Pitch, raise, network: our Startup Demo Day
The sixth edition of our accelerator programme has come to an end. For the last three months, we’ve been supporting nine innovative food startups from around the world. Last Friday (25 June), the companies graduated from the ProVeg Incubator, finishing off with our Startup Demo Day. Let’s take a look at how it went.
The ProVeg Incubator Startup Demo Day traditionally marks the end of each edition of our accelerator programme. It’s a huge opportunity for our founders because this is the day when they will finally pitch their companies to investors.
The Startup Demo Day is the culmination of all of our hard work together. It’s the point when our startups are ready to take their companies to the next level.
It’s also a great celebration of what our founders have achieved: the milestones they’ve hit, the products they’ve developed, the partnerships formed, and the teams that have been built. It’s a reminder of all they’ve accomplished, and a look at where they’re going next.
How does it work?
Our Startup Demo Day is hosted digitally. We used to host the event in person but, because of the pandemic, we moved it online. While we miss seeing people in real life, a digital Demo Day also has upsides. For example, we can invite guests from all over the world, without them having to come to Berlin to participate. That’s a massive advantage.
Alongside an audience of food-industry specialists, entrepreneurs, retailers, journalists, and innovators, we had a panel of expert investors joining us. Jury members comprised Kirsten Rocca from Unovis Asset Management, Cliff Johnson from Veg Capital, Tanmay Annachhatre from Blue Horizon, and José Luis Cabañero from Eatable Adventures.
After a short welcome and introduction from the Incubator, each startup had seven minutes to pitch. This was followed by a Q&A with the investor panel. Since we couldn’t offer tastings, each company shared a product video to give the audience a sense of their creations.
To finish up, the audience and jury voted for their favourite startups (we’ll get to the winners in a minute). Then we moved onto some good old-fashioned networking sessions.
For this Startup Demo Day, we had nine companies pitching from India, Chile, Mexico, and countries all over Europe.
Omni (UK): Omni is the world’s first vet-formulated plant-based pet-food brand. The company was founded by Dr Guy Sandelowsky and Shiv Sivakumar in order to create nutritionally complete and sustainably produced dog food.
Eggfield (Switzerland): Silvan Leibacher and David Ebneter started Eggfield in order to develop plant-based liquid and whole eggs for food manufacturers. Eggfield focuses on replacing animal-based eggs in consumer products.
Kinoko Labs (Germany): Founded by Isabella Iglesias-Musachio during the pandemic, Kinoko Labs are working on whole-cut meat and fish alternatives made from mushroom mycelium.
Bifidice (Chile): Bifidice harness the power of good bacteria to produce plant-based ice-cream that helps to fight allergies and chronic diseases. Anastasia Gutkevich founded the biotech company with a team of female entrepreneurs.
ProMeat (India): ProMeat are developing meat alternatives specifically tailored to the Indian market. Founded by Debabrata Das, Pranjuli Garg, and Sugriv Gupts, the company transforms indigenous crops into affordable alt-protein products.
NOKO (France): Founded by boxer-turned-entrepreneur Maxence Damarey, NOKO is developing the next generation of fight food. The company’s plant-based products are specifically designed to aid the recovery of fighters and athletes.
Root Kitchen (UK): Root Kitchen was founded by David Beaver and Rishma Remtulla in order to revolutionise the ready-meal market in the UK. The company produces affordable frozen plant-based meals in a range of authentic flavours.
Asanté (Mexico): Asanté produces plant-based meat and fish products inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. Founders Iván Jiménez de Sandi and Gabriela Rivera are also working on mycelium technology in order to further improve their products.
Kern Tec (Austria): Kern Tec upcycles the discarded pits of stone fruits into new plant-based ingredients for use by the food industry. The company was founded by Michael Beitl, Luca Fichtinger, Sebastian Jeschko, and Fabian Wagesreither.
All of our founders did a truly fantastic job in pitching at our Startup Demo Day and we are so proud of all of them. Thankfully, we didn’t have to pick the winning pitches – the audience and the jury decided that for us.
Omni won the audience award – meaning that they got the highest number of votes from the audience – while Kern Tec took the jury award – meaning that they scored highest with our panel of investors. Well done to both of them!
So, what now?
Just because our programme has come to an end, it doesn’t mean that we will stop supporting these startups. They will all join our growing alumni network and will receive support from us for as long as they need it.
As for us? The wheels of the Incubator never stop turning and we’re already looking for the food innovators who will join our next cohort of startups! The programme will begin at the end of September and we’re accepting applications until Sunday, 18 July.