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FoodBytes! By Rabobank Selects 15 AgriFood Tech Startups to Pitch in San Francisco

January 31, 2019

FoodBytes! by Rabobank, a global pitch competition and networking platform for innovative food, food tech, and agtech entrepreneurs, has unveiled the 15 startups selected for FoodBytes! San Francisco 2019. The startups will participate in mentorship immersion to scale their businesses before pitching their technologies and products on March 28 at Terra Gallery.

The FoodBytes! platform is introducing some new elements this year including new prizes and resources for participating startups, and new categories.

This year, the startups will compete at the pitch competition in two categories: food and agriculture technology, and consumer packaged goods.

As part of the two-day FoodBytes! SF program, the 15 selected startups[GN(1]  will receive the following resources:

·       A full-day mentorship immersion led by industry experts on fundraising, legal and go-to-market strategy

·       One-on-one conversations with mentors and direct feedback on products, technologies, and pitches

·       Valuable in-person networking opportunities with corporate leaders, investors, influencers and peers

·       Ongoing support from Rabobank Food and Agriculture (F&A) experts

·       Access to the community of FoodBytes! alumni

The 15 FoodBytes! SF 2019 startups addressing significant food and sustainability issues are:

·       Hargol FoodTech – claims to have made the world’s first commercial grasshopper farm. The company developed methods and technologies for efficient farming of grasshoppers on a large scale. It believes that grasshoppers are nature’s most efficient protein source.

·       Healthy Cow – is an agbiotech company develops products to help dairy farmers reduce their reliance on antibiotics and hormones. Its first product, ProPreg, offers a bovine intravaginal probiotic that supports a healthy vaginal microbiome in dairy cows.

·       Osmo Systems – is making a new kind of water quality sensing system to help shrimp farmers start monitoring their ponds online, so they stop having their animals die when water quality conditions change unexpectedly. There are approximately $1 million shrimp/fish ponds in the world, and 99% of them are still monitored offline.

·       CropIn Technology Solutions – is a full-stack agtech organization that provides SaaS solutions to agribusinesses globally. CropIn’s product suite enables various stakeholders in the agri-ecosystem, including the farmer, to adopt and drive digital strategy across their operations. Using big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and remote sensing, CropIn creates an interconnected network of all these stakeholders at different levels of the agriculture ecosystem, enabling clients to analyze and interpret data to derive real-time actionable insights on standing crop.

·       Bushel – claims to have developed the grain industry’s first software platform that allows grain elevators to digitally connect with their growers to deliver near real-time information that informs better business decisions.

·       Shaka Tea – Through its tropical-botanical, no added sugar teas, Shaka Tea shares the story of Hawai’i. Shaka Tea supports regenerative agriculture and economic development, while offering consumers nationally an authentically Hawaiian herbal tea brewed with māmaki, an antioxidant powerhouse only found and grown in the Hawaiian Islands.

·       The Worthy Company – claims its Worthy Blendie Bowl is the perfect vegan snack, combining fruits, vegetables, legumes, and chia to create a “blendie” that gives consumers a plant powered, high-protein, high-fiber snack, or mini meal. The product was developed for multi-channel distribution, including conventional and natural retail chains, e-commerce, and convenience stores/food service.

·    Taali  – maker of snacks made from popped water lily seeds and non-GMO, whole and natural ingredients. Taali aims to introduce healthier new grains into the US snack market to reduce reliance on potato corn, wheat or extruded foods.

·       GEM – holds itself out as a pioneer in clean nutritional technology producing convenient, real food products that optimize daily nutrition. The women-founded and women-focused company created GEM bites, which are the first FDA-regulated daily vitamin. They are made from 13 algae and plant-based ingredients that provide more than 15+ vitamins and minerals in one chewable bite of daily nutrition.

·       Toast Ale –  is a New York City-based beer company on a mission to fight food waste with delicious craft beer. It partners with local bakeries to pick up the bread they don’t sell each day, which it takes to its Hudson Valley brewery and transforms into award-winning craft beers. Toast is distributed from NYC to Boston, with all profits donated to charities that are fighting food waste.

·       Zymtronix – this Cornell University startup is enabling the use of enzymes, nature’s catalysts, across industries for natural, innovative, and cost-effective ingredients. Zymtronix is hoping to lead the next wave of biocatalysis. By optimizing and stabilizing any enzyme to create unique and sustainable processes, its technology and products allow new industrial-scale biocatalysis without compromising on cost-effectiveness or activity of enzymes.

·       SnapDNA – has developed the fastest food safety pathogen test in the industry. Its technology eliminates the need to culture bacteria before analysis, enabling sample-to-answer test results in one-hour for key pathogens; listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. SnapDNA’s proprietary and patented technology can detect and analyze live cells only, process large and complex sample matrices, and deliver quantifiable results with near-zero false positive accuracy. The USDA selected SnapDNA as the next generation food testing platform.

·       Bond Pets – hoping to reinvent pet nutrition, making dog and cat foods sourced from real animal protein, without the animal. Using some of the same principles and processes that are employed in craft brewing and cheese (rennet) manufacture, it grows high-quality animal proteins through fermentation, harvests them to better meet the nutrition requirements of companion animals, and uses the ingredients as the foundation of our complete recipes.

·       Planetarians – is offering alternative protein at the price of flour. Upcycling by-products it makes protein affordable, feeds the growing population, and hopes to reduce impact on planet.

·       Corumat Inc. (formerly Grow Plastics) – makes packaging that it claims is 100% plant-based, compostable, insulating, and up to 30% lower in cost than traditional technologies.

Prizes for Winning Startups

Also new this year, the 15 FoodBytes! SF startups are in the running to win one of three prizes: the CPG Award, the Tech Award (selected by the judges) and the People’s Choice Award (as voted by the audience across categories). The new CPG Award and Tech Award categories debut for the first time to better reward innovation in distinct sectors.

FoodBytes! SF is supported by presenting sponsor ADM, a global nutrition company offering a wide range of specialty ingredients, blends, systems, and experience that supports food and beverage companies. Additional support comes from official sponsors Printpack, Polsinelli, and foodspace+co; as well as supporting sponsors Agropur, Compass Group, Creative Alignments, The Interwine Group and Boulder Food Group.

“As a mentor for nine editions of FoodBytes!, I can say with confidence that FoodBytes! is an unmatched barometer for innovation in the food and ag industries,” said FoodBytes! SF judge Bob Bloom, global account director at ADM, said in a press release announcing the startup list. “For ADM, it’s a valuable opportunity to preview the future of food and connect directly with entrepreneurs who are as passionate as we are about developing new ingredients, technologies, and products that have sustainability and purpose built into their DNA.”

Purchase tickets to FoodBytes! SF here. Keep up with FoodBytes! by joining the newsletter and following on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and  LinkedIn, or via #foodbytes.

Image credit: Kassie Borreson / / @kmbeventfotografie

*This article was sponsored by FoodBytes! by Rabobank, an AgFunder Network Partner. Find out more here.*

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