, lockdown: we’re better at connecting over Zoom than we were 2 years ago, and in-person meetings are still often impossible. Second, it’s a founder’s market, so VCs are hesitant to ask too much or delay the process –– largely because of the outsized impact of Tiger Global, which has thrown out the playbook and invests at a velocity never before seen. That means corners being cut to get checks out, fast.

🥧 Equity Crowdfunding: crowdsourcing startups, where the small-scale private investors also get a small slice of equity. Of course, the small guys don’t get the same privileges as proper investors, and the likelihood of returns is slim. It’s especially popular with women and women of color who have historically been excluded from traditional VC.

🌎 Impact Investing: incorporating social and environmental returns into an investment strategy. While this term remains popular outside of foodtech, it’s almost redundant in our space. Investors in foodtech are generally aware that the only viable, long-term investments address the environmental and social problems in our food system.

🔔 IPOs & SPACs: how companies convert private stock to public stock, and issue shares for trading among the general public. Provides the company with a boatload of capital and a liquidity event for all investors with shares. Read More: Foodtech IPOs and SPACs Explained.

💰 Liquidity Event: something that enables investors to ‘cash out’ the value of their shares. Typically these are acquisitions, mergers, or IPOs.

👩‍💼 Lead Investor: the co-host of the financing party, the lead investor issues the first term sheet, agrees on key points (especially the valuation). It’s impossible to negotiate everything with every investor, so the lead sets the table for the round’s other investors. The lead investor usually writes the largest check, but this isn’t always the case.

📜 Pay-to-Play: a requirement that investors participate in future rounds, or risk losing certain privileges (usually control over the startup like anti-dilution rights or a vote on liquidation events). These are typically not included in Series A rounds.

▲ Post-Money Valuation: the value of a company immediately after a financing round closes.

▼ Pre-Money Valuation: the value of a company just before a financing round closes. The two valuation types matter when determining the ownership share after funding is complete.

📈 Recapitalization: re-balancing a company’s debt and equity to stabilize the company’s financial setup. Companies usually do this by taking on some debt and ‘buying out’ shareholders. The reasons vary, but recapitalization is usually to solve a problem (i.e. too many investors, bad investors, or investors who are sick of waiting for a return and want to get out).

💵 Rolling Funds: a type of VC fund where investors can subscribe to the fund at any time, and regularly pay into the fund via quarterly payments. That’s different from conventional funds, where all investors join up together and nobody’s invited to the party later on. It’s a new type of fund that started in software, and has found it's way into foodtech.

👀 We're polling FoodHack Readers.

Do you currently invest or want to invest into startups?

Fill in our survey here about your investment appetite for a future piece we're putting together about individuals and private markets.

⭕️ Round: startups fundraise in rounds, where multiple investors participate on an agreed-upon valuation and distribution of shares. Each round, the startup has to buff up their business plan, negotiate terms with each investor, sign agreements with each investor, and go through due diligence. Issuing stock also typically requires sign-off from other investors and the chance for previous investors to participate, meaning a company can’t just take a check whenever an interested investor comes knocking. That’s why investment runs sequentially (Series A, B, C, etc), with each round ideally increasing in size and valuation.

🏃‍♂️ Runway: see Burn Rate.

⛑ SAFE: a Simple Agreement for Future Equity. SAFE agreements lay out a future path to the investor receiving equity, but provide the startup with cash immediately. The SAFE agreement will list the event that will issue equity to the investor (typical trigger events include future financing rounds or the sale of the company). Read about the related Convertible Note above.

🌱 Seed Round: the earliest funding round, typically with a small number of investors investing in a company that doesn’t yet have a viable product. Pre-Seed is an even earlier-stage spin on the same story. These differ from Series Arounds in that investors don’t yet expect a crystal-clear business plan or advanced proof points of the business. Of course, you’ll still need some indicator you’re on the path to success to secure seed funding.

🤝 Syndicates: a special vehicle to fund startups, where a syndicate is assembled with the sole purpose of funding one specific startup. Syndicates are started by a syndicate lead (typically an experienced investor with a lot of capital), after which any accredited investor can join the investment with a small (minimum $1000) investment. If the syndicate investment later yields a return, the syndicate lead gets a commission fee of everybody’s earnings (somewhere between 5 and 25%). One FoodTech syndicate, FoodTech Angels, earns 15-20% interest on the carried gains of their investment.

📊 Term Sheet: the preliminary, non-binding agreement between an investor and the startup. Term sheets define the valuation for the company, the amount raised, share price, and other rights for the investor.

❓ Valuation: the process to determine how much a company is worth. Valuations are agreed upon between the company and the investor. The company often sets their goal valuation they want investors to agree to, while the investor analysts assess the business and come up with their own number. Valuation can be calculated on an absolute(based only on the company’s earnings and growth) or relative (comparing the company to others in the space) bases. Read More: Valuations in foodtech

⏰ Vesting: the schedule by which shares are issued to a shareholder. All equity shares can vest, no matter who’s receiving them: including cofounders, investors, and employees. For founders and employees, it’s a way to keep folks on board and reward them for their service. Sometimes, that’s after a specific event, but usually it’s a set timetable. For employees, it’s typically a one-year cliff after which stock starts vesting on a monthly basis.  

💸 VCs: venture capital firms are the primary investment engine for startups. They tend to join up once the startup is well-validated, with a strong business plan and established product. VC funds distribute a big pot of cash that’s pooled by various wealthy individuals, investment banks, pensions, and foundations. VCs make money in two ways. First, they earn carried interest, often 20%, when investments make a profit (i.e. a $100M fund earns $110M, the VC earns 20% of the $10M return). Second, VCs earn a management fee each year, often 2% of the value of the fund. VC firms often have an area of focus, and that’s especially true in foodtech. Read More: Most Active VCs in FoodTech

💦 Waterfall Distribution: the ‘pecking order’ by which investors are paid out when an investment produces a return. Waterfall distribution often starts by covering initial investments (put in $1M, get $1M back).

👉 TLDR: Don't have time to read everything? Find our guide online to refer to later.

👉 Share this: If you enjoyed the read, forward this email to fellow founders or share this on social and tag @foodhack :)

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Meet 200+ impact angels backing FoodTech startups

You're a startup founder. And you’re looking for business angels to join your first (or next) raise. But not sure who or where to start?

We’ve got you covered.

Having angels as part of your fundraise brings you a wealth of experience to draw on, plus the investment itself.

And while angel investment isn’t new, it is on the rise.  📈

According to Dealroom.co, last year angels participated in rounds totalling an impressive $6.2 Billion. In FoodTech alone.

So it’s about time you met them. All in one place. 👇

Below you can find a list of 200+ impact angels in AgriFoodTech.

And if you'd like to join 150 other angels investing like top tier VCs into the future of Food and Climate, apply here to join HackCapital.

Let's introduce you to 20 of them:

🇭🇰 Sonalie Figueiras (Hong Kong) - a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse.

In the AgriFood space, she is currently most interested in diverted waste sidestreams, alternative and climate-resilient crop innovation (alternatives to fat, cacao, coffee and wheat) and the role of education in the future of food (content, engagement and information).

“I think angels that are on your side can make your company fly! They often are the most passionate, helpful and time committed of all your investors. All startups need 1 or 2 super supportive angels.“

🇸🇪 Daniel Skaven Ruben (Sweden) - a mentor for multiple accelerators, editor of FoodTech Weekly and advisor to countless rising stars in FoodTech

Daniel is interested in innovations and technologies that can help make the food system sustainable and nourishing. These include fossil-free fertilizer, agriculture automation, CRISPR, personalised nutrition, food waste reduction solutions, sustainable packaging, and compelling alternatives to animal-sourced foods.

“Many early-stage startups share similar needs, e.g. fundraising, press, PR, marketing, recruitment, and go-to-market strategy. I can often add value in these areas.“

🇩🇪 Martin Weber (Germany) - serial seed investor with 25 investments including Infarm, Formo and Core Biogenesis

“The only way to predict the future is to make it. Entrepreneurs believe their story will come true. This requires confidence … and delusion. It helps to be somewhat detached from reality — to assume that, for whatever reason, you are the one who can see into the future, and that in the new world your product/service will be needed and successful, despite overwhelming evidence (i.e. the current reality) that it’s not.“

🇺🇸 Beatriz Franco (USA) - former lawyer, banker and agtech startup CEO

Beatriz sees opportunities in three main areas: technologies solving for scalability of fermentation and cell-based alternatives; hybrid solutions offering better tasting and more affordable food products and food waste upcycling startups to create food innovations and next generation packaging and materials.

🇦🇹 Ryan Grant Little (Austria) - impact entrepreneur, angel investor replacing animals with better alternatives

Although Ryan only started angel investing in 2021, he has already backed 20+ alt protein startups, advising many more and is a FoodHack Ambassador in his adopted city of Vienna.

“I like this space because it’s full of smart and interesting people, but also people with the same values I have when it comes to animal welfare and changing a very broken food system. It’s also fun as hell to be at the very beginning of what will be the most important industrial shift of our lifetimes.”

🇩🇪 Daniel MacGowan (Germany) - startup founder, active angel investor, and ex-lawyer

Besides investing capital, Daniel brings with him first-hand operational experience of building and exiting his first company Otto’s Burger, and his own continued learning from founding and scaling up FoodTech startup Kynda.

He has a portfolio of 20+ startups with enabling technologies and infrastructure within the alternative protein space including Plantish, Tandem Repeat, Forsea and Nowadays.

🇸🇪 Leo Groenewegen (Sweden) - Cultured meat expert, alternative protein enthousiast and bioprocessing specialist

Leo is an angel investor in 20 early stage companies including Mzansi Meat, The Pack and Arkeon and is interested in the areas of snacking, cellular agriculture, agbiotech and alternative protein.

🇺🇸 Erin Culley (USA) - former music agent, serial entrepreneur and early-stage impact investor

Erin is approaching 30 investments in Food and ClimateTech. She reveals that being an angel investor is both satisfying and gratifying: “your cheque can be the difference between getting someone off the ground, or not“.

🇳🇱 Lize Hartley (Netherlands) - INSEAD MBA graduate, M&A Consultant, startup founder

Lize combines her experience as founder of Plasta (an FMCG brand selling plasters for a range of skin tones), and her current role as an M&A Consultant, focusing on both pre-deal- and post-deal activities means she brings a wealth of experince to the cap table.

🇦🇹 Markus Linder (Austria) - entrepreneur and impact investor

Markus is focusing on globally scalable business models with impact on the biodiversity and climate crisis. He is currently the Founder & CEO of tech startup inoqo. In 2019 he became active as an angel investor and mentor for several emerging global start-ups and has made 6 investments across agrifoodtech and biotech.

🇫🇷 Jordan Wolfe (USA / France) - Entrepreneur and active angel investor funding Trilo Bio, California Cultured and Helaina

Jordan’s mission is focused on changing our systems of production and is most interested in the areas of innovative ingredients, functional foods, alternative protein and biotech.

🇸🇬 Michal Klar (Singapore) - Investing in alternative protein startups in Asia Pacific and supporting entrepreneurs in plant-based, cell-based and fermentation.

“Great angels have deep, relevant networks - investors for follow on rounds, media, potential partners and more. The best of them can also be the first external sounding board for founders.“ As an angel investor, Michal brings his APAC network and prior startup operating experience. But he also tries to manage expectations and transparently share with founders what he cannot help with.

🇺🇸 Dilara Kanca (USA) - investment associate, former founder and angel investor

Dilara is passionate about sustainable food systems, impact and climate action. As a third generation Family Business Leader she can offer experience and guidance to early-stage startups. Recent investments include Tandem Repeat and Evo Foods.

🇬🇧 Stephanie Peritore (UK) - Strategic board advisor, impact, ESG and sustainability investor

Stephanie thrives on innovative ventures and technology, creating disruptive brands, leading trends and generating revenues.

She has over 20 years of experience within investment banking, fund management and startup investing and her strengths include negotiating complex structures, creating ad hoc solutions, building great teams, as well as mentoring and helping team members achieve their full potential.

🇺🇸 Ayna Arora (USA) - Harvard Candidate and former Global Director at ZX Ventures

Ayna is passionate about accelerating ventures focused on the circular economy space and bringing together corporates and startups.

With a background in product, strategy, and investment in early stage ventures she brings novel products to market in the B2B and B2C spaces.

🇸🇪 Gregoire Letort (Sweden) - Impact angel and entrepreneur combining Food & Wine Tech with sustainability

Gregoire is committed to helping start-ups to take off with a keen interest in sustainability, especially where food is in focus, because of the role it plays in our climate crisis, and the solutions we must create and scale to help to solve it.

“I’ve invested in, or held board positions on, more than a dozen FoodTech and WineTech start-ups around the world. I know what it takes to scale, from managing complex supply chains to managing cash, handling distribution networks, recruiting talents.“

🇨🇭 Justin Jacquat (Switzerland) - procurement leader, FoodHack Ambassador and early-stage investor

Justin is a commercially-savvy procurement leader with an entrepreneurial background offering several years of experience within global supply chain and business operations in the CPG industry.

“I'm convinced that everyone can make a difference to make our planet a little better.“ With this in mind, he has invested in multiple FoodTech startups including Forsea Foods, Nowadays and Brevel and supports impact driven founders that are mainly seed and pre seed.

🇺🇸 Brandon Chong (USA) - investment partner and impact angel in companies aiming to be global leaders including EVERY, BlueNalu and Future Farm.

Brandon backs founders with bold missions to reinvent global food supply chains for the better and has made 10 investments in startups under this thesis.

🇱🇮 Oliver Stahl (Liechtenstein) - serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, board member and impact investor

Oliver has made over 18 angel investments in foodtech startups including Kombuchery, Esencia Foods and cookeat.ch. His thesis is ‘It cost the double and it will take twice as long’ and has a wide range of experience advising startups on their scaleup journey.

🇬🇧 Lian Michelson (UK) - Investor, entrepreneur and experienced CEO

Lian brings her first-hand knowledge of building technology businesses, managing teams, and running operations and logistics. She is currently working with startups, accelerators and VC funds as an investor, mentor and advisor and interested in computational biology to increase yields, and cell ag in the seafood space.

“Impact angels are supporting your company not just for financial returns. They believe the more your company scales the more impact you create, so they are accessible and are here for the long run.“

So let's meet all 200+ impact angels in FoodTech:

Have we missed anyone?

Add yourself or another angel to the list here or let us know at team@foodhack.global

30 Women Angel Investors Funding the Future of Food and Climate Startups

Food and ClimateTech angel investors (often ex-entrepreneurs) are mission-aligned with early-stage startup founders to drive transformational change.

They offer their capital, expertise and learnings in a focus area they know first hand.

It's no secret that women are underrepresented across the sector, so we're profiling 30 females from around the world who are at the forefront of funding breakthrough technologies that shape a better future for people and planet.

30+ Angel Investors You Need to Meet:

🇺🇸 Alicia Robb, Founder and CEO, Next Wave Impact - also Managing Partner of two early stage venture funds.

🇺🇸
Ashley Hartman, Managing Partner, Bluestein Ventures - focusing on early-stage investments in the future of food.

🇺🇸 Ayna Arora, Impact Investor - a former entrepreneur specialising in early stage deep tech. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇺🇸 Ba Minuzzi, Founder and CEO, Umana - leading conscious investing aligned with her values.

🇺🇸 Beatriz Franco, Vita Ventures - supporting founders tackling the world's most critical challenges. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇨🇭Camille Bossel, Co-Founder, FoodHack - designer turned entrepreneur. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇪🇸 Diana Piemari Cereda, VP Marketing, Eatable Adventures - building tomorrow's food companies. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇺🇸 Dilara Kanca, Investment Banking Associate, Barclays - passionate about sustainable food systems. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇨🇭Emilie Dellecker, Co-Founder, FoodHack - building a global FoodTech community through ambassadors‍. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇸🇪 Erika Homber, Venture Analyst, FoodHack - democratizing angel investments. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇦🇹 Eva Sommer, CEO and Founder, Fermify - focused on innovations in plant- and cell-based food

🇺🇸 Erin Culley, Impact Investor - investing in solutions to support people and planetary health. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇺🇸 Gili Elkin, Founding General Partner, ICI Fund - backing entrepreneurs with sustainable, disruptive tech

🇺🇸 Heather Courtney, CEO, Alwyn Capital - investing in solutions that remove animals from the supply chain

🇺🇸 Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder, Vegan Women Summit - empowering female leaders in the future of food

🇬🇧 Kerstin Robinson, Co-Founder, Nix & Kix - combining her experience as a start-up with global banking

🇳🇱 Lara Nuchowicz, Impact Investor - funding purpose-driven brands and sustainable tech. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇳🇱 Lize Hartley, Private Equity Associate, McKinsey - ambitious ex-entrepreneur, funding and supporting startups. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇳🇱 Lydia (Liet) van Beuningen, Impact Investor, The Mothership Investments - investing in female founders

🇺🇸 Mariliis Holm, Co-Founder and Partner, Sustainable Food Ventures - backing innovation in cell and plant-based

🇺🇸 Melissa Facchina, Co-Founder and General Partner, Siddhi Capital - strategic, venture-based partnerships with food and beverage brands

🇨🇱 Priyanka Srinivas, Founder and CEO, The Live Green Co - accelerating a global transition to sustainable food

🇬🇧 Rebecca Wheeler, Partner, ForGood - supporting challenger brands with purpose

🇲🇽 Rocio Cavazos, Founder, The Ananda Group, Partner, SIMA Funds - prioritising regenerative solutions

🇭🇰 Sonalie Figueiras, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Green Queen Media - social and environmental advocate.  Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇸🇬 Sandhya Sriram, Group CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder, Shiok Meats - investing in trailblazing founders

🇸🇪Sandra Malmberg, Investor, EQT Ventures - focusing on Food and ClimateTech

🇺🇸 Shayna Harris, Managing Partner, Supply Change Capital - paying experience forward to impactful startups

🇳🇱 Silla Scheepens, Partner, Future Food Fund - transforming the food system by supporting entrepreneurs

🇬🇧 Stephanie Peritore, Founder and Managing Director, Mindful Bites - funding mission-aligned, vegan startups. Invests via the FH Syndicate.

