FoodBytes! is a discovery platform for cutting-edge startups innovating Food & Ag. Sound like you?
Are you working on a truly innovative food or agriculture product or technology? Are you disrupting a large market with a focus on sustainability and / or social impact? Are you pre-seed to Series A stage? Are you open to cross-collaboration, partnerships and critical feedback? Then FoodBytes! is calling your name…
Applications for Chicago (September 18 & 19) and London (November 6 & 7) are now closed. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know about our next FoodBytes! competition.
Got questions? Check out our handy FAQ below.
Pitching at FoodBytes! FAQ
1. There are a million pitch competitions, what makes FoodBytes! different?
What began as a pitch event in 2015 has evolved into a leading food and agriculture innovation ecosystem. Beyond most entrepreneurs’ perception of a pitch competition, FoodBytes! is a discovery and networking platform that builds lasting connections between the most promising startups, corporates and investors.
Beyond the public pitch afternoon, selected startups participate in intimate workshops, business growth bootcamps, investment speed dating and more. The lasting value of FoodBytes! extends beyond the 2 day event, fostering connections and insights through the Rabobank network, our newsletter, social media and more.
2. What kind of companies should apply?
- Those working on a truly innovative product or technology with an application in food and agriculture
- More specifically, those in Food Tech (packaging, foodservice, food e-commerce, etc.), AgTech (precision ag, sustainable inputs, drones / robotics, etc.) and CPG (alternative proteins, healthy snacking, novel ingredients, etc.)
- Those disrupting a large market with a focus on sustainability and / or social impact (people, profit and planet)
- Those at pre-seed to Series A stage (90% of successful applicants fall into this range)
- Those that are open to critical feedback, cross-collaboration and partnerships
3. How do I choose which event to apply to?
We encourage companies from around the world to apply to each edition of FoodBytes! as long as you are active or planning to launch in the market where it takes place.
4. Who are the alumni?
Hundreds of startups have pitched on the FoodBytes! stage. Watch some FoodBytes! alums’ pitch videos (above) and view the rest here.
5. Do you target specific types of startups in certain markets?
FoodBytes! is all about making relevant connections between corporates, startups and investors. As the platform has evolved, we’ve grown more targeted in that intent.
For FoodBytes! Chicago, we’re specifically targeting startups focused on animal health, sustainable production, soil & water conservation, precision agriculture, robotics, food safety, food waste, food as medicine, sugar alternatives and novel healthy ingredients. However, we still welcome all sustainable food and agriculture game-changers to apply.
FoodBytes! London is our second European edition, so we’re targeting food and agriculture startups broadly and encourage those to apply that are pioneering a more sustainable future, per the criteria above.
6. How does Rabobank evaluate and review applications?
We have a holistic review process that includes Rabobank food and agriculture experts and our FoodBytes! sponsors. High-ranking startups exhibit the following criteria:
- Team Background: Exceptional domain and entrepreneurial experience
- Business Model: Company has a strong view on its revenue model, competitors, how to scale, customer acquisition and cost base. Company knows its margins and how it can improve as it scales
- Market Opportunity: High growth market opportunity and high barriers to entry
- Product Innovation: Concept is a game-changing approach to solving a problem or gap in the market
- Product Validation & Traction: Team is on track or building a successful business and is building something that consumers or the industry needs / wants. Company was able to raise external funds
- Sustainability / Social Impact: Concept is focused on the triple bottom line: people, profit and planet
7. How many startups are selected to pitch at each edition of FoodBytes!?
We select 15 startups from hundreds of applications – 5 food tech startups, 5 agtech startups and 5 CPG startups (give or take depending on the applicant pool).
8. It's a competition, so what do startups win?
From the 15 selected startups, 3 walk away winners, taking home the Food & AgTech Award, the CPG Award (both selected by the judges) and the People’s Choice Award (voted on by the audience across categories). All three participate in Rabobank’s end of year summit, where they pitch to and meet with top food and agriculture corporates relevant to their businesses. They also receive financing consultations with relevant VIP investors. All 15 startups get complimentary consulting services from our partners in multiple business development areas, as well as lasting connections within the Rabobank network.
9. That all sounds great, but how does FoodBytes! help startups?
Our alumni can say it better than we ever could, and we personally think this video encapsulates the long-lasting value of FoodBytes! perfectly. Selected entrepreneurs meet new customers, mentors, service providers and investors as a result of participating in FoodBytes! Collectively, they’ve gone on to raise a combined $425M since participating in FoodBytes!, with 53 deals in 2018 alone.
10. What should I expect during FoodBytes!?
- Day 1: Intimate mentorship sessions and 1:1s with funding, PR, social, consumer trends, recruiting, legal and distribution experts
- Day 1: Speed dating sessions with investors
- Day 1: VIP networking with top investors, executives and media
- Day 1 and 2: Dedicated display space to showcase your product or service
- Day 2: Pitch to an audience of investors, industry leaders, media and entrepreneurs
- Forever: Join alumni community of hundreds of cutting edge startups
Get to know a few of our rockstar alumni pitching on the FoodBytes! stage.
Shaka Tea – Beverage Innovator
Winnow – Restaurant Food Waste Mitigator
Soma Detect – Dairy Farming Steward