In light of COVID-19, the FoodBytes! face-to-face networking events and pitch slams - which Rabobank has been running for five years in multiple cities - transitioned in 2020 to FoodBytes! Pitch, a startup discovery platform that gives corporate leaders and investors exposure to a larger group of startups, with opportunities for deeper interaction and networking throughout the year.
This year, FoodBytes! Pitch is seeking startups ranging from seed stage to Series B, said Anne Greven, Head of F&A Innovation at Rabobank.
“We’re scouting globally for startups with validated business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust, diverse team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset that have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain.”
'Truly innovative food & ag product or technology with a demonstrated product market fit'
Entries are due by May 16, with 45 finalists - representing 15 companies in each of three sectors: agtech, food tech and CPG - to be announced on September 8.
The 45 shortlisted companies will then attend a series of virtual mentoring/coaching sessions on everything from deal structuring to legal, financing, recruitment, and go to market strategies, after which 15 will be chosen to present at the platform’s live-streamed event on November 10, at which one startup in each sector (CPG, food tech, ag tech) will be crowned a winner.
However, all 45 startups will have access to the FoodBytes! network of 350+ alumni entrepreneurs and receive ongoing connections and guidance, said Greven, who is looking for “truly innovative food & ag product or technology with a demonstrated product market fit” in:
- 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 & reduction, precision irrigation, food loss mitigation, sustainable packaging, manufacturing robotics, on-farm automation, ag biotechnology, precision ag & AI, indoor farming
- Next frontier of nutrition: functional ingredients (i.e., aging, mental clarity, performance, immunity), food biotechnology/fermentation, cellular agriculture, grain & sugar alternatives, meal prep/home cooking simplification, personalized nutrition, consumer wearables & data gathering
Startups can learn more about FoodBytes! and enter the pitch competition HERE.
What problem are you solving... and why are you best-placed to solve it?
So what makes a great pitch? At the most basic level, says Anne Greven, Head of F&A Innovation at Rabobank, entrepreneurs need to identify up front the problem they are addressing, spell out what the market opportunity is (high-growth? high barrier to entry?), and explain why they are best-placed to solve it (a management team with the right experience, and a clear understanding of their costs and margin structures, competitors, and ability to scale).
Rabobank is also looking at environmental factors, said Greven: "Is it sustainable, does it have a social impact?"