🇺🇸 Tracy Chen, Brand Ambassador, GlassWallSyndicate - funding plant-based and alternative protein startups

🇪🇸 Victoria Betoeski, Founder and Managing Partner, The Connecting Architects - improving our health and food system

Most Active FoodTech Accelerators: A look into 40+ accelerators and their alumni

It takes serious guts to found a company.

As a result, founders often have a go-at-it-your-own mindset. But in life and in business, we’re better off learning from other people’s mistakes and successes (no matter how much we tend to go off and do everything our own way).

Accelerators are here to help companies grow fast and smart. Through a combination of expert guidance, direct investment, and introduction to investors and partners, accelerator programs might just be the right thing for your business.

This week, we’re highlighting a few of the leading accelerators actively supporting foodtech companies, the benefits of attending an accelerator, the potential reasons why not to attend.

📈 Accelerators: What's the big idea?

Let’s start with a quick definition. Accelerators are:

📅 Fixed term: typically 3-6 months, with a clear timeline often ending in a public “demo day” or other event showcasing participants.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Cohort based: companies move through accelerators with a group of others.

🤝 Mentorship focused: accelerators are designed to introduce startups to mentors and experts that provide strategic guidance on your business.

An overview of the active AgriFoodTech accelerators. Data from Crunchbase & FoodHack Database.

Most accelerators offer investment as well, either in grants or equity investment. Many accelerators are closely linked to investment funds, with an expectation or opportunity to raise from the fund after the accelerator wraps up.

In terms of timing, accelerators often run on a 1x / year cadence. A high share of accelerators gather applications in Q1, select companies in Q2, and run the program in Q3-Q4.

"But, what about incubators?" They’re similar, but incubators typically (1) don’t have a set timeline and (2) focus on early product development. Accelerators almost always, well, ‘accelerate’ existing businesses with an established product and team. We’re still including a few incubators here given the overlap.

🤷‍♂️ Why attend an accelerator?

So what do accelerators actually offer founders? Quite a lot actually.

🧠 Expert Guidance: the managers and mentors behind accelerators are pros. They’ve either helped heaps of companies along your dream path, or walked it themselves.

🤝 Peer-to-Peer Support: most accelerators are cohort-based, meaning you’ll benefit from a group of like-minded founders encountering the same challenges (or at least very empathetic to your unique barriers).

💰 Investor Intros: accelerators are all about connections to investors, often wrapping up in a public Demo Day that’s like an all-you-can-fund buffet for investors in the space. And the end of an accelerator is a great time to raise: you’ve learned a ton, tightened up your business plan, know your ask, and are ready for the big dance.

💵 Direct Investment: whether in equity investment or no-strings-attached grants, many accelerators inject cash into the business during or after the program. A number of accelerators are also backed by governments or NGOs to stimulate innovation, without taking equity.

🥇 Seal of Approval: accelerator participation is a positive flag that the startup is legitimate and already passed a rigorous selection process (many accelerators reject > 97% of applicants). i.e. The Norrsken Impact Accelerator had 2000+ applications for a total of 20 available spots. There’s a reason everybody who went through Y Combinator lists “YC 2020” in their LinkedIn headline like an NFL player listing their college team 🏈

🤔 Why to not attend an accelerator?

Accelerators sound pretty sweet, right? But let’s zoom in on some of possible downsides to round out the story.

⏱️ Unnecessary Help: a major selling point of accelerators is investor intros. But it’s a founder’s market these days with more resources available to fundraising founders than ever before. Think carefully if what the accelerator offers is worth taking yourself out of play for.

👀 Distractions: many accelerators include social functions, demo days, and other workshops that (even if beneficial) are not the core work of the business. We all love a happy hour, but review exactly what time is required by an accelerator (including the ‘fun’ stuff!) and factor that in as a cost you could otherwise be investing in your business.

➗Dilution: speaks for itself – if your accelerator takes equity in the business, stop and think if that’s the most value you can get for that stake. Maybe it’s better for you to say, raise a bridge round for the same dilution, to then go hire a great CFO or sales rep.

We've gathered a list 40+ active accelerators in agrifoodtech here

🥩 Who: Alt-Protein Accelerators

  • ProVeg Incubator: plant-based and cultured food accelerator offering grants and (optional) equity investment. Strong global network. Latest cohort includes Naka Foods (alt-chicken), Pow! Foods(vegan chorizo), and The Fast Good Company (ready-to-eat meals). Applications for their next cohort are currently open until 18th July.
  • Big Idea Ventures New Protein: 5-month accelerator between NYC, Singapore, and Paris. Closely linked with BIV’s three funds, including their $50M New Protein fund. Rolling admissions. Participating companies receive $200K and their alumni includes some superstar names like Grounded Foods Co. (plant-based cheese), Jellatech (animal-free collagen and gelatin) and Evo Foods (plant-based eggs).
  • Dao Foods Incubator: the incubator offers $80K to companies focused on development and growth in China. Alumni include Fresh Foods (plant-based yogurt) and Raw Plant-Based (smoothie products), in addition to Dao’s investments in Cultured Decadence (cultured seafood) and Starfield Foods (alt-meat).
  • Mylkubator: brand-new cultured and fermented alt-dairy accelerator backed by Spanish dairy company Calidad Pascual. Now selecting applicants for their first cohort.

🐟 Who: Oceans and Sustainable Seafood Accelerators

  • Hatch Aquaculture: backed by several corporates (including Cargill), Hatch is preparing for a 2022 program focused on both improving conventional fish production (nutrition, production, tech) as well as alternative seafood. Recent cohort includes SuSeWi (speeding up microalgae growth), Blue Lion Labs (water purity AI), and The Plant Based Seafood Co. (alt-seafood).
  • Sustainable Ocean Alliance: the SOA’s accelerator program is preparing for Cohort 5. Funded by a mix of foundations and investors (including the Walton family of Walmart fortune), the program has accelerated 29 startups in 3 years, investing $625K and yielding $20M in fundraising post-program.
  • Katapult Ocean Accelerator: consists of a 3-month online programme tailored to ocean startups. Includes mentorship, access to pilot customers, test environments and real data, plus investment into participating companies as well as access to potential further capital and investors.

🧫 Who: Biotech Accelerators

  • IndieBio: invests a solid $525K into participating startups during the intensive 4-month program. IndieBio’s 159 companies to date include a commendable 42% female founders. Companies include Geltor (protein design), Upside Foods (cultured meat), and Kraken Sense (pathogen detection).

💡 Who: FoodTech & CPG Accelerators

  • MassChallenge Switzerland: backed by some of Switzerland’s leading corporates, MassChallenge taps their extensive network while providing the opportunity to win investments (up to CHF 1M) without equity. Alumni include Planted (plant-based chicken), ClearLeaf (non-toxic fungicides), and FairFlavor (vegan cheeses and ice creams).
  • The Kitchen FoodTech Hub: backed by Israeli food manufacturer Strauss Group, The Kitchen provides around $700K to innovative early-stage companies working across the food supply chain. With additional backing from PepsiCo, Mondelez, and Danone, The Kitchen’s portfolio includes Yeap(protein extraction from yeast), Aleph Farms (cultured beef), and Vanilla Vida (easier-growing vanilla).
  • Kickstart Food & Retail Tech: with backing from several Swiss corporates, Kickstart is not a traditional accelerator. Instead, they position themselves as an ecosystem platform connecting startups to corporate partners. To-date, this model has led to 170+ partnerships and over $945M invested.
  • The Hatchery: funded by Kellogg’s, Conagra, and Griffith, the Chicago-based incubator supports food entrepreneurs with commercial kitchen space, classes and events, and workspaces. Rolling admissions and entries.
  • CoLab: Part of SnackFutures, the Mondelēz International innovation and venture hub and geared towards early-stage well-being snack brands. Consists of a 12-week program offering workshops, one-on-one mentorship and a $20,000 grant. Better Bites Bakery (allergen-free bakery), Elite Sweets (keto donuts), NuSkool (low-sugar snacking), 12 tides (kelp snacks) are amongst the 9 startups of CoLab’s first batch, kicking off this June.

🚜 Who: AgriFoodTech Accelerators

  • EIT Food Accelerator Network: the EITFAN offers two tracks: Sustainable Agriculture and Healthy Nutrition. EITFAN focuses on connecting startups with corporates and other partners willing to pilot cutting-edge tech. Pilot sites, labs, agriculture land – EITFAN’s network is ready to support across their six locations across Europe and Israel. Alumni include Jelly Drops (hydrating sweets) and Redefine Meat (3D printed meats).
  • StartLife Accelerate: currently open for their next cohort, is a 12-week online program that prepares AgriFoodTech startups for growth and offers loan packages from €25K to €250K (loans only accessible to Netherlands startups). Some notable alumni include SAIA Agrobotics (Ag robotics), Serket (livestock logistics), Nutrileads (health ingredients), Sundew (water-borne pests and diseases).
  • Rockstart Agrifood: a leading accelerator-VC combination, Rockstart offers a €100K convertible loan as well as strong investment chances from the Rockstart fund (up to 50% of the next round) along with excellent mentorship and consultancy services. Previous companies include Råhandel (sales platform for small food producers) and MyCrops (digital agronomy service).
  • Brinc: part-VC, part-accelerator. Brinc runs a number of programs across several verticals including AgTech, Alternative Protein, FoodTech, Logistics, Robotics and more. It includes six weeks of on-site training followed by six weeks remotely, and invests $80,000 for a negotiable equity percentage (but costs $30,000 to take part in).
  • The Yield Lab: while not currently accepting applications, the Yield Lab has supported 50+ AgTech startups with $100K investments, including Lepidext (corn earworm eradication), Kaffe Bueno (coffee ground upcycling), and Notch Ordering (wholesale restaurant ordering platform).
  • ToasterLAB: a 12-month mentorship-driven program with a 3-month intensive in-person phase. ToasterLAB is associated with Vitagora, an agri-food innovation community with strong corporate and investment connections. Participants enjoy access to Vitagora’s network to assist with partnerships and investment.
View the list of 40+ active accelerators in agrifoodtech here

🔮 Predictions:

Accelerators are only as good as the mentors, investors, and managers behind the program. Lots of great accelerators (including in FoodTech) have ‘gone dark,’ due to the loss of key people or sponsors. It’s a hard, expensive business to run, and the accelerator landscape will always be in flux.

That being said, accelerators will become an increasingly vital innovation engine in food & agtech. We’re only in the first inning of a new era of change in foodtech, juiced by new tech, massive climate challenges, and more mindful consumers (and yes, heaps and heaps of investment cash) and accelerators play a key role in helping the industry, and the innovative companies in this sector to get there.

Historically, a lot of the secret sauce has been bottled up by big corporates. But foodtech is now more transparent and democratized, with even the biggest players investing in startups rather than building everything in-house. Early pioneers like Impossible and Oatly are giving thousands of employees a front-row view of what it takes to win. That’s a bottomless supply of mentors and partners to ensure accelerators serve up great and relevant advice.

Specific technologies will also continue to cluster into dedicated accelerators, like the newly-launched Mylkubator for alt-dairy or IndieBio for biotech. An accelerator for insect products, precision fermentation, or AI in agriculture? Yes, yes, and yes.

We’ll also see more governments following the model of places like Singapore and Switzerland, nurturing accelerators and offering direct grants to participants. To stay relevant in a time of remote and global work, governments must actively nurture their innovation ecosystems. It’s either that, or risk their economy hollowing out and falling behind.

There’s a lifetime of lessons being learned every day, and accelerators are perhaps the best way to make sure we learn from past hits and misses.

Startups, corporates, successful entrepreneurs, investors – we’re all better together. And accelerators are the best forum to bring us to the same table. Pull up a chair, let’s get to work 🚀

Top FoodTech resources to follow to stay ahead of the industry

We typically fear what we don't understand.

Which is why the FoodTech sector can often get quite a bit of backlash.

From molecular farming to upcycling food sidestreams, 3D printed alt-meat to honey made without bees, the future of food is evolving fast.

Since it's hard to understand (and keep track of) the latest innovations and technologies, here at FoodHack, we've put together a few resources that make FoodTech easily digestible - and with that a little more approachable.

🎙 Podcasts:

- Marina Schmidt's Red To Green - always a fun and insightful listen.

- Paul Shapiro's Business for Good Podcast - great guests and inspiring stories.

- Adam Yee's My Food Job Rocks! - the OG FoodTech podcast.

- Analisa Winther's Nordic FoodTech - impactful conversations around new food solutions in Scandinavia.

- Or Yair's MealTech podcast - discussing the latest innovations in food and sustainability

💡 Thought Leaders


- Ryan Bethencourt - crazy futurist / builder / investor.

- Sonalie Figueiras - first source for anything alt-protein and materials.

- Bruce Friedrich - alt-protein data and insights for everyone.

- Irina Gerry - nice breakdown of key issues and transition to alt-protein.

- Jennifer Stojkovic - supporting women leaders and author of The Future of Food is Female.

- Laura Hodgkiss - stories of leading founders/investors, digestible FoodTech listicles.

- Ron Shigeta - startup mentor/ advisor to 100+ food and biotech startups.

- Anything Michal Klar and Nate Crosser write - approachable insights to complex topics.

📧 Newsletters

- Daniel Skavén Ruben's FoodTech Weekly - packed with insights from Mr. FoodTech himself.

- Larissa Zimberoff's Technically Food - enjoyable stories and insights with an often critical outlook.

- Sonalie Figueiras' Green Queen Media - roundup of the major headlines on climate, sustainability and alt-protein in bitesize takeaways.

- Good Food Institute - the definitive resource for all alt-protein milestones, research and trends.

- Matt Newberg's HNGRY - investigative journalism in FoodTech with deep insights and breaking news.

- Louisa Burwood-Taylor and AgFunder's newsletter - the OG agrifood media outlet.

- FoodHack's Trend Reports - digesting 100's of hours of research into 7-minute digestible reports.

- Jennifer Stojkovic's Vegan Women Summit - the only FoodTech newsletter about women.

- Edible Planet Ventures - the latest IPOs, M&As and investments across the food chain.

- Alt-Meat - covering the full alt-meat market.

- Shane Thomas' Upstream Ag Insights - essential agribusiness news and analysis.

- Helena Bottemiller Evich's FoodFix.co - a go-to source for food policy news and analysis.

- Danielle Gould's Food+Tech Connect - compacting the standout FoodTech innovation news and trends into one read.

- Climate Tech VC - for the very latest climate deals and news.

- Michal Klar's Future Food Now - for the latest news on alt-protein in Asia Pacific.

- Theresa Lieb's Food Weekly - an in-depth look at the FoodTech landscape as we move towards a more sustainable food system.

- Janette Barnard's Prime Future - for innovators in livestock, meat & dairy.


All the above make this sector a little more understandable, and each has their own fun twist to keep you engaged and coming back for more.

Have we missed any other resources? We'd love to know what else you’re reading / listening to, get in touch at team@foodhack.global

Inside the minds of 30 leading Food and Climate investors: The 50+ technologies they're excited by and their top advice for founders

The world’s largest environmental movement is fast approaching, AKA Earth Day.

And since this year’s theme is ‘invest in our planet’, we asked 30 leading Food and Climate investors which technologies are their priorities to invest in.

Plus they’ve also shared a few words of wisdom to help you close your first/next funding.

Because while fundraising is tough rn, the climate crisis isn’t going away. And it’s people like you who can develop and scale the solutions we desperately need.

Why not come and join these investors and hundreds of other active angels, investors and trailblazing founders at the HackSummit?

We’re less than a month away until doors open, so make sure to grab one of the few remaining tickets.

P.S. use code EARTHDAY20 to save 20% on your pass (valid until Sunday 23rd April).

Let’s get to it 👇

Jessica Burley @ Planet A Ventures

  • More efficient approaches to hydrogen electrolysis
  • Clean high temperature heat for industrial use-cases
  • Cost efficient long duration energy storage using widely available materials

Christian Guba @ FoodLabs

  • Climate x Agtech: Innovations in animal feed to reduce methane emissions, fertilizers that fix nitrous oxide, and enhanced rock weathering for carbon sequestration
  • Solid-state fermentation applications which are more robust, easier to scale, and require less capital expenditure than other approaches
  • Generative machine learning models that use multimodal data to improve protein structure predictions

Christian says: "Non-dilutive grants can be a great way to fund impact-driven startups without giving up equity. Also consider the amount of funding needed and whether or not VC funding is actually the right fit and finally, seek out investors who share your vision with an extensive longlist (it’s a numbers game)."

