Meaningful milestones food-tech startups should take note of

The latest edition of our accelerator programme recently came to an end, with eight pioneering food-tech startups graduating on our Startup Demo Day. This is the seventh cohort that we’ve hosted at the ProVeg Incubator and the fourth that we’ve run completely online.

Over the past 12 weeks, we’ve been working closely with the founders of eight disruptive food-tech startups from across the globe, helping them to grow and launch their businesses. This included more than 25 workshops and industry roundtables, 11 fireside chats, six Founder Fridays, as well as countless strategy, feedback, and investor meetings, and the big Startup Demo Day…

In this cohort, we supported the following companies:

  • Cultivated Biosciences (Netherlands) uses fermentation to produce a fat ingredient for the alt-dairy industry.
  • Altein Ingredients (India) develops functional protein ingredients from indigenous Indian legumes.
  • Meet Future (Estonia) is developing the next generation of mycoprotein-based chicken and fish alternatives.
  • ProProtein (Estonia) uses scalable precision-fermentation technology to develop alt-dairy proteins.
  • Alt Foods (India) is developing plant-based milk from sprouted millet and grains.
  • Brain Foods (Bulgaria) is a startup that creates healthy plant-based alternatives to popular snacks.
  • Genesea (Israel) is developing seaweed protein isolate offshore.
  • Umami Untied (Japan) produces plant-based eggs and meat from unique Japanese ingredients.
Fireside chat with food-tech startups
Fireside chat with Jody Puglisi and food-tech startups from cohort number 7

Our favourite moments

Some of the highlights of this edition of our accelerator programme included fireside chats with Ryan Bethencourt (Wild Earth), Jody Puglisi (Beyond Meat), and David Brandes (Peace of Meat), as well as investment sessions with VegCapital and Good Seed Ventures, and also roundtables with Migros, Aldi, Edeka, NX-Food, Upfield, Amidori, Döhler Group, Bühler Group, and SnackFutures.

The final feather in this cohort’s cap was of course our programme-closing pitch event. Over 100 investors, journalists, and food-industry experts attended our virtual Startup Demo Day on 10 December and watched all eight of our food-tech startups pitch for investment. Well done to all of the founders!

Startup milestones – a sample of what our founders accomplished during their time with the Incubator:

    • Cultivated Biosciences received funding from Sustainable Future Ventures, along with a Venture Kick grant.
    • Umami United completed the development of their powdered-egg product and reported a 220% increase in richness of taste, as a result of adding Koji enzymes.
    • Brainfoods developed a new range of delicious, sustainable, and healthy chocolate bars, bites, and wafers, with redesigned packaging. All their products are now certified with the V-Label. 
    • ProProtein connected with 21 potential industry partners in order to understand their requirements. This will help the team design an upscaling process suited to industry needs.
    • Alt Foods launched its sprouted-millet-and-grain-based milk online across India, and sold over 1,000 units prior to the official launch.
food-tech startups plant-based milk
Plant-based milk from Indian startup Alt Foods
  • Brainfoods signed a new contract with Lidl Bulgaria. The discount retailer will feature their products in leaflets, and also sell them nationwide. Brainfoods is preparing to enter the UK and German market next.
  • Genesea stepped up their collaboration activities with several key partners, foremost among them the Israeli food-industry giant Tnuva, and initiated talks with several potential corporate and VC investors.
  • Altein Ingredients launched in India and has seen continuous growth in purchase volume since then. The team is also currently raising a pre-seed round for capacity expansion, IP filing, marketing, and new hires.

…And just a few more

  • Cultivated Biosciences formed an impactful partnership with the Zurich School of Applied Sciences. Meanwhile, Co-founder Dimitri Yogg quit his job to work on the startup full-time.
  • Umami United’s beta version of its egg product is launching this month in Japan. The final market-ready version expected to be available in March 2022.
  • Genesea successfully ran experiments with enzymatic hydrolysis, with the goal of increasing protein yield and milling their fresh seaweed biomass in order to reduce volume.       
  • ProProtein engaged with our experts to refine their IP strategy, product roadmap, and initial revenue model. With the Incubator’s help, they are also preparing to launch their first fundraising round early in 2022. 
  • Altein Ingredients onboarded a US-based entity for long-term protein-provider relations. The team is also continuing to explore new local ingredients for use in their products.
  • Umami United exhibited at the Japan food expo. There, the team signed up numerous new customers, including sushi processors and Japanese instant-noodle producers.
Food-tech startups alt egg
Plant-based egg from food-tech startup Plant-based Japan

The next generation of mycoprotein alternatives

Triin Remmelgas, Co-founder and CEO of Meet Future, said: “The ProVeg Incubator programme has expanded our network immensely. Being introduced to different stakeholders has been a great opportunity to learn directly from industry veterans. And trust me, there is some absolutely necessary and brilliant information out there that a Google search can’t provide. 

“Thanks to ProVeg, we’ve been able to discuss our situation – including hurdles and hesitations, ideas and plans – with the world’s top experts in marketing, pricing, commercialisation, packaging, and other vital topics. We’re also flattered and positively surprised by the attention of the media, investors, and potential strategic partners that have been provided to us through the programme.

“We’ve made some profound changes with the help of the ProVeg Incubator team and community. From marketing and fundraising strategies to hiring plans and determining our USP, there is no part of Meet Future that has remained untouched by the insightful and sometimes demanding questions which have helped us to grow exponentially.”

Milk made from indigenous Indian crops

Sweta Khandelwal, Co-founder and COO of Alt Foods, said: “In just the span of the 12-week-long ProVeg Incubator programme, Alt Foods has been surrounded by exciting news. This includes making it to the finals of the Vegan Women Summit Pathfinder Competition, and also launching our products online across India. The incredible responses we’ve been receiving are humbling in terms of the scope of using indigenous Indian ingredients to create game-changing plant-based alternatives for both the Indian and international markets.”

If you are interested in joining the next cohort of food-tech startups at the ProVeg Incubator, apply online now. The next edition of our programme will kick off in April 2022 and we’re accepting applications until Monday, 31 January.

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