5 startups win Japfa innovation challenge to advance protein production in Asia

July 29, 2021

Disclosure: GROW is an impact-focused agrifoodtech accelerator backed by our parent company, AgFunder.


Japfa and GROW have unveiled the five winners of Japfa Feeds the Future – a global startup challenge aimed at advancing protein production and food resilience in Asia.

Three of the winning startups secured fully funded pilot projects with Indonesia-based, Singapore-headquartered Japfa, while the other two won co-development partnerships with the agrifood major. The challenge is part of Japfa’s effort to champion innovation within the industry and forge a new way of interacting with the agrifoodtech startup ecosystem in Asia.

Taking place in the year of Japfa’s fiftieth anniversary, Japfa Feeds the Future was launched last February in partnership with GROW to identify and support startups that can improve nutrition, food production, and environmental sustainability in Asia through innovative solutions.

The challenge combined Japfa’s operational expertise in five protein groups across five Asian markets with GROW’s mission to be the gateway to Asia for agrifoodtech startups. It gave innovators in food and farming the opportunity to validate and scale up their solutions with Japfa – one of Asia’s leading protein producers – as a customer or partner.

Japfa’s CEO on how the Asian agrifood giant is tackling the Covid-19 crisis – read more here

The five winners were selected out of 80 candidates from 25 countries. The solutions presented covered areas ranging from animal health and biotech, to automation, digital and ‘smart’ farming, feed technology, food processing, and supply chain tech.

“We were so delighted with the quality and the number of applications that we decided to increase the number of winners from one to five,” said Tan Yong Nang, CEO of Japfa.

“Together with key representatives of Japfa’s business, we chose the winners based on the strategic fit and impact of the solution proposed on Japfa’s business; the quality and expertise of the team; and the technology, its ease of adoption, and its ability to deliver operational outcomes. We are happy with the outcome of Japfa Feeds the Future as we strongly believe that, by helping startups to grow their ideas into viable solutions, we can advance the agrifood industry and feed millions of people in emerging Asia with essential proteins.”

The winners were officially announced during a virtual awards ceremony this week in front of a panel comprising of  Marco Ganouna, CEO, Chronos; Richard Koh, chief technology officer, Microsoft Singapore; Phey Teck Moh, partner, AngelCentral; and Jeffrey Seah, partner, Asia Fund Quest Ventures. During the event, the five winners had the opportunity to showcase their solutions to an audience comprising Japfa business leaders and a selection of investors and ecosystem partners from across the region.

The winners securing fully funded pilots are:

  • Beakbook (UK) – a poultry-tech startup that delivers autonomous health tracking and analytics to increase feed conversion ratio and reduce waste.
  • Rakr (Canada) – providing tools and information to help farmers control operational costs, become more energy efficent, and reduce machine maintenance using the Rakr NeatMeter, a simple and non-invasive plug-and-play sensor.
  • Sea Warden (US) – advancing the sustainability and traceability of farmed seafood through global satellite observation.

The winners securing co-development deals are:

  • Insylo (Spain) – remote inventory control of bulk solid products stored in livestock feed silos, allowing for optimized replenishment and logistics.
  • ZoomAgri (Spain) – combining computer vision, machine learning, and IoT to transform the testing, inspection, and certification of agricultural commodities for physical quality and varietal purity.

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