Steven Finn @ Siddhi Capital

  • Precision fermentation capacity and infrastructure
  • Needle moving enabling tech in cell culture
  • Agricultural water recovery

Steven says: "Give it time! I used to tell people to give it 6 months, now I say 9-12. Don't plan to raise significant capital to do everything. Raise 2 years of runway - a little bit more than what you need to hit specific focused milestones."

Gil Hosky @ Flora Ventures

  • Sustainable packaging: New materials and technologies in the sustainable packaging space, that are both more sustainable and also finally becoming more scalable and affordable
  • Food as medicine: Emergence of new technologies around precision nutrition and new research that is being applied to scientifically validate the efficacy and benefits of functional ingredients and nutraceuticals, such as: medicinal mushrooms, nootropics and adaptogens.
  • Regenerative agriculture: The validation and scaling of regenerative practices across the industry    

Gil recommends: "Entrepreneurs are hustlers and don’t be shy to knock on every door they can. Fundraising is all about momentum, so try to get initial commitments for your round from existing investors or friends and family and on the back of that to get momentum to bring other investors in. AgriFood-Tech entrepreneurs (even early stage ones) should showcase investors a clear path to commercialisation within short-medium time while solving a real unmet consumer or industry needs."

Hadar Sutovsky @ ICL Planet

  • We need to focus our attention on the scale, speed, and impact of the new food evolution, I identify the most exciting investment themes along the value chain that requires continued technological innovation regarding the means to scale up production to industrial levels
  • Food-as-Software: Huge opportunities will emerge in many areas of biotechnology and software, including product simulation and testing, AI, molecular databases, and gene sequencing and editing.
  • Carbon negative proteins and food ingredients: Making animal free, planet-friendly, carbon neutral protein out of thin air and microbes

Hadar explains: "Fundraising in this macro environment has become challenging and is expected to see continued slowdown in H01 2023, that’s a fact. My advice is partnership. Partnering with a larger company or joining a corporate incubator or accelerator can be a good way for startups to access new markets, customers, resources while also accessing smart funding."

Erika Hombert @ HackCapital

  • Technologies that speed up the adoption of regenerative farming practices. From AI and data services to fungal and microbial solutions.    
  • Innovations moving us from petroleum based products and processes, for example in packaging and chemicals.
  • Carbon sequestration technologies with outstanding teams.
  • Still bullish on fungi! Nutrition, materials, waste recycling, therapeutics - it’s amazing what this branch of species can be used for!    

Erika’s Advice: "Don't stop believing in a better future. Be realistic, especially regarding the current investment climate and the climate challenges ahead, but don't get too wrapped up in the current cultural negativity. In order to build a sustainable and prosperous future we must be able to envision it first! I feel there are too few stories on what the end game is. All great changemakers in history have held their dreams independent of the environment they were in."

Yael Alroy @ Viola Ventures

  • Fermentation
  • AI tools to predict and deal with climate risk
  • Scope 3 reporting
  • Climate Fintech

Yael’s advice: "Founders fundraising their first/next investment should prioritize shaping a robust business model, validating it with potential customers, and having a clear G2M strategy, in addition to focusing on technology. Understanding the market, showing a path to revenue, and having a strong, solid and experienced team are also key for successful fundraising in this current environment."

Catia Cesari @ Volta Circle

  • Deep learning model application to materials science and synbio
  • Scalable nature-based carbon sequestration
  • Carbon mineralisation
  • Low-pressure, low-heat ammonia production processes
  • Blockchain-based technologies applied to biodiversity

David Kappeler @ Foundation for Technological Innovation

  • Energy production and storage
  • Sustainable agriculture and food
  • Alternatives to plastic packaging
  • CO2 capture technology
  • Water consumption management
  • Self-healing composites

David’s top tips: "Be aware that the current context is rather tough and therefore the fundraising time is longer (x2). For startups in their first round of financing: first seek non-dilutive aid such as state aids like SPEI or FIT, which are not subject to the same tensions as investors. Then complete with business angel networks (SICTIC, BAS, Verve Ventures). For more mature companies: the first reflex is to ask existing investors to connect with a lead investor for the next round."

Maximilian Bade @ Nucleus Capital

  • Synbio-enabled green chemicals to substitute petrochemical derived ingredients.
  • Biomass fermentation without agricultural feedstocks, effectively decoupling food production from arable land.
  • Generative AI for biological intelligence: Optimizing experiment design and pot. molecule discovery.

"Optimise for the right syndicate composition in your first round (functional value add, network, follow-on financing). Don't optimize on valuation before you have found PMF!"

Puja Balachander @ Carbon13

  • Synthetic bio innovations, using microbes other than yeast, and alternative feedstocks
  • Low carbon air conditioning solutions
  • Enabling tech stack for alt protein, for example startups who are reducing costs of growing mediums

Puja’s recommendation: "Stretch your runway by cutting costs, and looking into equity free sources of funding, even small amounts like equity free accelerators, or community/university grants. Get creative about showing you have product and commercial traction. For example, maybe you can't get a paid pilot or LOI, but you can still show you have strong relationships with customers by producing co-branded content, research reports, etc."

Tong Gu @ Pact VC

  • Recycling for businesses
  • Smart Logistics
  • Climate X insurtech

Tong’s advice: "Lead your narrative with a long term vision (to get people excited) but also back it up with what you have done to-date to demonstrate you are the right team to make it a success. Understanding your unit economics and how to grow while improving the UE is key for the current fundraising environment."

Steve Molino @ Clear Current Capital

  • Biomass fermentation has a strong value prop for consumers around health/nutrition and sustainability, while also having large potential as a functional ingredient
  • Sidestream valorization / upcycling of waste streams into vital inputs into other alt protein applications (i.e., feedstock for precision fermentation, protein concentrates/isolates for plant-based, etc.)
  • Tech that allows us to disconnect food production from ag (i.e., thermochemistry, gas fermentation, etc.)
  • Innovative financing mechanisms for bioeconomy infrastructure
  • Solutions around micro & macro algae to unlock the ocean as a protein source

Alexandre Luyet @ Conexkt

  • Fusion, despite its immense engineering challenges, presents an opportunity to revolutionize the energy sector, making the risk well worth pursuing.
  • AI's influence on climate and food tech, along with the advancements in synthetic biology, hold the promise of ushering in a new era of sustainability and innovation.

Alexandre says: "Founders should remain steadfast in their vision while maintaining the flexibility to adapt their strategies. Prioritise the fundamentals: establish a profitable business model, optimise expenses, focus on sales, and extend your runway."

Josef Seidl - Angel Investor

  • AI Technologies e.g. for optimising resource usage, emission leak detection or real estate investment planning
  • MRV for biodiversity
  • Climate risk analysis
  • Enhanced weathering
  • Waste heat recovery

Josef shares: "Regardless of the current economic situation, it remains very critical for founders to focus and solve a real and big customer problem (painkillers instead of vitamins). The big opportunity right now: It's easier to hire some great tech talents because of recent layoffs (tip: layoffs.fyi)."

Antony Yousefian @ The First Thirty

  • Nutrient density measurement tech for food: Making it possible to scan food and see it's actually nutrient density, for example from its vitamin to antioxidants. Nutrient/health tech is ClimateTech. It is going to be huge, as it will enable food to capture value from other sectors like insurance and healthcare.
  • Epigenomics: Understanding RNA expression in plants and animals, and understanding how the environment is impacting our gene expression.
  • Ambient IoT (Traceability): Printed sensing technology, at the cost of pennies. Computers effectively the size of postage stamps, can be tagged now on anything, including food. This is going to be the infrastructure for digital supply chains and eventual optimisation.

Antony explains: "With lifting interest rates, return on capital is going to increase for VC and thus on start-ups themselves. So start-ups need to show either clearer returns on capital in business plans, if revenue or traction is not there today. Traction, traction traction, focus, focus , focus."

Jonathan Berger @ The Kitchen

  • Molecular farming: Using molecular biology and plant sciences to produce ingredients in a more sustainable way using less resources and reducing waste.
  • Cell cultivation: I believe that cell cultivation will eventually be price competitive without compromising on safety and nutrition. We head rapidly in this direction and the impact on resource utilization will be enormous.
  • Precision fermentation: With big data and AI we will see dramatic improvements and cost reduction. I also believe that some current capacity challenges will be resolved soon.
  • Personalised nutrition: With AI and strong computing power we will be able to connect food and health and have more tailor-made nutrition to meet people needs

Jonathan’s advice: "Try to better understand what your investors are facing – the appetite of their LPs, the pressure on returns, the back to basics on valuations. Build the relations with investors before fundraising and familiarise them with your story. Try to simplify your operation and show strong metrics with as low risk as possible. Be explicit on your KPIs."

Tamara Giltsoff @ Anthemis Group

  • Soil visibility and microbial measuring: sensing and measuring soil health and human microbial gut health
  • Spatial analysis of ecosystems: 3D data analysis, mapping growth of new trees, light detection sensing, drone and satellite data sensors
  • Computational agroecology: using technology and and farming expertise to model diverse agricultural landscapes based on natural ecosystems

Lauren Abda @ Branch Venture Group

  • Upcycling food that would otherwise be wasted
  • Technologies to extend product shelf life

Lauren shares "Focus on the fundamentals - a clear value-add, distinct differentiators, and a reasonable valuation. Time spent building rapport with investors who share your vision and updating them regularly on your developments whether you are fundraising or not, is always time well spent."

Frédéric Krebs - Angel Investor

  • Carbon capture / carbon removal / methane removal
  • Energy storage
  • Alt-meat that taste really good
  • Adaptation technologies

Frédéric's advice: "Be extremely active when it comes to funding your startup. It’s a full-time job and it takes months to be known, recognised, and retained. So get out of your office or lab, meet VCs or angel investors every single day. Use Zoom for more time efficiency but it is harder to make a great impression. Trust the process because in the end, you will inevitably get a network effect through it. You will be contacted. If not, question your technology, your team, your business model, or… your skill at fundraising."

Dominique P. Locher - Angel Investor

  • Sustainable packaging
  • Pollination
  • Smart vending
  • Food delivery

Dominique’s top tips: “Generate clear value with your vision, be truthfully mission-driven, be contagious with your passion, and start building early relationships with investors and not only when you desperately need cash since the runway is short!”

Marika King @ Pinc, Paulig Venture Arm

  • Crop genetics and biostimulants to improve yield, resilience and nutrition
  • Tools for MRV of climate footprint in the agrifood value chain with the ultimate aim to reduce footprint and improve overall sustainability of farming, including biodiversity.
  • Enabling tech to make plant-based alternatives easier, clean label and more nutritious. Technologies include precision fermentation-based alternative fats or spinning technologies to make fibers that mimic muscles.
  • Cell-cultured meat
  • Nutritious, functional and high value ingredients through upcycling of sidestreams and other solutions to reduce food waste.

Marika explains: “Investments in FoodTech have dropped 80% since the end of the peak in Q1 2022 so understandably there are challenges. Still, deals are being made and money needs to be deployed. It does take longer though, so reduce burn rate and try to prolong your runway. Also, look for investors who can really deliver value and will support you long term.“

Paul Rous @ Regenerate Ventures

  • Biologicals: New Biostimulants and Biofungicides that will look to replace fertilisers and chemicals while still maintaining yields.
  • Data: The use of AI and improved data sets to enable better precision agriculture. Looking at improved soil data sets and benchmarking through to providing better data for remote sensing (satellite imagery).

Daniel Skaven Ruben - Angel Investor

  • AI in general (across many application areas!)
  • Fossil-free fertiliser
  • Solutions to cut food waste
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Improved infrastructure and ingredients to better enable the alt protein ecosystem

Daniel’s advice: "Understand that fundraising processes (including due diligence) take a long time, that valuations have fallen drastically, and that many VCs are struggling too. Be crystal clear on your path to profitability. If all else fails, rebrand as a ClimateTech company as there still seems to be funding for those startups."

Michael Goblirsch @ Square One Foods

  • Alternative proteins (plant-based, cell-based)
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Traceability and environmental impact measurement method for food products
  • Gut health and the microbiome

Michael recommends: "Be realistic with your valuation; adaptable and flexible (with your ticket size/ terms); show traction and a clear understanding of your market and know your numbers; seek feedback and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and prepare for difficult funding until mid 2024."

Piotr Grabowski @ AC/VC Foodtech Impact Fund

  • Mycelium-based technologies at the intersection of food and health / mental health
  • Food waste reduction and supply chain management solutions
  • Data collection and decision-making support solutions for the farming industry

Piotr notes: "At the moment fundraising, more than ever, requires patience, persistence and a really entrepreneurial mindset. Do your work, maybe slower, but consistently. Go as far as possible. These are not days of high salaries, redundant costs and extensive marketing budgets. Be honest with your team what the situation looks like, do not overpromise and remember to reward them when the coin flips. Also ask for help and take care of yourself. If your mind and body are not right, your business won’t be either."

Erin Culley - Angel Investor

  • Making use of upcycling food/agriculture waste
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Valorising waste streams

Peter Schmetz @ Vorwerk Ventures

  • Verification of carbon credits
  • Biodegradable packaging
  • Functional ingredients
  • Supply chain transparency and efficiency
  • Hybrid technologies in FoodTech (Extrusion x Fermentation e.g.)

Peter suggests "In the case of a non-revenue generating, tech-relying businesses should make sure to have a clear path to market while also being clear in communicating your milestones. In the case of an already revenue-generating business, show a realistic path to profitability while also being prepared for steep growth scenarios."

Greg Michel @ Cell Capital

  • Progress in remote sensing: The appearance of new satellites with multispectral and hyperspectral sensors will open the door to much more accuracy in measuring vegetation growth and biomass. These technologies will be the necessary infrastructure on which true precision farming at scale will be developed.
  • Plantbased 2.0: There is now room for new entrants to truly crack the taste, texture, health and nutrition profile.
  • Microalgae: More and more companies are working to leverage some of their amazing properties as valuable biochemical compounds generators of proteins, omega-3s, lipids, pigments and as an input for the cosmetics and biofuel industries

Greg’s advice: "Back to the lean methodology: focus on piloting/ commercialising your product or part of it even if it’s not perfect, show you have initial traction. Get in touch with VCs well ahead of when you need to raise, keep them updated as you execute against your roadmap."

Markus Pfeiffer @ Bloom Partners

  • Monitoring of carbon saturation to maintain the health of ecosystems
  • Thermal picture evaluations to monitor the health of crops  
  • Data-driven supply chain optimisation  
  • Lab-grown meat and fish and the production of 3D-printed meat products

Markus advises: “Buzz” technologies such as Blockchain and AI are relevant, but only if backed by credible evidence! Real differentiation of the product/service, solid proof of product/market fit (beyond a handful of friendly customers), and being bold in terms of valuation and fundraising asks, demonstrates confidence in a company's potential for growth and success. Don’t let yourself be dragged into bargain deals!”

Laura Estankona @ Rumbo Ventures

  • Innovation in CCUS (Carbon capture, use and storage) is essential, since we will need to remove carbon from the atmosphere to stay below 1,5ºC. Therefore, we look for technologies like direct air capture (DAC) and other forms of capturing CO2 (like with microalgae!).
  • New materials are currently a growing market. For example, the processing of seaweed for the cosmetics industry or capturing CO2 to convert it into cellulose for materials in the fashion industry.
  • Climate softwares that combines ML and AI technologies, can help to improve the traceability of the high-quality carbon credits.

Laura recommneds: “When fundraising I would make sure you do have some profile in your team who is an expert on the field you are starting your venture, that gives you credibility, especially in a technical sector like climate-tech. Also, have a clear path to profitability and be flexible to pivot your project and adjust it to the sector & market needs. I would also suggest being up-to-date with current ongoing changes in regulation that affect the environmental field.“

Agree/disagree? Get in touch and tell us which technologies you’re most excited about.

team (at) hackcapital.co

Better still, join us all at the HackSummit and let’s catch up in person. Hope to see you there 👋

Which 13 cities will host their first FoodHack Meetup in 2023?

Whether it's to uncover new investment opportunities, hear from fresh talent or get up to speed on the latest trends…

…The FoodHack Meetups have become globally renowned (always free) events for FoodTech professionals to meet and exchange ideas.

In 2022, these Meetups often needed a waiting list.

And a ‘full house’ became the norm.

So we’ve almost doubled the number of FoodHack Ambassadors.

Opened 13 more Chapters.

And strengthened 6 existing Chapters.

Making it easier than ever for you to meet your local FoodTech community. Whether it’s your first or twenty-first FoodHack Meetup!

P.S. Sign up to our weekly newsletter to hear when the next Meetups take place.

Let’s meet all 35 Ambassadors
Europe:

🇳🇱 Amsterdam: Lara Nuchowicz. An angel investor in purpose-driven brands and sustainable technologies.

Bonus: Amsterdam’s first FoodHack Meetup takes place this week

🇮🇹 Bologna: Riccardo Astolfi. Serial founder turned startup scout and business creator in plant based, fermented foods and regenerative agriculture.

