Startups changing the future of food invited to apply

CHICAGO (May 29, 2019) – The networking platform FoodBytes! by Rabobank announced its 16th global pitch competition will be coming to Chicago for the first time in September. FoodBytes! is taking place at Revel Fulton Market on Thursday, September 19 and looks to connect innovative food, food tech and agtech startups with corporate leaders and investors. Sustainable food and agriculture (F&A) game-changers are invited to apply by Sunday, June 23 by 11:59 pm CDT.


“FoodBytes! gave us the confidence to scale nationally and faster than if we hadn’t been involved, ” said Megan Klein, co-founder and president of Here Foods and FoodBytes! Montreal alum. “The Midwest has a massive entrepreneurial ecosystem and we are thrilled to welcome FoodBytes! to Chicago. We encourage innovators that want to enhance their exposure and make a real impact on the future of food to apply.”


According to the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, more than 4,500 food and beverage companies are based in the greater Chicagoland area alone, accounting for 130,000 employees and $32 billion in sales.


For FoodBytes! Chicago, Rabobank is seeking out startups focused on animal health, sustainable production, soil and water conservation, robotics, precision agriculture, food safety, food waste, food as medicine, sugar alternatives and novel healthy ingredients. Based on rigorous criteria, fifteen companies will be selected to showcase their business in front of a live audience, convince a panel of judges, and impress the crowd for the chance to win one of three prizes: the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Award, the Food and AgTech Award (selected by the judges) and the People’s Choice Award (as voted by the audience across categories).


“FoodBytes! is more than just a pitch competition, it’s access to a community of 265 alumni and ongoing support that goes beyond the pitch day. All participating startups are automatically winners”, adds Klein.


Benefits for the 15 selected startups include:

  • A full-day mentorship immersion led by industry experts on fundraising, legal and go-to-market strategy
  • Tailored conversations with the judges and direct feedback on products, technologies and pitches
  • Valuable in-person networking opportunities with corporate leaders, investors, influencers and peers
  • Ongoing support from Rabobank Food and Agriculture (F&A) experts
  • One-on-one connections during the Investor Power Hour
  • Access to the community of FoodBytes! alumni


FoodBytes! Chicago is supported by presenting sponsor ADM, a world-leading nutrition company with the widest range of specialty ingredients, blends, systems and experience that supports food and beverage companies looking to get to market quickly with products consumers love. Additional support comes from official sponsors PrintpackPolsinelli, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN and foodspace; as well as supporting sponsors Agropur Cooperative, Creative AlignmentsGermin8 Ventures, The Interwine Group and Boulder Food Group.


Apply to FoodBytes! Chicago before Sunday, June 23 by 11:59 pm CDT.


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About FoodBytes! by Rabobank:

Rabobank, a premier global food and agribusiness bank, first launched FoodBytes! in San Francisco in 2015 as part of its Banking for Food (B4F) strategy. Rabobank believes that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving food and agricultural industry that will feed the increasing global population, expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Since launching in 2015, 265 startups have pitched on the FoodBytes! stage, 2,000 startups have applied from 90+ countries and more than 4,700 people have attended events in North America, Europe and Australia. Rabobank is a leading global food and agriculture bank, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain.


Media Inquiries

For press information, interviews or photography, please contact Amelia Levin, for Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Chicago, or 312-320-9459.