Innovative ag businesses urged to apply for global platform

FoodBytes! helps AgTech startups gain global audience

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Founders of WA-based SWAN Ivor Gaylard, Rod Campbell and Tim Hyde were involved in the 2020 and were announced global agtech category winners.

Founders of WA-based SWAN Ivor Gaylard, Rod Campbell and Tim Hyde were involved in the 2020 and were announced global agtech category winners.

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Innovative food producers and agri startups could have access to a world-wide audience through inclusion in the international FoodBytes! Pitch Program.

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Innovative food producers and agri startups could have access to a world-wide audience through inclusion in the international FoodBytes! Pitch Program.

The event, hosted by Rabobank, is designed to drive collaboration between startups, corporate leaders, investors and farmers to help address food system challenges.

Launched in the United States in 2015, FoodBytes! attracts entrepreneurs from across the globe to participate in a multi-week program, which helps develop and grow their businesses through global industry exposure, tailored mentorship sessions, individualised connections with corporates and investors, pitch refinement and industry awareness and recognition.

Then selected participants are able to present in a global virtual pitch competition.

Calling for applicants for this year's program, Rabobank Australia Head of Innovation, Knowledge & Networks Nathalie Gibson said FoodBytes! was seeking startups - ranging from 'seed' stage to those commercially engaged in the market - who are working on "truly innovative food and agri products or technology with a demonstrated market fit" in one of three sectors - ag tech, food tech and consumer food and beverage.

"FoodBytes! is scouting globally for startups with developed business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset which have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain," she said

Startup applicants are sought in the following areas:

  • Sustainable supply chains: blockchain/traceability, livestock management, animal feed efficiency, meat processing automation, byproduct upcycling, commodities processing, shelf-life extension, clean food processing
  • Improved resource management: carbon sequestration and reduction, precision irrigation, food loss mitigation, sustainable packaging, manufacturing robotics, onfarm automation, ag biotechnology, precision ag and AI, indoor farming
  • Next frontier of nutrition: functional ingredients (ie aging, mental clarity, performance, immunity), food biotechnology/fermentation, cellular agriculture, grain and sugar alternatives, meal prep/home cooking simplification, personalised nutrition, consumer wearables and data gathering.

A group of 45 startups will be chosen to participate in the program, made up of 15 companies from each of the three categories.

Following an in-depth mentoring and coaching program, a shortlist of 15 will be chosen to present at the FoodBytes! 2021 virtual global pitch competition in November, with a winner chosen in each category.

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Ms Gibson said Australian startups had already featured impressively in previous FoodBytes!, with Western Australian precision irrigation and fertiliser platform SWAN Systems being named last year's global agtech category winner, while Albury, NSW-based agricultural biotech company ProAgni was among the top 15 selected to present in 2020 and three other Australian startups featured in the top 45, chosen from a field of 340 applicants across 14 countries.

FoodBytes! applications close on May 16, with the finalists to be announced on September 8.

  • Details: To apply or for more information, visit foodbytesworld.com/apply

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