Herbicide alternative technology RootWave won the Judges’ Choice Award at FoodBytes! in London last week.
FoodBytes! is the global pitch competition organized by food and agriculture bank Rabobank with the aim of harnessing new innovation to create a better world through food.
RootWave is a UK startup based near Oxford that uses electricity to zap weeds, reducing or even eliminating the need for chemical herbicides. Founder Andrew Diprose recently closed a $2.5 million seed round of funding for the technology.
Abi Ramanan, CEO of ImpactVision and one of the judges told AgFunderNews: “The potential of RootWave’s technology to eradicate weeds without using chemicals has huge potential for agriculture and farming sustainability, plus Andrew’s story resonated particularly well – I’m excited for their future!”
FoodBytes! judges selected the winner based on product innovation, market traction, team experience and focus on sustainability, from the 3.5-minute pitch companies.
Nicholas Fereday, senior analyst for consumer foods at Rabobank and the Judges Team Captain for London, told AgFunderNews on the sidelines of the event that the judges were impressed with the quality of all the companies, but they were “particularly impressed by the truly disruptive potential of [RootWave’s] technology on the market and of course the environmental benefits of reduced pesticide use.”
RootWave was not the only company to come away with an award: food labeling and freshness detection technology startup Mimica Labs was chosen by the audience of the event to win the People’s Choice Award through a mobile voting system.
Mimica’s food label called Mimica Touch goes bumpy when the food or drink it’s labeling goes bumpy, which can dramatically reduce waste at the supermarket, according to founder Solveiga Pakštaitė.
“When you increase the shelf life of milk by two days, retailers can cut their waste in half,” she told the audience.
The company is currently working with European dairy brand Arla on its milk products.
Pakštaitė said: “The validation from FoodBytes! and Rabobank is so important to us because the way we want to create impact is through the access and exposure to all of the businesses that were here. Winning the People’s Choice Award has certainly allowed us to do that and opens up so many opportunities for us.”
Biokind, a sustainable protein feed producer for aquaculture, livestock, and pets, was Highly Commended by the judges after pitching among the 1.5-minute pitch companies. It is manufacturing bacteria to replace fishmeal — which is largely made up of declining stocks of forage fish — or other fish feed ingredients such as soybean. Produced via a natural fermentation, it is non-GMO, price competitive with existing sources of protein and produced to the highest quality standards, according to the company.