Innovative Tech Cohort Primed to Transform Food and Agri Industry

19 April 2022 by Ricardo Pengel
blog author

A diverse selection of companies offering technologies to boost and transform the food and agriculture industry has been unveiled by two organisations.

AgFunder along with Southeast Asia’s leading agrifood tech accelerator GROW have carefully selected a cohort that will showcase a wealth of innovation across the value chain.

The latest diverse GROW Impact Accelerator cohort was picked from more than 360 global pioneering startups, with seven out of the 10 teams having female founders. Selected teams boast a wide variety of innovative tech, from transparency in global honey production to a robotic solution for food packing to ease the constraints of manpower.

The accelerator is supported by a number of impact partners including Netherlands-based Treety, who will measure and report on the impact performance of the startups. Treety’smission is to enable investors and their portfolio companies to successfully transition to an impact economy, via a platform that calculates, tracks and reports true impact for investors and entrepreneurs.

Other impact supporters of the cohort include UNDP Global Centre, Grow Asia, the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network and official media partner AFN. 

The GROW Impact Accelerator runs for 20 weeks and is backed by the GROW Impact Fund – AgFunder’s first fund that invests by assessing the potential environmental and social impact of its portfolio companies in addition to using commercial metrics.

The program will help the 10 startups to scale rapidly and advance sustainability – from a business perspective but also in terms of the lifecycle of food from cradle to grave.

The cohort is:

  • 3Bee (Italy): Cloud-based farm management system for beekeepers combined with marketplace technology, driving transparency and traceability in global honey production.

  • Decomer Technology (Estonia): All natural, plant-based, functional food-grade packaging for food manufacturers and FMCG. 

  • LYRO Robotics (Australia): Next-gen robotic solution for food packing, working to alleviate manpower constraints and to improve efficiency on the line. 

  • Mycotech Lab (Indonesia): Designing and producing mycelium-based goods such as animal-free leather and building materials from agricultural waste streams, including corn and oil palm.

  • Nubocha (US): Dairy-free, no-added-sugar, and keto-friendly artisanal gelato brand committed to sustainability, traceability, and owning part of the supply chain.

  • Phagos (France): Addressing the looming pandemic of antibiotic resistance with bacteriophage solutions to efficiently address bacterial infections in seafood and livestock.

  • Tepbac (Vietnam): Revolutionising Vietnam’s aquaculture industry with a comprehensive suite of software and hardware solutions.

  • Veggie Victory (Nigeria): Offering affordable plant-based meat alternatives that match local tastes and textures, while addressing chronic protein deficiency among African consumers. 

  • X-Centric Sciences (US): Instrumentation systems for soil carbon analysis, allowing efficient and streamlined acquisition of vertically stratified, geochemical carbon data.

  • Yeap Proteins (Israel): A complete, yeast-based protein source made from industrial sidestreams that can be used as a functional/bulking ingredient or concentrated protein powder. 

Each company will receive $100,000 (€92,300) in cash and in-kind investment, as well as the opportunity to raise follow-on investment from AgFunder and its network of global co-investment partners.

The program launch follows the first close of the AgFunder SIJ Impact Fund, and its strategic investors will work alongside selected GROW Impact Accelerator startups to bring solutions to the market.

John Friedman, Executive Director, Asia at AgFunder, said: “Impact is a mindset that founders choose to apply when building their business, as much as it’s an approach we choose to apply to our investment thesis.

“We’ve shown over the past three years that building strong businesses and creating meaningful impact in our food system does not have to be a compromise. We’re excited to be working with this fantastic group of founders from across the globe to bring to life diversity of solutions that tap into some of the greatest opportunities of our time.”

Ricardo Pengel, Principal Consultant at Acre, said: “The agriculture industry is currently experiencing increasing environmental pressures like climate change and the economic impact of catastrophic weather events which automatically calls for more ethical and sustainable farm practices, such as higher standards for farm-animal welfare and reduced use of chemicals and water.

“It is essential that the agri industry keeps up with the technological innovations that enable the different players to have a continuously positive impact on sustainability across their entire value chains.” 

The demo day for the GROW Impact Accelerator is currently planned for early Q4 2022 and will take place in Singapore.

​Ricardo Pengel is a Principal Consultant within Acre Benelux's Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability team.

​Ricardo has recruited across various sectors for national, regional and international organizations. Prior to joining Acre, Ricardo worked for a renowned global executive search firm where he was part of the firm’s Procurement, Supply Chain & Operations Centre of Excellence and was responsible for retained searches across the Benelux region. Prior to this, he worked for a reputable global recruitment firm for five years where he was part of the firm’s Procurement & Supply Chain practice where he led a team focusing on senior management searches.