🇬🇧 Nottingham: Edmund Keenan. An angel investor with 18 years’ experience in food manufacturing process design.

🇫🇷 Paris: Sakina Elkassouani, Lucas Jacquet and Mikael Pereira. A trio with expertise across entrepreneurship, investment management, angel investing and Venture Capital.

🇸🇪 Stockholm: Darya Kartsava, Jacqueline Dangoor Engdahl. The duo offer a diverse range of skills in investment and project management to support the local Nordic ecosystem.

🇬🇷 Thessaloniki: Theodoros Sofianos. A serial founder passionate about leveraging technology to push the limits of the food industry.

Africa:

🇷🇼 Kigali: Dennis Nyarko. Startup founder volunteering internationally and nationally in food systems, climate and nature conservation.

Oceania:

🇦🇺 Melbourne: Lou Zarro and Paul Bevan. An incubator manager and startup CEO and Founder, who between them, have the know how to launch and scale a startup.

🇦🇺 Sydney: Rebecca Screnci. A biotechnology consultant helping founders, CTO, CSOs, investors and tech enthusiasts build companies from the ground up.

Latin America:

🇲🇽 Mexico City: Madeleine de Ville and Jan Heinvirta will pair up to support the Mexican FoodTech community, and share their passion around sustainability, food waste and plant-based ingredients.

North America:

🇺🇸 San Francisco: Jessica Schwabach, Siwen Deng, Emily Hopkins, Philip Saneski. Two IndieBio alumni, a biotech expert and culinary director will bring together the local Bay Area community.

🇨🇦 Toronto: Laurie Jittoo and Jireh Lau. Two food enthusiasts combining their skills as an entrepreneur, consultant and food retail experience.

Asia:

🇸🇬 Singapore: Geraldine Goh, Jolene Lum, Diane Fermin Roeder and Andrew Chee. Bringing their shared passion for supporting FoodTech startups and scaleups across Asia.

As well as opening new chapters, FoodHack is strengthening its teams in:

🇩🇪 Berlin: Jordi Morales Dalmau, a biotech CTO will join the Berlin Chapter with Naomi Sparks, Sarah Decoine and David Schoensee.

🇨🇭Lausanne: Jean-Marc Parveaux and Marie Bonnin. A big food marketing expert and a hands-on academic join forces with the current Lausanne Chapter with Luc-Etienne Dandrieu and Camille Aouinaït.

🇬🇧 London: Edmund Keenan and Anna Heslop. An angel investor and business consultant bring a passion for scaling up novel tech to join the team in London, led by Sascha Dutta, Rose Yombo-Djema and Xavier Maxwell.

🇵🇹 Lisbon: Pedro Conceição. A marketing leader, ready to use his expertise in growth to nurture the local FoodTech ecosystem in Lisbon alongside Nuno Lopes Gama.

🇺🇸 New York: Bianca Drevensek, Martha Pulnicki , Alexandra Jaffe and  Christina Briscoe will join Sara Fares in New York bringing experience as Founders, community builders and startup consultancy.

🇧🇬 Sofia: Elena Dineva, a startup founder and digital marketing expert will bring her skills to support our Sofia Ambassador Petya Angelova.

So now you’ve met the newest additions to our growing FoodHack Community...

...It’s time to join them in a city near you.

With new Meetups announced each week, sign up to be the first to know when and where they will take place.

Plus meet the Ambassadors (and hundreds of the brightest minds in ClimateTech) on 11-12th May at the HackSummit in Lausanne, Switzerland. Grab your ticket here.

Meet 300+ Top Women in Food and Climate

This International Women's Day, we're highlighting many of the incredible women breaking new ground and investing in a better future across Food and ClimateTech.

Their steadfast determination and north star vision is rewriting the future of our planet. Both for us and future generations to come.

You’ll find the full list of 300+ top women in Food and Climate below.

Many you'll know, but plenty of new names to watch in 2023 👀

And if you're ready to meet many of these women and the wider Food and Climate community IRL, join us at the HackSummit on May 11-12th in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Use code WOMENINCLIMATE for an extra 10% off

First, let's meet 30 of them:

🍫 Ahrum Pak Co-Founder @ WNWN Food Labs - scaling sustainable cocoa-free chocolate, made via fermentation with legumes and cereals.

🌲 Aureline Grange Co-Founder @ Open Forest Protocol - scaling an open platform to transparently measure, verify and fund forestation projects.

🌍 Beatriz Franco Managing Partner @ Vita Ventures - supporting founders tackling the world's most critical challenges.

🔬Clea Kolster Head of Science @ Lowercarbon Capital - solving the climate emergency through innovation in technology, business models, and policy.

🧬 Emilie Leproust CEO and Founder @ Twist Bioscience - enabling the growth of synbio across medicine, DNA data storage, ag biology and chemicals.

🚀 Heidi Lindvall General Partner @ Pale blue dot - enabling seed stage investments in ClimateTech startups across Europe and the US.

🤝 Isabella Fandrych Co-Founder @ Nucleus Capital - partnering with purpose-driven founders in synthetic & computational biology, Food and ClimateTech.

👩‍🔬Iris ten Have Head of Science @ Extantia - accelerating the pathway to a decarbonised world as a trained chemist at a climate-first VC.

🚀 Janna Ensthaler Founding Partner @ Green Generation Fund - focusing on early-stage FoodTech and GreenTech investments in Europe and the US.

🗺 Jennifer Kan Managing Partner @ Climate Capital Bio - investing in frontier technology startups solving climate change.

💨 Jennifer Place Principal @ Fifth Wall - funding technologies that decarbonize the built world.

🌳 Jessica Burley Investor @ Planet A Ventures - venture environmentalist backing founders tackling the world‘s largest environmental problems.

🍄 Joanne Rodriguez, Founder and CEO @ Mycocycle - using fungi to remove toxins from waste via bioremediation.

🧫 Katelijne Bekers @ MicroHarvest - building the future of protein by harnessing the power of microorganisms.

🌿 Katie Critchlow CEO @ NatureMetrics - using eDNA to turn nature into data and with technology to push biodiversity up the climate agenda.

💸 Lauren Lentz General Partner @ Revent - supporting purpose-driven founders tackling the problems that truly matter.

🤝 Lian Michelson Investor @ Vala Capital - working with startups, accelerators and VC funds as an investor, mentor and advisor.

🌏 Melina Sánchez Montañés investor and VP Impact @ AENU - investing in early-stage ClimateTech and social impact companies in the EU & US.

💰Merit Valdsalu Co-Founder and CEO @ Single.Earth - creating the world’s first nature-backed currency.

💦 Michelle Ruiz CEO and Co-Founder @ Hyfé - transforming food manufacturing wastewater into low-cost fermentation feedstock.

🌾 Nina Mannheimer Co-Founder and CPO @ Klim - scaling up regenerative agriculture to make agriculture part of the climate solution.

🧪Pippa Gawley Founding Partner @ Zero Carbon Capital - investing in scientific innovations to fight the unsolved problems of climate change.

💚 Sandra Malmberg Principal @ EQT Group - focusing on Food, ClimateTech and new emerging tech making our industries greener.

🍄 Sophia Wang Co-Founder @ MycoWorks - developing natural alternatives to engineered wood, leather and plastics using mycelium technology.

💵 Sierra Peterson Founding Partner @ Voyager Ventures - funding visionary founders building a sustainable future.

♻️ Sonalie Figueiras Co-Founder @ Source Green Packaging - connecting brands with earth-changing packaging solutions to decarbonise materials.

💸 Sonia Weymuller Co-Founder and General Partner @ VentureSouq - a MENA-based VC fund with an investment focus on FinTech and ClimateTech.

🚀 Sophie Purdom Co-Founder @ Climate Tech VC - investing in and supporting early-stage climate tech founders and their companies.

🌍 Tong Gu Founding Partner @ Pact - backing purpose driven founders with global ambitions.

💶 Tove Larsson General Partner @ Norrsken VC - investing in startups solving the world's biggest problems while building massive businesses.

🔎 View: Database of 300+ Top Women in Food and Climate

Get instant access to the data here.  

👀 Is someone missing from the list?

Add them to the list by completing this short form.

150+ OceanTech founders turning the tide to restore our blue planet

The world’s oceans are the largest heat sink on the planet, provide over 50% of the Earth’s oxygen production and absorb 23% of all human-caused CO2 emissions.

Yet despite its critical role in tackling climate change, marine ecosystems are under threat from pollution, overfishing and man made disruption.

For this year’s World Ocean Day, the theme is Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing.

So we’re highlighting 150 CEOs and Founders working across regeneration, restoration, conservation and the clean up of our ocean.

Technologies include:

🐟 Whole cut seafood alternatives
🤖 Real-time analytics and robotics
🪸 Responsible marine construction
💦 Removing waste from waterways
🎣 Sustainable fish farming and feed
🌊 Biodegradable plastic alternatives

But first, let’s meet 18 of them:

🇬🇧 Ben King Founder and CEO at Pesky Fish - helping to feed the world sustainably with seafood

Pesky Fish is building a global supply chain where fishermen can sell to customers with 100% transparency to create an economically and ecologically sustainable industry for fish, fishermen and consumers.

🇺🇸 Briana Warner, CEO at Atlantic Sea Farms - expanding USA’s first commercially viable seaweed farm

Atlantic Sea Farms is a vertically integrated, regenerative seaweed aquaculture company, diversifying how our coastal waters are used and providing a local, fresh, healthy alternative to imported seaweed products.

🇳🇴 Brian Tsuyoshi Takeda, Founder and CEO at Urchinomics - Restoring kelp forests through innovative urchin aquaculture

Urchinomics turns ecologically destructive sea urchins into high value seafood. This helps kelp forests recover and brings marine biomass and diversity back to coastal ecosystems, sequesters CO2, and creates meaningful employment in rural, coastal communities.

🇨🇦 Chris Bryson Founder and CEO at New School Foods - developing whole-cut seafood from plants

"Our food system is one of the world's biggest problems. And two thirds of the meat industry itself is wholecuts. So if we want to solve the climate crisis we have to solve food and to solve food we have to solve whole cuts," shares Chris.

🇮🇸 Christopher McClure at Loki Foods -  restoring our oceans through sustainable and delicious plant-based seafood alternatives

“At Loki Foods, we believe that by providing innovative and nutritious options, helps alleviate the pressures on our fragile marine ecosystems. As the seafood capital of the world, Iceland holds a special place for the planet. We're extra sensitive to the changes in our oceans and committed to restoring their health," explains Christopher.

🇩🇪 Deniz Ficicioglu Co-Founder at BettaFish - making authentic-tasting vegan tuna from seaweed

BettaF!sh aims to save and restore our oceans by using cultivated European seaweed to make  authentic plant-based tuna alternatives. "With seaweed at the core of our product, we are building a new seaweed industry that also creates a sustainable alternative to fishing and re-balances our oceans," adds Deniz.

🇩🇰 David Erlandsson Co-Founder at Aliga Microalgae - Developing naturally nutritious algae

"At Aliga Microalgae, we believe that algae have a significant part to play in the transformation of the world’s food systems, from providing healthier clean label ingredients to creating green and sustainable nutrition for humans and animals," shares David.

🇳🇱 Francis Zoet, Co-Founder and COO at The Great Bubble Barrier® - Using bubbles to collect and remove plastics from waterways

The Great Bubble Barrier helps governments meet changing regulations on waste management in waterways, help cities fight plastic problems in their waters and help waterboards to save on their cleanups after high water.

🇺🇸Geof Chapin, CEO at Carbonwave - collecting, processing and growing seaweed profitably at scale.

Carbonwave markets seaweed extracts to the agricultural industry as organic fertilisers and biostimulants; plant-based leathers for fashion and interiors; and broad-spectrum emulsifiers with a wide range of applications across cosmetics and skin-care products.

🇮🇩 Gibran Huzaifah, CEO at eFishery - disrupting traditional fish farming methods

Just last month eFishery reached unicorn status with a $108M series D raise. It has a customer base of approximately 60,000 farmers, and is targeting 1 million fish farmers in its “digital cooperative” by 2025.

🇮🇱 Ido Sella, CEO at ECOncrete - Pioneering concrete solutions for responsible marine construction

ECOncrete’s nature-based solutions for marine construction enhance biodiversity with a unique patented technology. In compliance with industry standards, ECOncrete’s technology can be seamlessly integrated into any types of marine infrastructure in a scalable manner.

🇩🇪 Joel Tasche, Founder and CEO at Cleanhub - preventing 50% of new ocean plastic by 2030.

Cleanhub brings waste collection to coastal regions - where they are needed most. Resulting in 1000’s of new waste management hubs globally which will directly prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean and provide jobs for local communities.

🇨🇦 Julie Angus, CEO and Co-Founder at  Open Ocean Robotics - collecting real time ocean data with solar powered autonomous boats

Open Ocean Robotics’ boats are equipped with sensors, cameras and communication devices to capture information from anywhere in the ocean with instant access to it. The boats harvest energy from the sun and the wind, and can travel nonstop for months, without producing any greenhouse gas emissions, noise pollution or risk of oil spills.  

🇮🇱 Ofek Ron, CEO and Co-Founder at Plantish - creating boneless fish whole-cuts from plants

"Plantish exists to save the oceans and eliminate the need to consume marine animals by providing more sustainable, more nutritious, and more delicious fish options," shares Ofek.

🇫🇮 Mari Granström, Founder and CEO at Origin by the Ocean - detoxifying the chemical industry with algae-based solutions

Origin by the Ocean is building a business ecosystem based on farmed and harvested algae which they turn into ingredients that are used in the production of everyday consumer goods.

🇮🇱 Roee Nir, CEO and Co-Founder at Forsea - using a revolutionary organoid technology to produce fish and seafood while securing the ocean’s health and wealth

"Forsea’s vision is to target only highly priced endangered species that have an unmet market need. Our first product is a freshwater eel, an endangered species that cannot be bred in captivity and has market demand of billions of dollars," details Roee.

🇿🇦 Sara Andreotti at SharkSafe Barrier (Pty) Ltd - keeping only sharks separated from swimmers and surfers, without harming the marine environment.

SharkSafe Barrier has developed a novel and eco-friendly approach to solve the shark-human conflict, by providing the first effective, shark-specific and nature-inspired technology, to protect surfers and swimmers from large sharks without harming the ocean fauna.

🇭🇰 Vriko Yu, Co-Founder and CEO at Archireef - building dynamic marine ecosystems

Archireef is harnessing the power of 3D-printing and applying their proprietary algorithms to print reef tiles made from natural materials and work with government entities and businesses to incorporate marine ecosystem restoration into their ESG and sustainability agenda.

🔎 View: Database of 150+ OceanTech Founders and CEOs

Access the full list here

👀 Is someone missing from the list?

Add them in by completing this short form.

Listed curated by HackCapital, the platform for sustainable finance that enables purpose-built fundraising and liquidity tools for impact funds and startups including OceanTech, FoodTech and ClimateTech.

Why these three startups won the FoodHack Demo Day

The FoodHack Demo Day saw 200+ investors from around the world tune in to watch 12 high impact startups pitch for investment.

The founders proved there is no shortage of talent or ambition in the agrifood sector. Each presenting for 2 minutes, followed by questions from the judges.

Deciding the winners was no easy task, so we left that to the judges!

Let’s dive in…

The Demo Day in numbers:

⏳ 2 minutes to pitch
🏆 3 winners
👩⚖️ 4 judges
🚀 12 startups
🤝 60+ investors <> startup intro’s
💸 200+ investors

The startups:

Plant-based alternatives to dairy, meat and sugar

🥓 Raging Pig Co and 🧀 Grounded Foods are bringing more sustainable alternatives to meat and dairy lovers, without compromising on taste or health.

🥗 Naturannova are using computational biology and precision fermentation to develop an all natural plant-based sweet.

Upcycling ingredients

🧪 Arda Biomaterials are upcycling brewery waste into an alternative protein material to replace leaders.

☕️ Kaffe Bueno are upcycling coffee side streams to create multi-functional bioactive ingredients.

🏭 ProteinDistillery obtain sustainable protein from upcycled brewer’s yeast to offer great taste, nutrition and pleasant mouthfeel.

New protein sources

🧫 PoLoPo are using molecular farming to increase protein content in potato tubers for a plant bio-factory for high scale production of animal-derived functional proteins.

Fermentation technologies

🍫 WNWN Food Labs showcased their sustainable, scalable cacao-free chocolate using novel fermentation and food chemistry (and chocolate is just the start).

🍄 Kynda are empowering food producers to drastically reduce their carbon footprint by using biomass fermentation to produce mycelium.

Agtech

🌾 Improvin have developed a food industry platform for carbon reductions across the supply chain.

Novel strains and microbes

🔬 Wild Microbes and 🍄 Mycolever (who came out of stealth at the Demo Day) revealed how they are unlocking superior microbes to increase microbe diversity.

The judges:

Four judges dug deeper into the technologies to reveal their true scale-up and impact potential.

How would they really be able to stand up against competition, increase consumer adoption and gain regulatory approval.

Christina Ulardic at Astanor Ventures, Christian Guba at FoodLabs, Steven Finn at Siddhi Capital and our very own Erika Hombert asked the questions we wanted answers to!

