Rabobank Announces FoodBytes! San Francisco 2017 Winners

Vega Coffee, Evaptainers and Pure Cultures Take Home Top Prizes

 

FoodBytes-SF-Winners-2017 

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20, 2017 – Rabobank, a premier global food and agribusiness bank, announces that three female-led startups, Vega Coffee, a direct-to-consumer coffee subscription empowering coffee farmers; Evaptainers, electricity-free refrigeration for developing markets; and Pure Cultures, probiotics for pet and livestock health, have been awarded the top prizes at FoodBytes! San Francisco, a pitch competition that connects food and agriculture thought leaders and investors with the most disruptive startups in the industry.

More than 160 startups from 20 countries applied to pitch at FoodBytes! San Francisco, which took place at The Village, a state-of-the-art venue in the heart of the city with a sustainable food-focused non-profit arm, Farm-to-Fork.

“My hope for FoodBytes! has always been to discover new ideas that explore sustainable and scalable solutions for the industry’s changing needs,” said Manuel Gonzalez, Managing Director, North America Head of Start-Up Innovation at Rabobank. “I believe we did just that at FoodBytes! San Francisco. The twenty companies that pitched – and particularly our three award winners – are true game changers.”

A panel of expert judges selected the winning companies they felt best addressed a unique set of criteria, including scalability, product innovation, traction and social impact. 

Judges’ Choice Award: Vega Coffee

Vega Coffee, a subscription coffee delivery service that empowers small-holder farmers to roast and sell their coffee, earning up to four times more than typical export channels, took home the Judges’ Choice Award. “We’re so honored to receive this award,” said Vega Coffee co-founder Noushin Ketabi. “We created this brand in hope of establishing a more equitable coffee experience, while connecting the world’s coffee farmers directly with the world’s coffee lovers. We feel so motivated by this recognition from FoodBytes! for the work we’re doing to disrupt the coffee chain.”

Vega Coffee receives the following prizes:

  • Official invitation to attend Rabobank’s annual event in New York City in December to pitch to hundreds of C-Suite executives from leading F&A companies
  • Legal consultation with Holland & Hart’s Agriculture & Food or Food & Beverage practices
  • Branding consultation with the experts at Nucleus Maximus, along with design support for their display at Rabobank’s annual event

 People’s Choice Award: Evaptainers

FoodBytes! SF attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award winner via the FoodBytes! app, and the award went to Evaptainers, a Boston-based company that provides an electricity-free refrigeration solution powered by water and sunlight. “45% of produce grown in Africa spoils before it reaches the consumer, which puts rural farmers and communities at a sizable disadvantage,” said Evaptainers co-founder Serena Hollmeyer Taylor. “By creating a technology that doesn’t rely on expensive infrastructure, we can get food into the hands of those who need it most.” The companies who pitched alongside us today at FoodBytes! were so inspiring, and this award will push us to keep innovating towards our goal of reaching as many people as possible.”

Evaptainers receives the following prizes:

  • Official invitation to attend Rabobank’s annual eventin New York City in December to pitch to hundreds of C-Suite executives from leading F&A companies
  • Legal consultation with Holland & Hart’s Agriculture & Food or Food & Beverage practices
  • Branding consultation with the experts at Nucleus Maximus, along with design support for their display at Rabobank’s annual event

Highly Commended Award: Pure Cultures

The Judges also selected the Highly Commended Award winner from the 60-second pitch companies based on the same criteria as the Judges’ Choice Award Winner. The Highly Commended Award went to Pure Cultures, a Colorado-based biotech company developing microbiome solutions for animal health, specializing in prebiotics and probiotics as an alternative to using antibiotics in animals. “We’re thrilled to be taking home the Highly Commended Award, and among such an impressive group of fellow companies, no less,” said Pure Cultures co-founder Colleen Kazemi. “Our work aims to reduce dependence on antibiotics in the animal & food supplement industries, an important issue that we hope to continue to socialize through powerful industry events like FoodBytes!.”

As the Highly Commended Award winner, Pure Cultures will receive:

  • Legal consultation with Holland & Hart’s Agriculture & Food or Food & Beverage practices
  • Branding consultation with the experts at Nucleus Maximus

Rabobank presented FoodBytes! San Francisco in collaboration with an incredible group of supporters, including Presenting Partner Food + Tech Connect and Presenting Sponsor Whole Foods Market. Official Sponsors Holland & Hart and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) played an integral role in the development of the event and mentorship of the finalist companies.

The full list of finalist companies that pitched during FoodBytes! San Francisco included SNPittyBonumose BiochemGIVN WaterVega CoffeeVisAg Solutions LLCRenewal MillNutrigeneFlying SparkGood Seed, and Evaptainers. The full list of 60-second pitches included The Honest BisonPieShellApiterraFuelMintScrapsSiren SnacksPure CulturesProteoSenseATE and Creation Nation.

Applications are now open for the next FoodBytes! events, including FoodBytes! Europe on May 17 & 18, FoodBytes! New York on June 14 & 15, and FoodBytes! Austin in September. Applications for FoodBytes! Europe close on April 7, 2017.

Follow us: For coverage of FoodBytes!, follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and follow curated content via the hashtag #FoodBytes.

About Rabobank:

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 40 countries worldwide. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank today is one of the world’s largest banks with over $750 billion in assets. In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. We know that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving food and ag industry that will feed growing global populations for years to come, which is a key focus of our Banking for Food strategy. Additional information is available on our North America Wholesale Banking website or social media: Twitter LinkedIn.

Media Contact:

For media credentials for upcoming events, or to speak with a representative from Rabobank or any of the partnering organizations or pitch companies, please contact:

Maggie Kinnealey, VOX Global, (202) 772-5018, mkinnealey@voxglobal.com

 

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