Rabobank, the global food and agribusiness bank, has unveiled the 20 startups selected to pitch at the upcoming FoodBytes! event in NYC on June 15. The two-day event will bring innovative companies together with investors, and industry leaders in the hope of connecting them with the capital, mentorship, and resources they need to grow their businesses.
The 10 finalist companies will each have 3.5 minutes to pitch before a panel of expert judges and to participate in an audience Q&A. The fortunate finalists include a diverse array of technologies and innovations:
- AgVoice – A voice-interaction service designed to help food and agriculture professionals capture valuable insights to optimize their use of resources.
- Gebni – Offers demand-adjusted meal prices to reduce the cost of restaurant takeout.
- Flashfood Inc – An app that reduces food waste by allowing grocery stores and restaurants to sell high-quality, surplus food at discounts to shoppers.
- Burlap & Barrel Spices – Works directly with global spice farms to bring traditionally-prepared spices to professional and home chefs.
- Impact Vision – Software platform that uses hyperspectral technology to provide insights about the quality and characteristics of different foods using image recognition and predictive learning.
- Nom Noms World Food – Revolutionizing the ready-made meals market with healthy, family-friendly international meals and hot wraps.
- Seal the Seasons – Partners with local family farms, freezing in-season produce at peak ripeness to provide healthy, local food year-round.
- Wanderfuel – B2B approach to health food and wellness content for travelers offering curated, seasonally rotating boxes of organic products alongside content and experiences that support well-being.
- Real Oyster Cult – App allows users to order fresh, sustainably farm-raised oysters to be delivered to their doorstep via overnight delivery.
- Verdical.io – Automated indoor gardening system for everyone to grow produce from seed to harvest with the touch of a button.
Next, 10 runner-up companies will have an opportunity to give a 60-second pitch. These startups include:
- Javazen – A balanced beverage of organic coffee, matcha green tea, and cacao nibs.
- Natural Cuts – Processing technology that extends shelf-life and reduces the caloric value of freshly cut vegetables without sacrificing product quality.
- Mekhala Living – Distributes wholesome and sustainable Asian foods and ingredients.
- Wisran – Measures time variations of farming activities to manage revenue leakage.
- Proud Pour – Pairs wines with solutions to local environmental issues, helping consumers make a difference with each bottle.
- JuiceInnov8 – Sugar reduction technology that enables the creation of a 100% juice with less sugar and calories.
- Edamam LLC – Provides nutrition solutions to businesses in the food, health and wellness sectors, leveraging its proprietary cloud-based, structured-data semantic technology platform
- Love Grain – Helps support Ethiopian communities with its gluten-free products that contain teff, an ancient grain
- Victory Hemp Foods – Growing the domestic supply chain for hemp-based foods
- GoParrot– Artificial Intelligence chat platform that enables customers to place orders with restaurants over chat channels
In March 2017, three women-led startups won the first FoodBytes! event of the year held San Francisco, beating more than 160 startups from 20 countries that applied for a chance to pitch. Vega Coffee, a direct-to-consumer coffee subscription empowering coffee farmers, took the Judge’s Choice Award, while Evaptainers, a startup developing electricity-free refrigeration for developing markets, snagged the People’s Choice Award, an accolade voted on by the audience. Finally, Pure Cultures, a company creating probiotics for pet and livestock health, claimed the Highly Commended award.
Rabobank presents FoodBytes! NYC in collaboration with presenting partners Food + Tech Connect, a global online community for food tech and innovation, and Fresh Ideas Group, a mission-driven communications agency. The program is supported by industry leaders including presenting sponsor Whole Foods Market, and official sponsors Holland & Hart, ADM, and The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. and its Cultivate Ventures platform.
Since launching in 2015, Manuel Gonzalez, the managing director for North America and the head of innovation at Rabobank, has seen quite a few changes to the food tech space. “Now more so than when we originally launched, I see business models from these pitch companies that are slightly more complete” he told AgFunderNews back in January. “Now, there is a bigger and bigger ecosystem willing to find solutions and give support to these burgeoning companies.”
Last year, the program offered its first international event in Australia and this year it’s traveling to Europe. As the alumni roster of FoodBytes! companies continues to grow, Gonzalez and the team have kept tabs on their progress.
“Many of our alumni are continuing to find ways to sustain growth while improving on social impacts,” he said. “More recently, FoodBytes! alumni Kuli Kuli received $4.25 million in a Series A funding round led by Kellogg Company’s venture capital fund eighteen94. The company, which manufacturers and distribute Moringa-based products, raised the Series A following a $500k seed round last year and a couple of crowdfunding campaigns, including a $500k raise on AgFunder.
Get tickets to FoodBytes! NYC HERE and use code AGFUNDER for a 20% discount!