The winners:

12 powerful pitches. But there could only be three winners:

Best Pitch: Wild Microbes (USA)

Wild Microbes have the potential to have a big impact on a lot of other FoodTech companies in their mission to unlock better performing microbes to generate an upswing across the whole industry.

The judges were impressed by Ben’s clear, concise pitch whilst bringing a bundle of energy to the stage. A promising solution to find and cell-ebrate the best ‘natural athlete’ microbes.

Highest Impact: PoLoPo (Israel)

PoLoPo revealed their novel approach to growing proteins by using molecular farming with potatoes. A very sustainable and durable plant.

This could prove to be a much needed alternative in the drive to fulfill demand from a (much needed) protein shift. We’re excited to witness Maya and Raya’s spud-tacular impact.

Most Likely to Oversubscribe: WNWN Food Labs (UK)

WNWN Food Labs’ fermentation technology has enabled them to create a full range of ethical, sustainable and resilient alternative ingredients to produce chocolate.

The judges were convinced their round would be oversubscribed thanks to rave reviews of their products by the FoodTech community, a more scalable solution than synbio and a choco-lot of investor interest.

What’s next?

Now: We’re busy flooding the inboxes of the 12 founders with investor introductions.

Next: We’ll work with angel investors in the FoodHack Syndicate to fill the rounds of at least three of the founders from the Demo Day.

Then: We’ll share the funding rounds of each of the startups once they are announced.

Join us next time: Our next Demo Day takes place in March 2023.

Can’t wait that long? List your startup’s fundraise here.

Until next time…

20+ Food and Climate PR agencies to help you get the word out

If your technology has world-changing potential, doesn’t the world deserve to hear about it?

Bringing on a pr agency means you can tap into new skill sets and connections to communicate your breakthrough to new markets, geographies, partners and consumers.

So you might be looking for a PR agency to:

  • Launch a product
  • Announce a fundraise
  • Communicate a milestone
  • Promote a new collaboration
  • Refine your messaging and positioning

But where do you start looking for one?

Here at FoodHack we’ve put together a list of 20+ Food and Climate PR agencies (and who to contact) to give your startup the attention it deserves

🇺🇸 AgTech PR - Partnering with Ag and FoodTech management teams to tell their story, build a positive company reputation and attract investors and customers 👉 Contact Jennifer Goldston

Expertise in: Executive communications, stakeholder engagement, reputation management, integrated marketing communications

🇺🇸 Be Good PR - Providing exceptional results for exceptional companies across food, climate and beyond  👉 Contact Gina Gacad

Expertise in: Communications, public relations, marketing services, senior counsel and guidance

🇬🇧 BRICK - Working with climate tech startups and F&B brands wanting to change the world 👉 Contact Jonny Stanton

Expertise in: Branding, digital marketing, SEO, PR, funding raises and newsrooms.

🇩🇪 Cosmyc Partners - moving it forward for VCs, startups and high-growth tech companies 👉 Contact Sarkis Bisanz

Expertise in: Public relations and reputation, investor relations, fundraising and public affairs

🇬🇧 Deep Green Media - Supporting climate advisory and service providers to communicate and amplify environmental and social impact 👉 Contact Oliver Wagg

Expertise in: Integrated multichannel PR campaigns, one-off reports and everything in between

🇳🇱 EDERA Lab - A spin-off of international PR firm, Digital Trails that specialising in supporting Climate and AgriFood Tech start-ups across Europe, US and APAC 👉 Contact Chiara Molena

Expertise in: LinkedIn management, content creation, press office services focussing on recruitment, investors visibility and multimarket PR

🇺🇸 Evolotus PR - Working in socially beneficial industries such as health, wellness, green technologies, animal advocacy, and vegan foods 👉 Contact Kezia Jauron and Gary Smith

Expertise in: Public relations and communication services

🇬🇧 Kibbo Kift Agency - Representing activists, arts movements, creative brands and start-ups, future-thinkers and social justice initiatives related to sustainability and conscious consumerism 👉 Contact Sam Narr

Expertise in: PR and performance marketing across Google and Facebook/Instagram, product launches, brand representation

🇮🇱 Mira Marcus Media Relations - Helping Israeli startups get coverage to the international press 👉 Contact Mira Marcus

Expertise in: Media coverage in leading trade and tier 1 press, as well as podcasts and awards

🇮🇱 NutriPr - Serving the food, nutraceuticals, FoodTech and AgriTech industries, with a specific plant-based focus 👉 Contact Liat Simha

Expertise in: Public relations, social media, new media, trade show support

🇵🇱 People PR - Delivering effective PR for Food, Wine and Food Tech on the Polish market 👉 Contact Kamila Wardyn-Kopera

Expertise in: Public relations, social media and content marketing

🇨🇭Pink Pear Agency - Connecting impact-driven food and climate innovators with a flexible A-Team of communication experts to achieve their business goals 👉 Contact Laura Robinson

Expertise in: Communication strategy, content strategy, copywriting, LinkedIn

🇺🇸 PlantedSeed - Working with consumer brands that are championing personal and planetary health with a sweet spot for founder-led companies. 👉 Contact Holly Corrales

Expertise in: Public relations, influencer marketing, event support and consultancy

🇧🇷 Profile - Telling stories that inspire evolution by focusing on sustainability, positive impact and ESG narratives 👉 Contact Rodrigo V Cunha

Expertise in: Strategic consulting, media relations, content curation

🇧🇷 SaudaBe Group - Developing marketing and sales strategies for brands that want to impact the world in a positive way 👉 Contact Bruna Pavão

Expertise in: Endorsements, product development, brand positioning, digital marketing, sales

🇧🇷 SOKO - Linking brand stories to storytellers in a journey towards the right audience 👉 Contact Gabriela Rodrigues

Expertise in: Creating powerful ideas, generating engagement, PR and organic impressions for brands

🇦🇺 The PR Group - Creating high impact communications programs for disruptive businesses across Asia-Pacific 👉 Contact Melissa Shawyer

Expertise in: Media relations, influencer engagement, brand collaborations, events, communication strategy and digital content

🇪🇸 The Vegan Agency - Focusing on veganism, sustainability and environmentalism 👉 Contact Paula González Carracedo

Expertise in: Communication strategy, press, graphic design, event organisation, photography

🇬🇧 Tremplin Marketing - Providing strategic counsel to established and emerging consumer brands 👉 Contact Gillian Wright

Expertise in: Marketing, PR consultancy and providing strategic counsel

🇵🇹 Trust PR Production - Building trustworthy relationships between a brand and the media 👉 Contact Anastasia Veremyova

Expertise in:  PR partnerships, digital marketing, brand development, PR training

🇬🇧 Vejie Media - Nurturing plant-based brands to grow 👉 Contact Annie Edney

Expertise in: PR, bespoke events, experiential marketing, brand activations

Ready to hear more?

We’ll be diving into the topic and importance of PR strategies to get the word out on your startup at the HackSummit on May 11-12th.

Where Marie Fabiunke at FoodLabs and Katelijne Bekers at MicroHarvest will share their insights from both a VC and startup perspective.

Meet and hundreds of founders and funders in Food and Climate at the HackSummit. Use code PRSTRATEGY to save 10% and join them.

What 20 VC's predictions tell us about the future of agrifoodtech in 2023

Behind every cloud is a s̶i̶l̶v̶e̶r̶ green lining.

And following the past 12 months, we’re seeing entrepreneurs’ exceptional technologies break onto the scene that can outlast downturns and overcome unprecedented challenges.

Funding from FoodTech investors enables these founders to develop and scale impactful technologies.

So we asked 20 high impact investors what they predict for the year ahead.

P.S. if you too are ready to back exceptional early-stage founders, apply to invest through HackCapital.

Let's dive in...

Christina Ulardic @ Astanor Ventures

  • A focus on technologies and business models that pragmatically address challenges related to the human health and the climate crisis, notably, though with a path to revenue generation and handle on CAPEX requirements
  • Regenerative agriculture and soil health have proven difficult to address through venture capital, but we hope will receive more attention
  • We are expecting the field of synthetic biology to further evolve and provide solutions from using enzymes to convert sugars into fibre all the way to bio based manufacturing. Moving towards a “bioeconomy” will require rethinking of supply chains, increases in energy efficiency and investment in infrastructure

Christian Guba @ FoodLabs

  • Agtech ventures will emerge from the shadow of alternative proteins with the help of synbio — think soil health, fertilizer, biodiversity or inoculants  
  • Plant-based alternatives will continue to struggle in 2023 as 'plant-based 2.0' is still 1-2 years away until the necessary enabling technology comes to market
  • The 2nd wave of infrastructure startups in biomanufacturing are vertically integrated and analytics-driven
  • Alternative packaging will get the attention it needs; in addition to the plastic problem, there's also a health crisis from microplastics and a potential for carbon capture
  • Molecular farming startups will challenge precision fermentation incumbents

Steven Finn @ Siddhi Capital

  • Higher value, lower inclusion rate products and ingredients will prove to be the most immediately investable opportunities
  • Sadly, innovation will temporarily slow down for a few key reasons:

1) Companies who were previously coached to move faster and take more shots on goal are retraining themselves to preserve cash and focus only on their north star.

2) On the ingredient side, customers are going to move slower than ever. This includes younger challenger brands who are focusing on the core over the future, as well as big CPG players who are slowing down innovation to focus on quarterly bottom line in the current market environment.

3) Brilliant people who could make a difference in this space are going to not start companies that may have existed in a better funding market for their own personal and job security related reasons. Many will also choose to work at established firms instead of taking personal risks on startups that may not get funded.

Kevin O'Shaughnessy @ S2G Ventures

  • Cellular protein will provide consumers around the world with safe, sustainable food
  • Food will become central to the effort to prevent chronic disease and improve health outcomes
  • Novel ingredients will elevate plant-based foods to a new level of performance in terms of taste, health and cost competitiveness

Albrecht Wolfmeyer @ Proveg Incubator

  • Taste, texture of plant-based / fermentation-derived products will reach new levels with exciting launches of fungi and algae-based products
  • More clean-label solutions as consumers prioritise health, sustainability and transparency
  • Precision fermentation will make big waves
  • Cultivated meat, seafood and dairy will grow through takeovers, mergers, (slower and smaller than before) fundraising rounds

Steven Molino @ Clear Current Capital

  • 2023 will be the “year of the reset” for plant-based offerings. The end of plant-based offerings that don’t meet consumer expectations. Many mediocre brands will cease operations, while we’ll see increased consolidation and M&A for the remaining players. New entrants will realise the need to truly innovate on taste, texture, experience, price, health, etc.
  • Fermentation will begin entering mainstream conversations. Biomass offerings will start hitting the market at a larger scale, and it will give good insight into how health focused consumers really are, considering their strong nutritional profile compared to many plant-based meat alternatives.  
  • Expecting the USDA to approve the sale of Upside’s cultivated chicken, will be both a monumental occasion for the space, and a strong reminder of how far we need the space to grow for it to have a true positive impact on our food system.
  • Tech-like valuations will officially disappear, as investors remember these are food companies at the end of the day. Round sizes will continue to drop and generalist investors will increasingly sit on the sidelines to wait and see how things develop. Dedicated sustainable food and alt protein investors will be the primary source of funding, which will lead to an overall drop in funding at the early stages.

Clara Camesasca @ Volta Circle

  • FoodTech will increasingly overlap with HealthTech
  • Fat alternatives will remain an interesting area in ingredient innovation
  • Fundraising for single applications will become increasingly difficult
    e.g. technology platforms with multiple applications are privileged, especially if they are applicable to traditional food as well as alternative meat. A notable example are protein or enzyme discovery and design platforms

Brett Brohl @ Bread and Butter Ventures

  • We’ll see less total money invested but an increase in the number of startups in the space, largely driven by a continued interest in the food system's role in sustainability.  
  • Plant-based protein alternatives will be hard hit. It’s been hot, to the point of oversaturation, and valuations in the space have been so high that, in a more valuation-sensitive market like we’re currently in, it will be harder to get new deals done.

Ashley Hartman @ Bluestein Ventures

  • Consumers will continue to outsource their food consumption and treat retail as experiential
  • Personalisation with increasingly connected consumers and real-time health tracking & data
  • Reducing inflammatory foods, including excess salt, oil, and sugar – with nutrient density taking center-stage
  • A drive towards food as medicine, integrating nutrition, wellness, and healthcare to solve chronic health problems and other unmet medical needs by emphasising treatment over prevention.

Katarzyna Gil @ ICOS Capital Management

  • Precision fermentation will further the production of edible fats, proteins, and other functional ingredients
  • Innovative business models and novel technology options in the production space will unlock the potential of the underutilised biomass, in particular, side streams from agriculture and forestry, for high-value food-grade applications.

Thomas van den Boezem @ PeakBridge VC

  • Solid state fermentation will be on everyone’s radar
  • The adoption of digital, data-driven innovation across the food supply chain
  • Greater acceleration of precision fermentation and cell cultured solutions following easing of regulatory approvals
  • Companies and investors will prioritise price parity vs. conventional protein more- and faster in current inflationary environment – especially in precision fermentation and cell culture which will thrive following regulatory approvals

Robert Dupree @ Alwyn Capital

  • More companies will take down rounds before the industry normalizes.
  • We will see more M&A in the space
  • Plant based offerings will take a leap in quality. Raw ingredient optimisation and development as well as new texturization technologies will produce better products.
  • After the FDA's approval of Upside's product and process in 2022, I expect additional governments to incorporate cultivated meat into their sustainability, and food security strategies

Jean-Gabriel Tarnaud @ Döhler Ventures

  • Increase in healthy indulgence and mood-food brands to reconcile great taste with functionality and a beneficial nutritional profile
  • Innovation in ingredients on texture, colour and especially flavour in the plant-based foods market
  • Sustainability will continue to drive transparency solutions and further evolution of packaging materials

Erik Byrenius @ Trellis Road

  • 2023 will see a spotlight on staple foods (e.g. corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, legumes) and how to improve them in terms of climate resilience, nutritional value, environmental footprint etc.
  • Limited access to funding gives outstanding early-stage entrepreneurs a chance to shine and do magic, growing stronger through rough times.
  • The foodtech environmental discussion moving beyond GHG emissions to an increased spotlight on biodiversity, water scarcity and other planetary boundaries.

Brian Bernstein @ Rich Products Ventures

  • The future of alt-animal protein will hinge on better products with improved flavour, texture, nutritionals and price, with many companies recognising the need to partner with other input providers / scaling partners (rather than doing everything internally)
  • Post-COVID labor constraints will continue to drive interest in food service automation solutions (both hardware and software), with potential to drive revenue upside and unit economic improvement
  • Continued movement towards reshoring / nearshoring for food manufacturers, driven by geopolitical environment and sustainability initiatives
  • Increased partnership between healthcare players and D2C meal companies as part of food as medicine movement

Maya Benami - impact investor

  • NextGen cultivated meats will not need as much (or any) growth factors or scaffolding due to the ability to manipulate cells (to produce both their own scaffolding and growth factors)
  • More investment into re-purposed facilities and sourcing re-purposed bioreactors and fermenters (from bioethanol, antibiotic production, and breweries)

Stephanie Dorsey @ E2d2j

  • The promise of digitization and precision ag is held back by the processing, interpretation and integration of data. This creates significant barriers to automation and results in many lost insights. We will see a third wave of precision ag companies that will address significant gaps in this domain.
  • Despite the macroeconomic environment, seed and pre-seed investing will likely increase pace in 2023 especially in light of the fact that VCs are sitting on record amounts of dry powder.
  • M&A will likely ramp up significantly. Getir's acquisition of Gorillas is just the beginning for consolidation in certain sub-sectors that are experiencing challenging times.

Pierre-Mathieu Pélissier @ Thia Ventures

  • I am very interested to see infrastructure start-ups will break ground, both literally and figuratively, on building the biomanufacturing sites of the future.
  • New technological revolutions will to continue to transform food production as we know it.  (e.g. in-silico innovations, advanced editing, microfluidics, continuous fermentation, cell-free approaches...)
  • More real and exciting breakthroughs where food meets health, be it in functional foods or ingredients, nutraceuticals backed by solid science.
  • I am optimistic we will see a breakthrough in the European regulations on gene editing.

Nathan Cooper @ Barrel VC

  • Sustainable packaging will become the hottest trend of 2023. This is a $Trillion+ market that is killing our planet.
  • The global water crisis will come front and center. Ideas in water generation / monitoring / safety / management will receive funding. Massive companies will begin to emerge.
  • Investors will fund companies in ingredient production-trying to avoid the supply chain disruptions of 2020.

Gil Horsky @ Mondelēz International

  • The lines dividing the categories of functional foods, supplements and drugs will continue to blur. Food will become central to the effort to prevent chronic disease and improve health outcomes.
  • Agriculture practices will continue to develop in alignment of two major forces: sustainability and digitization. New digital technologies will enable farmers and food companies to use resources more efficiently as well as collect and share data which allows them to report on inputs and outcomes.
  • Food security will stop being a phrase used only in “academia” and become a strategic pillar of most governments, to ensure local food supply and resilience. Governments will create dedicated ministries and allocate funding and resources to food security. This will accelerate a new wave of entrepreneurs and startups trying to develop new solutions that improve crop yields via more sustainable and efficient fertilizers, irrigation etc. to provide more access to water and affordable & nutrient-dense foods.

