“If you’re building a food-related startup, FoodBytes! is the perfect place to get the word out about your innovation. The people in the room understand what you want to accomplish, and the FoodBytes! team will do everything possible to make sure the experience is all about you, the entrepreneurs, and making sure you’re in the spotlight,” said Marc-André Roberge, cofounder of Nectar, the honeybee sensor tech startup that recently won the People’s Choice award at FoodBytes! Montreal.
FoodBytes! is looking for European agrifood startups that can demonstrate product innovation, commercial viability, traction and a focus on sustainability, to pitch in front of an audience of investors, industry leaders, media, and entrepreneurs.
The pitch competition between 20 pre-selected startups will take place on September 13 and gives startups the chance of winning one of three awards: the Judges’ Choice Award, the People’s Choice Award, and the Highly Commended Award. Winners in the first two categories will be invited to present and display their products at Rabobank’s premier invitation-only Food and Agribusiness Summit in December in New York City. These events attract C-suite representation from over 300 of North America’s leading food, beverage and agribusiness companies.
As well as the opportunity to pitch on the day, the 20 selected European agrifood startups spend the day before receiving mentorship from Rabobank executives, sponsors, and partners on different parts of their businesses including legal, social media, branding and pitching their wares.
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“The mentoring portion of the event always gets a lot of positive feedback,” said Nicholas Fereday, senior analyst for consumer foods at Rabobank and the Judges Team Captain for London. “We really try to get them to think about things they might not necessarily think about otherwise and that may shape how they choose to pitch their company on the day.”
Fereday added that this can be particularly interesting for agtech startups that are used to pitching their businesses to farmers and not to consumers. “Asking them to think about how they’d sell their product to a consumer can be great to help them appreciate that connection as it can have a big impact. Getting the consumer behind you can be a great way to put pressure on your customers to adopt; consumers really are driving change across the agrifood industry,” he said.
While Europe still lags North America for agrifood tech innovation and investment, startups across the continent still raised an impressive $1.4 billion in venture capital funding across 155 deals in 2017, according to AgFunder data. London was by far the busiest city during the year accounting for 44 of the 209 deals reported overall.
A competition that first launched in San Francisco in 2015, FoodBytes! has now taken place in seven cities across the globe, most recently in Montreal, Canada, where SmartCatch, a precision fishing technology startup won the Judge’s Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award went to Nectar.
It has attracted over 3,500 attendees, received over 1,400 applications from 35 countries overall, and today there are more than 210 FoodBytes! alumni who rave about the impact the event had on their business.
“FoodBytes! was an absolute goldmine for us from a business development perspective and an entrepreneurial standpoint,” said Frank Page, CEO of
*This article was sponsored by FoodBytes! by Rabobank*