Erin Culley - impact investor

  • More and more focus on upcycling. Whether it’s a company like Hyfé Foods taking advantage of food production waste streams to grow their mycelium product, to Incredible Eats using spent grains to create their edible replacement to single use plastic cutlery to the multiple material goods companies using waste from fruit production to create leather alts.
  • Mycelium, mycelium, mycelium. The surface of this third kingdom (yes mushrooms are neither plant nor animal, but their own kingdom) has barely been scratched and it is already yielding incredible promise for multiples uses in cellular agriculture and fermentation, new materials, mitigation of toxins - and as a nutrient dense, high protein food source itself.  

As we step into 2023 with cautious optimism, top FoodTech founders will continue to raise rounds.

And VCs and investors will continue to back the founders trailblazing innovation across AgriFood.

Sign up to get the latest funding news and announcements straight to your inbox each week.

And, if you’re looking to start investing in early-stage startups too, apply to invest through HackCapital.

❓Want to have your say?

Agree, disagree or did we miss a trend?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, drop us an email: team (at) foodhack (dot) global

How this serial founder is turning renewable energy and CO2 into carbon-negative proteins

46% of the world’s habitable land is used for farming, according to the UN FAO.

And one third of all greenhouse gases come from our food system.

Which is why scientists and entrepreneurs are unlocking radical ways to feed growing populations sustainably with nutritious foods.

Meet Adnan Oner, a scientist-turned-founder.

Who has combined his background in applied, theoretical and particle physics with entrepreneurship.

To leverage science and technology for a better future for both us and the planet.

Six years ago he was already exploring problems around emissions, the technologies available and the solutions that didn't yet exist.

He quickly began to realise the damage caused by industrial agriculture and the biodiversity crisis we’re facing.

Inspired by George Monbiot’s article on replacing photosynthesis in food production to relieve most of the world’s surface from agriculture, Adnan was spurred into action.

And just last year, he founded Farmless.

Using renewable energy (instead of photosynthesis), Farmless grows single cell microbial protein with a liquid feedstock made from CO2 and hydrogen, green ammonia and minerals as a feedstock.

Through fermentation.

Simply put, instead of brewing beer, they brew microbes that have been selected for their food properties.

And instead of using sugar, they use a feedstock that is made from renewable energy.

As a result, Farmless uses 10-25x less land compared to animal proteins.

And 10-100x less land compared to plant proteins.

With (significantly) less land required, Farmless’ mission is to give back the land we borrowed from nature and rewild our planet.

"We believe this technology has the potential to end factory farming, rewild our planet and draw down gigatons of carbon," explained Adnan Oner, the Founder and CEO of Farmless.

Today Farmless came out of stealth to announce a €1.2 million pre-seed round with Revent, Nucleus Capital, Possible Ventures with participation from HackCapital, Sustainable Food Ventures, VOYAGERS Climate-Tech Fund, TET Ventures and renowned angel investors.

The funding will be used to accelerate R&D, improve formulation and overcome regulation and scale-up challenges. Ready to partner with food companies.

And as renewables get cheaper and cheaper, agricultural-free microbial protein has the potential to become the cheapest form of protein in the coming decade.

With the call for carbon labels on the rise, and food companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint, Farmless is at the forefront of enabling companies to put the most sustainable food products on supermarket shelves.

Adnan Oner will deliver a keynote at 11.55 on May 12th at the HackSummit in Lausanne. It's the first opportunity to hear from the founder on his plans to free food production from animals and agricultural land.

Why this Venturing Executive from 3 of the largest food multinationals launched an AgriFood-Tech Fund in a downturn

The market is tough, valuations are down, it’s a hard time to fundraise.

But, it’s also the best time to invest.

With almost 2 decades of corporate and venturing experience behind him at PepsiCo, Kraft and Mondelēz International, Gil Horsky has decided that now is the best time to launch a new AgriFood-Tech VC.

Throughout his career in the food industry, he’s seen first-hand the successes and failures of AgriFood startups. He believes that one of the greatest opportunities for FoodTech entrepreneurs is to be from the beginning more commercially focused and problem-orientated in solving unmet needs for the consumer and industry.

And now he’ll be funding the next generation of AgriFood-Tech startups.

As the Founding Partner of FLORA Ventures.

By investing in European and Israeli AgriFood-Tech startups at the intersection of planetary and human health, that adhere to the fund’s manifesto of “Good for People, Kind to the Planet”. From pre-seed to Series A.

At FoodHack, we’ve tracked the investments of 100+ VC funds in 2022. So what’s different about FLORA Ventures?

Gil Horsky spent the last 16 years working around the globe in senior executive roles at multinational food corporations. So, if there’s anyone who knows how they think and what it takes to get on their radar for collaboration, venture investment and M&A, it’s Gil.

And he’s teaming up with Esther Barak Landes, one of the most famous and successful Israeli early-stage disruptive tech investors in a variety of verticals: FinTech, AgTech, Healthcare and Digital Transformation.

Who brings a 20 year track record of identifying and investing in early winners, and then helping them lay the foundations to become a big company that gets at one point acquired or goes public. Esther also founded the Nielsen Innovate Fund, an early-stage incubator and fund that specialised in Retail-Tech and digital media technologies.

Esther and Gil are strong believers that entrepreneurs should surround themselves with people they enjoy working with. So, as investors they’re looking to mix approachability and high integrity, while being the right added-value partners for entrepreneurs when times are good and, more importantly, when times are tough.

And what’s more, FLORA Ventures is backed by top-tier Strategic and Institutional LP investors and has a bigger network of strategic corporate partners and advisors from the entire value chain of the AgriFood-Tech industry.

So, founders backed by FLORA Ventures have early access to design partners who will guide them on industry and consumers' unmet needs, pilot their technology and be by their side from the very beginning.  

Why is corporate know-how an added value for startup founders?

Corporates are very important partners for startups, and can help them accelerate their time to market  especially in the AgriFood-Tech industry, in which the go-to market can be challenging and takes a long time.

But it can also be challenging to work with corporates, they can be slow to respond and drain your resources as an entrepreneur if you don’t set-up the right collaboration framework.

For example: You might have your champion at the corporate, but they can easily change roles within the company and then you will start from scratch.

Gil has been on that side of the table for almost 2 decades and now he’s ready to share his experience with entrepreneurs on how to successfully navigate the corporate world.

According to Gil, it doesn't really matter if you're working with Mondelēz, Givaudan, PepsiCo, Walmart, Unilever or DSM. They all have a lot of similarities in the way they think and operate.

Getting on their radar early, building a collaboration framework, making sure it’s a win-win from day 1 are all important factors for a successful partnership with Big Food.

And for founders moving along the collaboration process, whether it’s graduating from a corporate acceleration program, starting a small R&D collaboration, to getting an investment or even being acquired, it is important to understand the implications and risks.

Where will FLORA Ventures invest next? And how can you get on their radar?

FLORA Ventures invests across pre-seed to Series A, but it has a sweet spot for leading rounds of seed stage companies who have already received angel or incubator pre-seed investment of at least €1M.

And they’re targeting investments based on a gameboard of 7 key areas:

  • Food as Medicine
  • Planet First Tech
  • Food Security
  • Digitizing the Value Chain
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Personalised Nutrition
  • Discovery, Payments and Distribution Tech

With an investment evaluation framework of the 3 P’s:

Backing the best-in-class purpose driven people with big dreams, global ambitions, and the grit to execute and succeed.

Funding solutions with high growth potential that serve large markets, and that have the right industry dynamics and regulatory path to deliver outlier returns.

Investing in ventures with purpose to build a healthier, sustainable and more resilient agrifood tech system that’s aligned with their ESG and impact guidelines.

The FLORA Ventures team is heading to the HackSummit on 11-12th May where Gil Horsky will moderate a panel discussion on ‘Food as Medicine’.

He’ll be joined on stage by:

Nora Khaldi @ Nuritas who’s using discovery tools and AI to find new functional ingredients that can be used in food.

Anand Parikh @ Faeth Therapeutics who’s developing diets for cancer patients as a critical pillar to fight the disease.

Richard Day @ ADM who’ll share how ADM is partnering with startups such as Brightseed to scale food as medicine solutions.

Adam Melonas @ Chew who's partnered with some of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers to create 1,000's of products that offer solutions to combat childhood obesity, malnutrition and severe food allergies.

Ready to be a part of the Summit action? Use code FLORAVENTURES to save 10% on your summit pass and meet the team 1-1.

Carbon neutral food production: How ex-Infarm and Kalera are transforming the cultivation of mushrooms

Centre plate, as a meat substitute or as a secondary ingredient, mushroom’s popularity is ‘shrooming.

Leading chefs to showcase gourmet mushrooms on their menus.

And retailers to tap into this soaring trend.

But take Germany for example, which already imports over 62,200 tonnes of fresh and chilled mushrooms each year.

It is building new and expanding existing mushroom farms to increase production capacity by 4% YoY.

But is this enough to keep up with demand?

Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock don’t think so.

Eldad, ex-Delivery Hero and former Infarm Director and Daniel, former strategy consultant and ex-VP of Business Development at Kalera have teamed up and founded Tupu.

The duo are on a mission to disrupt the mushroom industry by applying their knowledge of vertical farming, to scale local, gourmet mushrooms.

And develop a cost-efficient, modular mushroom farming system.

With their localised production, Tupu offers a sustainable, reliable, nutritious food source to help feed growing populations in our cities.

They’re currently cultivating 6 varieties of gourmet mushrooms: Shiitake, King Oyster, Yellow Oyster, Grey Oyster, Lion's mane, Coral Tooth.

At a rate of 2.5 tonnes per month on a 600 sqm farm.

What’s the technology behind Tupu?

Tupu are leveraging robotics and AI to significantly reduce labour costs and maximise outputs, without compromising on quality.

This includes using a semi-automated harvesting process, computer vision to monitor and forecast yield, and plenty of sensors constantly monitoring climate conditions, mushrooms, and substrate health.

Their space-efficient container model means they can overcome the challenges of finding urban space in Germany's capital, and reduce the need to transport mushrooms across the country/continent to reach Berliners.

And at the same time they’re working with universities in the Netherlands to upcycle side streams to create rich protein products combined with bioscience for more resilient and nutritious mushrooms.

From (mushroom) farm to fork

Each week restaurants, wholesale partners and premium food services across Berlin are ordering Tupu’s mushrooms.

And following recent discussions with retail giants, as well as organic supermarkets Tupu’s gourmet mushrooms will soon become (even) more accessible for consumers.

So what’s next for the Berlin-based agtech pioneers?

They will soon double down their production capacity using their technology to enable more customers to buy fresh and sustainable mushrooms around Berlin and the region. Time well spent to increase long-term efficiency and outputs.

Plus they’ll be joining us at the HackSummit on May 11-12th so be sure to check out their locally-grown gourmet mushrooms.Use code MUSHROOMFARMING to save 10% on your summit pass.

How this former farmer is unlocking mycelium’s potential to transform the future of food, beauty, fashion and materials

“Just like in nature, it took some time for mycelium to grow on me — I first knew it as the stuff that made my chores harder on the family farm where I grew up in Vermont. Mycelium was a nuisance because it held together the wood chips I had to move, but that was also the spark of an idea that would shape my life's work,” shares Eben Bayer, CEO and Co-Founder of Ecovative and MyForest Foods

While studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Eben began to understand its immense environmental and commercial potential, upcycling low value waste into high value products that are fully compostable, and leaving behind compost and clean water as a byproduct.

Together with his fellow graduate and co-founder Gavin McIntyre, he launched a business and started exploring mycelium's commercial applications.

Ecovative started with a focus on construction materials, before pivoting to protective packaging, where they could be faster to market and address a big environmental problem: single use plastics.

The idea for mycelium bacon was something that came through experimentation, and realising that mycelium is a tissue just like bacon they just needed the right recipe to make it taste like the real thing.

After just 18 months, their top notch research and development teams had a delicious, market-ready product. In fact, Eben told us it's so delicious that MyBacon now regularly outsells pork bacon, and is now available in over 50 retail locations, and growing.

The business for mycelium in food and packaging has grown very fast over the last few years, and with Ecovative’s Forager division entering the fashion, apparel and automotive spaces, they see immense potential to further reduce humanity's reliance on plastics and industrial animal agriculture.

Just last year Ecovative announced its Series D funding enabling them to achieve commercial scale. Here’s what this means in real terms:

Ecovative is now operating brand new facilities that, together with a network of partners and licensees, produce millions of pounds of mycelium every year.

They also acquired a state-of-the-art facility in the Netherlands, which will supply raw materials throughout the international mycelium supply chain they are building.

Looking ahead to the future, they plan to integrate their AirMycelium technology within existing mushroom farms all over the world. Following a successful pilot program with Whitecrest Mushrooms, a farm in Ontario Canada, opening billions of pounds of potential production globally.

And they’re now positioned to increase production over the coming months and years to put new mycelium products in the hands of everyday consumers.

So what are the bottlenecks to scale and replace less sustainable options currently on the global market?

These industries Ecovative is addressing are huge, and entrenched, which presents a big challenge for any emerging company or technology.

But this is also what makes them worth transforming - the company is finally in a position to do just that after expanding Ecovative’s production facilities the past two years.

Mycelium technologies can only benefit our planet when they achieve price parity and performance in the same marketplace as these established industries and products that are draining our planet's resources.

That means the bottlenecks are largely about the time it takes to perfect the technology and bring it to scale. Working with the advantages of biology makes it possible to hit and exceed performance standards across product categories, with a fraction of the waste and energy of traditional processes.

Eben and his team are confident that before long, in food and packaging and many other industries, mycelium won't be seen as the alternative, but the first and best choice for the planet and profits.

And what’s Eben’s advice to early-stage startups with yet-unproven technologies who believe they have a solution with moonshot potential?

First, make sure you have really understood the problem you are solving and the fundamental techno-economic constraints that relate to your technology as well as the industrial constraints in the market you are entering.

Get clear on these through your own conversations with customers, investors, and peers.

Once you have a clear thesis on where your technology can solve the biggest problem – better than all other approaches – and with a rational business model, then crystalise your thinking and focus on building (e.g. tune out the noise).

As you build, work as hard as possible to put prototypes, even crappy ones, in front of your customers, this will help you iterate on your business and technological hypotheses.

Make sure to feed these forward into your core assumptions to make sure that your north star -- the thing that will make your business tremendously impactful and valuable.

Finally, make sure to get the right people around you, on your team, on your board, and as your investors.

Focus on values, ethics, and strengths that complement your own and those of your board. Don’t over index on valuation or ownership, instead over index on great people with great values who share your vision.

Choosing the right collaborators and partners is crucial in bringing any business from idea to something that's sustainable and makes a difference.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, in business or in nature, so thoughtfully building our networks is one of the most important things any entrepreneur can do.

Ready to hear more?

Eben will be joining a fireside chat at the HackSummit on 11-12th May, where he’ll share what Ecovative has been up to this last year. Spoiler alert: they've got some truly exciting partnerships and projects underway.

Most of all though, he’ll make the case that the biggest moonshot is really an Earthshot, that the greatest priority and opportunity for emerging industries is in harmonising human activity with our home planet.

Hear from Eben and 100 leading Food and Climate voices on stage at the HackSummit. Use code ECOVATIVE10 to save 10% and join them.

How this former lawyer, banker and AgTech CEO became one of the most sought-after angel investors in FoodTech and sustainable materials

After almost two decades as both a lawyer and investment banker, Beatriz Franco left the corporate world and doubled down on technology as a catalyst for change.

First as an investor and advisor, and later as the CEO of an agtech startup, Beatriz moved her way through the startup ecosystem, sitting at every seat of the table.

It was during this time, that she realised that the food system alone was contributing ¼ of greenhouse gas emissions.

Because of this, together with pressure on food production from both population growth and climate consequences, she decided to focus on supporting new technologies solving the massive challenges of our food system both as an angel investor and through her own venture firm, Vita Vera Ventures along with Partner, Brita Rosenheim.

But what’s driving her to put her money where her mouth (and heart) is?

As the severity of climate change comes into focus, there has been a much-needed surge of investments into technologies such as renewable energy.

However, Beatriz saw the gap in food sector investments, and was compelled by the clear need for solutions combined with the clear lack of sufficient capital.  

She truly believes this is not only a real need but a real opportunity for financial returns.  

Beatriz is laser-focused on technologies reducing GHG emissions, food waste and plastics, improving food and materials production while using less resources, and creating sustainable options without asking customers to compromise.

With so much experience to offer startups, what’s her #1 advice to founders in the space?

To surround yourself early with the best team you can, both internally and externally (through advisors, value-add investors and collaborative communities, such as Foodhack, who really care about what you are doing and will support you) and most importantly, be adaptable.

As for where she's looking to invest in next, Beatriz is prioritsing 3 key areas:

  • Technologies developing products linked to problematic supply chains e.g. chocolate
  • NextGen packaging and materials
  • Technologies solving for scalability challenges in the industry

With a growing portfolio of startups, Beatriz gives founders crucial financial backing and with such a diverse and technical background, startups can draw on her experience as she can relate to their challenges with both advice and empathy.

A winning combination she hopes will give founders the best chance of success.

Hear from Beatriz as she joins fellow angel investors Ryan Grant Little, Daniel MacGowan von Holstein and Erika Hombert on the panel ‘Angel Investing 101’ at the HackSummit.

Use code ANGELINVEST to join them in Lausanne, May 11-12th.

Meet the founders bringing cocoa-free chocolate to market that tastes, melts, snaps and bakes just like the real thing

Conventional chocolate has a choco-lot of supply chain problems with links to deforestation, climate change, child labour and slavery.

But the bittersweet reality is that the world is full of chocoholics.

In fact, chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food.

And global demand is predicted to reach 43.5 million tons by 2030.

But there is no cocoa-free chocolate alternative on the market.

Until now.

Meet Ahrum Pak and Dr Johnny Drain, the co-founders of WNWN Food Labs.

Between them they have a wealth of experience in investment banking, management consultancy and food science.

And now they are on a mission to bring ethical, sustainable, future-proof chocolate alternatives to market.

Using fermentation, their scalable, proprietary process makes flavour-identical, cacao-free alternatives to chocolate.

The result: chocolate that’s low-carbon, vegan, caffeine-free, palm-oil-free, made from sustainable plant-based crops, and lower in saturated fats and sugar.

Already, WNWN FoodLabs (an acronym for Waste Not, Want Not) have released three cocoa-free chocolate products via D2C to test demand.

And they quickly sold out.

To keep up with consumer demand, today they announced a $5.6 million funding round enabling them to scale up their manufacturing, grow the team and bring products to retail this year.

HackCapital, PeakBridge, FoodLabs, Geschwister Oetker Beteiligungen Group, Mustard Seed Maze, PINC and Investbridge AgriTech with CellVC all took part in this funding round.

Which comes at a crucial time, not least because the European Union recently agreed a new law to prevent companies selling commodities such as coffee, beef and soy into the EU market that are linked to deforestation.

And as legislation on sustainable ingredients comes into force, and consumer awareness of the chocolate supply chain and its environmental impact increases, WNWN Food Labs are poised to take a slice of today’s $116 billion chocolate market.

A win-win for consumers, workers, producers and the planet.

Join Ahrum Pak at this year's HackSummit where she'll give a keynote presentation on her startup journey and what's next for WNWN Food Labs.

Use code WNWNSUMMIT to save 10% and look forward to meeting the global Food and Climate Community in Lausanne.

Meet the two plant metabolic engineers using molecular farming to grow proteins from potatoes

The current global protein demand exceeds 200 million tonnes. And with the world’s population expected to reach 9.8 billion in the next 30 years, the race is on to find sustainable protein alternatives.

Produced in over 100 countries worldwide and the third most important food crop in the world. Potatoes are an abundant, resilient, cheap and versatile yet underused food source.

Could the humble potato be the key to a scalable, cost-effective protein source to meet the food industry's protein demands and to nourish the world’s growing population?

Dr. Maya Sapir-Mir and Dr. Raya Liberman-Aloni think so.

Maya and Raya believe they can turn this versatile, yet underused vegetable into a scalable protein source with molecular farming.

As plant metabolic engineers, they know how to manipulate plants to express, produce and accumulate proteins. They met over 15 years ago, during their PhD studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and worked side by side for 6 years.

After working for a few years in small biotech startups and seeing the rise of plant based and precision fermentation technologies, they wondered how they could bioengineer and manipulate plants to produce and accumulate high amounts of high-quality functional proteins.

To make this idea happen, they teamed up to launch PoLoPo at the beginning of 2022.

Leveraging the newest trend in FoodTech

Together, they are developing a plant biofactory producing proteins that can be used as functional ingredients in the food industry. With potatoes.

PoLoPo’s potato-to-protein pathway uses molecular farming to produce high functional, nutritious animal proteins, identical to the source. Only with plants.

A technology gaining traction and investment in 2023, cited by Sifted as the newest trend among FoodTech investors.

PoLoPo's first ingredient

To start, PoLoPo will replicate Ovalbumin (egg white protein) that will match Ovalbumin produced from chicken eggs’ functionality, nutrition and protein sequence.

Setting their sights on the $26.6 billion egg protein market and meeting the industry demand for egg white protein alternatives.

Today they’re one step closer, as they announce a $1.75M pre-seed fundraise from HackCapital, FoodLabs, CPT Capital, Siddhi Capital, Plug and Play Ventures and Milk and Honey Ventures.

Scaling up and doubling down

They will use this funding to accelerate commercialisation from lab-to-scale, establish partnerships with manufacturers to adopt PoLoPo’s egg protein and step up on R&D to offer prototypes in the coming year with quality, functional samples.

And since potatoes can turn 2-3 crop cycles per year and the downstream process is already well established, they are poised to scale up production and easily integrate into existing processing facilities.

Leveraging molecular farming as a facili-tater to replicate animal proteins at egg-ceptional scale.

Ready to meet Raya, Maya and the founders of 100+ emerging Food and Climate technologies?

Join us at the
HackSummit on May 11-12th and use POLOPO10 to save 10% on your summit pass.

Why these three biotechnologists are doubling down on an ancient microbe to solve food security and the climate crisis

CO2 emissions are accelerating climate change. Since the greenhouse gas remains in the atmosphere for 100s if not a 1,000 years.

So with time running out for it to be removed naturally, three PhD scientists are putting it to work to tackle the climate crisis.

And create a sustainable, regenerative food source.

To nourish growing populations with sustainable functional protein ingredients.

So let’s meet them.  

And the 3.8 billion-year-old-microbe they’re using.

Growing up in Austria, Gregor Tegl was convinced there must be a smarter way to produce food and resources more sustainably.

He explored sustainable enzyme production during his PhD studies and soon realised the power of fermentation.

So he teamed up with his now Co-Founder, Günther Bochmann, who was actively working in biogas and gas fermentation.

Combining enzyme production with fermentation technology in a bioreactor proved to be a very sustainable concept with many applications. Including food.

Next they needed to find the right microbe.

Günther was already working with leading microbiologist, Simon Rittmann who saw the potential of Archaea, single-celled microorganisms. And they developed a gas fermentation technology.

When Berlin-based company builder EVIG met the 3 founders, they saw the potential of bringing people and technologies together.

Together they founded Arkeon.

Arkeon has developed a 1-step fermentation process using patented technology to create vegan, all-natural, customisable, GMO-free protein ingredients from CO2.

Plus, their strain of Archaea produces all 20 amino acids needed for human nutrition, without the need for extensive land or water, and bypasses traditional agriculture processes.

So Arkeon’s customisable B2B products can be used as clean label ingredients for (plant-based) food and beverages, alternative proteins, flavours and aromas, supplements, as well as cell culture media for cultivated meat.

And today they announced an additional raise of US$4+ Million from FoodHack, ICL, aws Gruenderfonds and Tet Ventures.

This additional funding (with over US$10 Million funding to date) will accelerate product development plans, technology buildout and infrastructure expansion.

Starting with the arrival of a massive 150 litre bioreactor.

And they plan to onboard a pilot facility as soon as 2024, using it for both gas fermentation and their enzyme technology to realise their go to market strategy.

These 3 scientists-turned-entrepreneurs are shooting for the stars, with the support of a 30-strong mission-driven team.

Ultimately guided by a North Star: to feed the planet with sustainable and nutritious food.

How these two Argentinians are ushering in the next generation of natural colours and flavours with a fungi platform

Petroleum oil powers jet engines, heats our homes and is found in the foods we eat.

Often used in food preservatives, flavourings and colourings, petrochemicals extend a product’s shelf life and increase freshness.

And enhance the colour of our foods.

Because we eat with our eyes first.

But pressure from regulators to remove artificial flavours and synthetic food dyes is rising. So too is demand for natural and healthier foods.

This got Ricky Cassini and Mauricio Braia thinking.

With a background in industrial biotechnology, Mauricio teamed up with Ricky, a serial entrepreneur and business consultant.

To create a petroleum-free ingredient platform for natural colours, flavours and fragrances. Using fungi.

To compete in the premium natural ingredients segment.

And remove petroleum colorants from the food supply chain.

Using precision fermentation and synthetic biology, Michroma creates fungal biofactories to produce small molecules, like colours, more efficiently.

And bioreactors offer a proven, scalable pathway to produce natural colours, that outperform synthetic and carbon neutral dyes.

Today Michroma announced a $6.4 million Seed round with investment from HackCapital, Supply Change Capital, Be8 Ventures, CJ CheilJedang, FEN Ventures, Boro Capital, The Mills Fabrica, Portfolia’s Food & Ag Tech Fund, New Luna Ventures, Siddhi Capital, Groundswell Ventures, IndieBio, GRIDX

And Angel investors Allen Miner, Jun Ueki and Steve Zurcher from the Keiretsu Japan Forum, Guillermo Rosental, Franco Goytia, Pablo Pla and Mat Travizano.

This impressive funding round enables Michroma to:

  • industrialise their production process
  • partner with ingredient distributors for commercialisation
  • expand their ingredient pipeline
  • strengthen R&D capabilities
  • start the regulatory process with the FDA and EFSA.

Michroma’s first product is a high-performance, natural, vegan, GMO-free red colorant, called Red+.

A temperature-resistant and stable colourant that keeps its colour during pasteurisation, cooking, and extrusion.

With applications across frozen, fresh, convenient foods, supplements and beverages.

Now, Michroma are Red-y to bring a kaleidoscope of natural colours to our dinner tables around the world.a

How this American-Icelander is turning plants into white gold to position the Nordic island as the alt seafood capital of the world

Iceland produces 1.3 million tonnes of seafood annually, fishing makes up 40% of its GDP and its people consume 92 kg of seafood per person per year, more than any other country.

But even the most prolific fishing areas in the North Atlantic Ocean are threatened by climate change, overfishing and the country’s GDP in fishing is steadily decreasing.

This got American-Icelander Chris McClure thinking. Could Iceland future-proof its position as a heavy seafood producer and create a more resilient seafood economy by including plant-based and cultivated seafood?

Having been a vegan for decades, Chris has witnessed the increasing demand for plant-based alternatives in Iceland. From a handful of options, it is now home to the world’s largest fully vegan supermarket, Vegan Budin.  

In early 2022 he founded Loki Foods with Bjorn Adalbjornsson, Chief Science Officer and Assistant Professor at the University of Iceland. Just as Iceland is known as the seafood capital of the world, they have ambitious plans to make Iceland famous for alternative seafood.

Using just a handful of ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients, their first product, Loki Fillet, is a plant-based alternative to white fish cod. Known to Icelanders as white gold.

The Loki Fillet tastes, looks and flakes just like traditional white cod. So it can be prepared and cooked in the same way as conventional seafood options.

Better still, it is nutritionally superior to conventional fish: high in omegas, iodines, low in salt and mercury and has the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, without microplastics.

And he claims it to be a world first, made with 100% renewable energy.

To accelerate its plans, Loki Foods recently raised a pre-seed funding round of $650,000 from investors including FoodHack, Sustainable Food Ventures, MGMT Ventures, VegInvest, Lifely VC and Kale United.

The funding will be used for product development and building on their strong R&D foundation to develop a whole line of alternative seafood products from the Arctic in the coming years.

If the Loki Fillet can convince Icelanders to diversify their diets, it certainly cod be a catalyst for a wave of sustainable alternatives and exports for the nation.

Why this ex-Infarm expansions manager launched her own startup, creating foods from mycelium

The fermentation of food and drink can be traced back as far as 7,000BC.

Fast forward to today and entrepreneurs are applying this ancient process across the alternative protein sector to enhance the sensory and functional properties of their products.

Isabella Iglesias-Musachio knows the technology’s potential following a decade-long obsession experimenting with every type of fermentation.

Liquid state and solid state, from kombucha to cheese-making, to japanese fermentation and working with fungi.

In April 2020 she set out as the Founder of Bosque Foods to tackle issues of climate change, environmental degradation and animal welfare by developing a fermentation platform to cultivate mycelium - the "roots" of fungi.

Working with a team of scientists, they create minimally processed, clean-label, nutrient-dense, tasty mycelium ingredients and products.

Starting with whole-cut pork and chicken filets, she has already opened lab spaces on either side of the Atlantic, and secured $3M seed funding.

So, how did she gain the know-how to turn her passion into an emerging FoodTech company in just two years (and in the middle of a global pandemic)?

During Isabella’s studies in sustainable agriculture in the US, India, and Argentina, she learned about the systemic issues of our food system and how they link to issues of climate change and environmental degradation.

She gained first-hand experience of building early-stage startups and scaleups from scratch. She led the expansion of US-based tech startup Techshop in France, and scaled the operations of vertical farming German unicorn Infarm to the U.S., Canadian and Japanese markets.

Helping build and scale technology startups sparked her passion and fostered her entrepreneurial spirit.

And an idea had been brewing for quite some time.

In April 2020, just as the world went into lockdown, she founded Bosque Foods.

Courageous. Undeterred.

Isabella developed early prototypes with a biotechnologist and was soon accepted into IndieBio, the world's leading biotech accelerator program based in San Francisco and New York.

Following a $3M seed funding round led by FoodLabs, followed by Happiness Capital, SOSV, Blue Horizon, Blue Impact and Angel investors Arman Anaturk and Lawrence Leuschner, they opened a lab in Germany,

With a foothold in both the United States and Germany, Bosque Foods is a first mover in Europe with ambitions to bring their pioneering alternative protein solutions to markets around the globe.

In the meantime, they are doubling down on R&D to prove the scalability of their manufacturing process and aim to get their whole-cuts into the hands of mission-aligned chefs and restaurants this year.

By developing both proprietary fermentation technology and highly in-demand alternative protein products, they are en route to building a more sustainable, equitable and animal-free food system.

The sky really is the limit.

Why this exited Founder is developing scalable muscle fiber and scaffolding technology for wholecut seafood alternatives 

“Can I taste it?” is a guaranteed question an investor will ask an alternative protein founder.

And rightly so.

Taste is the top reason we choose plant-based protein products, according to consumer researcher, Mintel.

But this pressure to develop prototypes and prepare a go-to-market strategy can lead startups to revert to existing ingredients and tool kits.

Creating new recipes, not new technologies.

As an active investor and mentor to startups in alt protein, Chris Bryson saw fewer early-stage founders advancing plant-based products' taste, texture and appearance with novel, proprietary technologies.

This got him thinking.

When he sold his former company Unata to Instacart in 2018, Chris began to peer behind the curtain and learn about our broken food system.

Feeling compelled to help, he began to put his time and money into various solutions.

First he started investing in startups.

And then Chris founded New School Foods to fund a series of R&D projects.

He sponsored academic research into alternative processing technologies, scaffolding techniques, new ingredients, and new flavour developments related to whole cut meats.

After three years of partnering with leading food science universities, New School Foods developed a set novel food structuring technologies to deliver a number of firsts for the meat alternative industry:

  • Muscle fibers, made from plants: Fibers that match the diameter, length, strength and structure of fish muscle fibers to achieve the same texture & mouthfeel.
  • Whole-cut scaffolds: Directionally aligned muscle fibers, mixed with plant-based connective tissues, fats, colors, and flavors.
  • Raw-to-Cooked: Unlike most other products in the market that are pre-cooked by production, New School Foods’ cold-based processing technology creates a product that starts raw and cooks like wild fish.
  • Scalable by design: By using off-the-shelf equipment, New School Foods’ production technologies can operate at a global scale.

New School Foods’ first product: plant-based salmon filet looks, cooks, tastes, and flakes just like wild salmon

And today New School Foods announced a raise of $12 million USD in seed funding from investors including HackCapital, Lever VC, Blue Horizon, Hatch, Good Startup, Alwyn Capital, Joyance Partners, and others, as well as grants from multiple Canadian government grant agencies.

The fundraise will support New School Foods' expansion from lab to pilot scale, as they move into a new facility, start commercial distribution and set up a production assembly line.

And with taste a top priority for this alt protein startup, they aren't planning to scale back their product improvements and R&D anytime soon.

Their o-fish-al product launch will be one to watch out for.

How two cell ag pioneers are leveraging precision fermentation to create next gen premium cheese 

Today the international cheese market is worth $200B. And the vegan cheese market is expected to rise to $7.10B by 2030.

But although demand for alternative cheese is on the rise, few startups have successfully replicated its meltability, functionality, taste and texture.

This got Nathalie and Maya thinking.

Could they combine their expertise to replicate the taste, texture and nutrition of conventional cheese through precision fermentation to offer a more sustainable way to enjoy dairy?

Turns out they could.

Here’s how it began:

Nathalie Rolland comes from a family of animal farmers.

She co-founded Agriculture Cellulaire France and was a researcher in consumer acceptance of cultured meat at both the University of Maastricht and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRAE).

She was also a cellular agriculture specialist at ProVeg International.

Maya Bendifallah brings her years of scientific expertise including a Master’s and a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology where she studied the structures and dynamics of proteins similar to caseins.

Driven by the alternative protein momentum and convinced they could both play a part in creating a more sustainable future, they teamed up to found Nutropy in 2021.

Together they are on a mission to reinvent premium cheese through precision fermentation, whilst combining traditional French cheese making processes.

So how are they doing this?

Nutropy programmes yeast to produce bio-identical milk ingredients, which are fed sugars, minerals and vitamins in bioreactors to produce milk ingredients that are harvested.

And their first aged cheeses have the potential to use significantly less natural resources, emit less greenhouse gasses and are free from lactose and cholesterol.

Today they announced a €2M funding round from FoodHack, Beast, Big Idea Ventures, Trellis Road, VegCapital, Techmind, FoodTech angels and the French government.

Nutropy are already collaborating with industrial cheese producers and French cheese specialists. And now they are kickstarting the pilot production of their milk ingredients.

With their drive to create more sustainable premium cheese and respect for traditions, next generation alternatives could be served on our next cheese board very soon.

How this molecular farming startup is bringing down the cost of cultivated meat by leveraging chloroplast for growth factors to

Fermentation-based technologies to make proteins have been around for many years. But several challenges often limit their application and economic feasibility.

The process of making these proteins is very costly and high risk.

Problems include achieving high yield, overcoming infrastructure bottlenecks and the threat of contamination.

This got Mohammad El Hajj thinking.

He studied biological systems to make recombinant proteins at the University of Manchester in the UK.

And saw that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of plant biotechnology.

During his PhD, Mohammad focused on chloroplasts as vehicles to make recombinant proteins and overcame hurdles in the regulatory framework to facilitate the technology's commercialisation.

He and his team developed a safe, low-cost, low-carbon manufacturing process that enables extraordinarily high yields of proteins from tobacco leaves.

And so Bright Biotech was launched. With a quintet of co-founders.

Mohammad has joined forces with his University supervisor, Anil Day, and former employers and business mentors, Tariq Ali and Farid Khan, along with Rania Deranieh, an expert in cell culture.

Their system has applications across clinical, cosmetic and medical industries.

So why did they focus on the cultivated meat industry, a comparatively smaller, less developed market?

One barrier for cultivated meat is the high cost and availability of growth factors.

And since Bright Biotech can make them in large quantities at very low cost, they can directly impact the goal of achieving price parity for cultivated meat to reduce our unsustainable reliance on animal agriculture.

Plus no other competing system has reported such high yield with ultra-high scalability.

In numbers: Tobacco generates more than 10,000 seeds per plant and produces a very high fresh leaf biomass: 100 metric tonnes per hectare a year. This can produce 200 kilograms of growth factors and 100,000 metric tonnes of cultivated meat.

The plants of Bright Biotech are the bioreactors and produce proteins with only light, water and CO2:

Now to scale:

Bright Biotech are currently fine-tuning their prototype with CPI’s innovation services to produce their proteins at commercial scale.

And today, they announced a seed funding raise of $3.2M with investment from the FoodHack Syndicate, FoodLabs, Big Idea Ventures, CPT Capital and other business angels.

So what’s next?

They’ll expand their product portfolio by generating plants that make different growth factors, develop in-house protocols for validating the growth factors and expand their team.

They also plan to develop standardised protocols that are reproducible, make commercial volumes and fulfill orders in 2023.

And with that, the cultivated meat industry can move one step closer to achieving (or beating) price parity and serve it to consumers around the world.

As soon as next year? With technologies like Bright Biotech's coming out of stealth, it may well happen sooner than you think.

The future's certainly bright.

Why this ex-Planted intern is now developing fat alternatives for the perfect plant-based dairy

The alternative dairy market is projected to grow to $61.43 billion USD by 2029.

But replicating the creamy sensation consumers crave in traditional dairy is a complex challenge.

Coconut, vegetable oils and nuts are popular alternatives but they lack the structures found in yeast to give it that sought-after creamy mouthfeel.

Tomas Turner believes he has found the solution. Unintentionally.

So how did it all begin?

Tomas first learnt about the alternative protein industry and met various members of the Good Food Institute as co-founder of his local Effective Altruism chapter in Lausanne, Switzerland.

And in April 2019, he gained first hand experience as an R&D intern at Planted, Zurich under the supervision of Lukas Boni, the startup’s co-founder.

Through his network he heard that breakthroughs in fats produced by microbial sources were widely neglected, even though they had a strong chance of disrupting the industry.

So when he returned to complete his Master’s thesis at the University of Geneva, he focused on researching the microbial production of milk fat.

As Tomas tested his extraction process he didn't recover pure fat, he instead had a white creamy ingredient with no GMO, lactose or cholesterol.

Soon after graduating, he won the WUR Rethink Protein challenge, validating the technology’s potential. So he teamed up with Dimitri Zogg to found Cultivated Biosciences with the goal of developing clean-label, creamy alternative fat ingredients for plant-based dairy.

The co-founders had met several years before on a 3-day hiking trip across the Gruyère mountains, a region famous for its deliciously rich double cream.

The pair have now fittingly gone on to develop an equally rich alternative dairy ingredient.

Today, Cultivated Biosciences has announced a $1.5M pre-seed from investors, including FoodHack, Wingman Ventures, Big Idea Ventures, Blue Horizon, Proveg International, EVERY’s Arturo with the support of ex-supervisor-turned-advisor Lukas Böni.

Their proof of concept delivers on creaminess so now they are set on improving their bioprocess to make it economically viable and scalable as well as fine tuning their technology to fit the properties of different foods.

In just 12 months they plan to have very close partnerships with brands incorporating their ingredients, so consumers will finally be able to enjoy their creamy delicious plant-based products, without compromise.

How this Professor is mimicking squid genes to commercialise next-gen self-healing biomaterials

Previous-generation technologies such as nylon and polyester are becoming less sustainable and economically viable with each passing year.

And with the global fashion industry valued at $3 trillion, even niche segments tackling circularity and animal-based materials represent billion dollar opportunities.

But solving the complexities of the fashion industry at scale requires a fundamental understanding of how breakthrough circular approaches can supplant previous material innovations.

With over 30 years’ experience in materials and biomimetics behind him, Melik Demirel is taking his research out of the lab, from proof of concept and into commercialisation.

The Penn State University Huck Endowed Chair Professor has teamed up with two recognised experts in biomimetic design, Benjamin Allen, PhD, and Gozde Senel-Ayaz, PhD to found Tandem Repeat and bring their proprietary Squitex biofermentation technology to the fashion industry.

By mimicking squid genes, they have developed a sustainable, non-polluting replacement for petroleum-based fibers that is biodegradable and environment-friendly.

It’s the first of its kind.

The all-natural performance fabric is sustainable, strong, flexible, self-healing, thermally responsive and adaptable to existing manufacturing processes.

With elasticity a key performance characteristic, Squitex can be blended with natural materials for almost all types of clothing. And its versatility means it can replace non-sustainable cotton, polyester, elastane blends with a fully sustainable alternative.


Whilst we can’t add this squid-gene inspired material to our wardrobe just yet, it’s only a matter of time. They have plans to build a successful clothing line based on Squitex’s novel properties.

In the meantime, ink-redible traction is growing.

Tandem Repeat has been recognised by H&M Foundation for Global Change, Tommy Hilfifer Social Innovation Challenge, Microfiber Innovation Challenge Prize and US Department of Energy Contract to name a few.

And they have 5 patents issued, letters of intent received, contracts in the pipeline and a Seed round (with FoodHack one of the investors) closing imminently as they aim to to become a DeepTech unicorn in the next 5 years.

For now they are focused on minimizing engineering and technical risks, building up their technical and business teams, developing producibility assessments of key technologies as well as techno-economic cost models.

With the potential to expand across the textile, medical and cosmetic markets, Tandem Repeat is only scratching the surface as they continue to unlock new applications through sustainable synthetic biology.

How these Y Combinator-backed co-founders are leveraging robotics and AI to grow fungi for a fraction of the cost

There are over 10,000 different recorded species of mushrooms in the world. They are a sustainable, meaty and nutrient-rich food source.

So, why are only a handful of varieties available on supermarket shelves?

The delicate and irregular shape of gourmet mushrooms means carefully growing, harvesting and packaging them requires significant labour and is difficult to automate.

Labour makes up to 80% of production costs for mushroom farmers.

This got Stanford grads Jamie Balsillie and Wilson Ruotolo thinking.

How could they automate existing mushroom farms? They explored adding AI and robotics technology to legacy farms, bringing down labor costs and getting mushroom harvesting to a consumer friendly price.

It wasn’t the silver bullet they had hoped for.

Instead they needed to design a purpose-built, fully-automated farm from the ground up. A considerably bigger task.

In January 2022, Jamie and Wilson founded Hedgehog to build robotic mushroom farms to unleash fungi as our next major food source.

With Wilson’s expertise in dexterous manipulation robotics and with technology to simulate gentle gecko-like robotic hands, the pair believe this can be applied, at scale, to carefully harvest and package mushrooms.

And so too do Y Combinator.

Earlier this month, Hedgehog announced they have been accepted into Y Combinator’s prestigious S22 cohort to finetune their robotics technology.

Having already raised $1.8M from investors including FoodHack (and additional fundraising plans in the pipeline), the founders are currently working on prototypes and iterating on agronomy.

In addition to iterating their harvesting and packaging robotics, they are developing AI and computer vision to decide optimum picking time, and going from proof of concept to on-farm implementation.

As early as 2023, they are planning to scale their production capacity to 50-100,000 lbs of specialty mushrooms per year.

By bringing more varieties of mushrooms to consumers at an affordable price, they hope to kickstart a wider adoption of the nutritious ingredient.

Now Hedgehog are focused on building the robotics and software to bring gourmet mushrooms to the masses.

Meet the two Harvard grads using 3D printing to texturise your alt meat

Combining biopharma and foodtech to advance alternative whole cuts 👇

The balancing act of meeting (and surpassing) consumer expectations to replicate authenticity, taste and texture in plant-based whole cuts is no small task.

Add to that the goals of scalability and maintaining affordability.

And in parallel, developing cultured meat whole cut alternatives.

Meet Insa Mohr and Jochen Mueller, the Co-Founders of Mooji Meats, rising to the challenge.

Having an impressive track record in the biopharma industry and with years of experience working with bioprocessing businesses, Insa realised the parallels between biopharma and the foodtech industry.

Discovering that one of the biggest challenges for plant-based meat and lab-grown meat is the realistic replication of whole cuts, she immediately thought of bioprinting used to replicate real tissues today.

Insa sought a similarly exceptional partner to achieve her goal of establishing a game-changing bioprocessing/bioprinting company to disrupt the alternative meat industry.

Joining forces with her good friend Jochen Mueller from Harvard School of Engineering who she notes as ‘one of the best people to bring scalable bioprinting to the food industry’ they founded Mooji Meats.

Insa led the company’s initial funding round and secured $3 million in May 2022. Under Insa’s leadership, Insa and Jochen are well on track to developing alternatives to existing texturing technologies in plant and cultured whole cuts using 3D printing.

Hack Ventures, The Good Startup, Collaborative Fund, Lever VC and AgFunder all participated in the company's recent raise which is being used to grow their lab, hire new talent and develop their prototype.

Mooji Meats now has the potential to apply their 3D printing technology, which can simultaneously print with hundreds of nozzles to extrude alternative meats, cost effectively and at scale.

Market Potential

By closing the gap between mimicking meat and real meat, the startup is poised to take a (sizable) share of the $1 trillion US meat market.

‘‘I believe that the times where meat is associated with harming animals will be history one day. Once we have authentic plant-based meat and lab-grown meat, meat will turn into something that cherishes animals. Imagine eating a delicious steak in a restaurant and seeing the happy cow that donated the meat running around a field in plain view,’ shares Insa Mohr, Co-Founder.

Given the Baltimore-based startup’s technology aims to inexpensively produce scalable and texturised whole cuts, we hope it won’t be too long before chicken breasts, tuna fillets, wagyu steaks can be enjoyed (sustainably) by vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters in the US and beyond.

What’s next?

Having just built their lab, the duo (and recent talented hires) are finishing their prototype with the three pillars of texture, cost and scale in mind, and will be ready to update us later this year. Stay tuned!

Why this exited founder started investing in FoodTech and what he’s working on next

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Daniel MacGowan always knew he wanted to start something of his own.

Intitally he took the typical path, studied law, worked at a large firm, followed by a stint in investment banking.

Today he's an exited founder thats building his second business, Kynda, producing mycelium based meats, has become one of the most active European angel investors in FoodTech and built up an an impressive portfolio of companies backed.

But how did he get there?

In 2013 Dan founded Otto’s Burger in Hamburg, Germany, inspired by Patty & Bun and Honest Burger who he saw were rapidly expanding across the UK.

His success at Otto’s Burger brought him face-to-face with the reality of meat production at scale. He saw the slaughter process first hand and decided to offer more vegan products to their customers (this was way before alt protein was even considered a thing).

At first - they didn't see much interest from customers.

But then the Beyond Meat buzz began.

As one of the first restaurants in Germany to sell Beyond, Dan was early to see that consumers actually were open to replace their meat patties with plant based versions - and this sparked his next idea.

Dan and his co-founder started creating vegan meat patties and nuggets of their own and a few tests and iterations later, Kynda was born.

In 2020 Dan sold his first business, Otto’s Burger to a private equity company. This gave him the time to fully focus on his next venture and the capital to start angel investing.

Since then he's been growing a portfolio of investments that include MeliBio, Nowadays, Plantish, Hyfe Foods, Mooji Meats and is now looking to back startups enabling technologies and infrastructure within the alternative protein space.  

Besides investing capital, Dan brings with him first-hand operational experience of building and exiting his first company and his own continuing learning from founding and scaling up a FoodTech startup.

Since 2021 Dan has been an active part of the FoodHack syndicate, championing for the next wave of alt protein founders and providing them with the capital and expertise to continue growing their business.

And what’s the latest at Otto’s Burger?

Kynda’s products are on the menu and most recently meat-free has become the standard, and ‘with meat’ is an optional extra cost.

How a serial founder became one of Europe’s most active alt protein investors

As a teen entrepreneur turned seasoned founder, Ryan Grant Little is now an angel investor backing 16 (and counting) FoodTech startups.

Ryan’s drive to transform our broken food system can be traced back to the hundreds of hours he spent on the kill floors of North America’s largest slaughterhouses.

He was the founder of a biogas company, and slaughterhouse waste was the most valuable feedstock.

Just last year when Ryan exited a company and sold his shares, he had both the rainy day cash and motivation to start impact investing.

After listening to Bruce Friedrich on Ezra Klein’s podcast, Ryan was instantly hooked by the innovation happening in the plant based space.

In September 2021 at the Good Food Institute Conference he started building up his connections in the industry and got first-hand exposure to some of the best and brightest minds in this space.

This confirmed his decision to *slowly* dip his toes into the (alt protein) water.

Today, 10 months since his first foray into alt protein, he is already advising multiple FoodTech startups, has invested in 16 of them and is a FoodHack Ambassador in his local city of Vienna.

Whether you’d consider this active or impulsive investing, it’s not without careful (slightly unconventional) due diligence.

Ryan admits he can’t capitalise on the opportunities in alt protein’s white space nor understand the science quickly enough if he works alone.

And so he collaborates with like-minded investors through the FoodHack Syndicate, joins in the deals they are investing in and benefits from the collective intelligence to diligence startups.

So are his days as a serial founder over?

No, not yet. He says he’s still got one or two more startups in him. But for now he’s passing on his knowledge to fellow founders and sharing the multiple challenges he’s overcome.

Two things in Ryan’s interest - the expansive opportunities that come with mycelium for foods and companies which are working on cultivated pet food so he can feed his cat sustainably.

The next 12 months will offer a myriad of opportunities to support pioneering founders and Ryan will no doubt be behind a handful (or more) of the most impactful startups breaking onto the scene.

If you’re interested in angel investing in FoodTech and ClimateTech startups with the Syndicate, apply today.

Meet the 3 brothers growing one of the worlds most sustainable proteins

Meet the 3 brothers growing one of the worlds most sustainable proteins 👇

Yonatan Golan (CEO), Matan Golan (COO) and Ido Golan (CTO) are as the last names give away - brothers.

Their idea for Brevel first began with a simple question:

"How can we find solutions that could feed our growing population sustainably and ethically."

Luckily for them - they had all the skills and ambition between them to find a solution to this age old question.

Ido had worked as a chief engineer in a microalgae company and realized the potential impact of these microscopic organisms.

Matan was a medical doctor who saw the health and wellbeing value that came with microalgae consumption.

And Yonatan was the visionary vegan who was driven to find solutions to feed our growing population sustainably and ethically.

The 3 of them decided to team up and work together - and set off to find a way to bring microalage to masses.

One of their breakthroughs was to combine sugar-based fermentation of microalgae with a high concentration of light at industrial scale.

The end results is the production of non-GMO microalgae at cost levels comparable to pea and soy.

Today the company is piloting their micoalgae solutions with Food & Beverage leaders across the globe - resulting in an improved nutritional profile of products without changing taste, color, texture, or cost for the end consumer.

Brevel’s vision attracted the attention of leading FoodTech VC's and the company just announced the close of an $8.4 million seed funding round together with Good Startup, Tet Ventures, NevaTeam Ventures and FoodHack

The team are now in the process of scaling up and establishing their pilot facility - getting closer by the day to bringing sustainable and nutritious microalgae to the masses.