The innovation discovery platform announces this year’s corporate members and encourages food and agriculture startups to apply
NEW YORK—April 7, 2021—Rabobank is officially kicking off the 2021 Pitch program for FoodBytes!, the bank’s food and agriculture innovation platform, which drives connections and collaboration between startups, corporate leaders and investors to implement solutions to food system challenges. Now through May 16, agtech, food tech and consumer food and beverage (CPG) startups looking to participate can apply in hopes of being selected to present at the virtual pitch competition in November.
FoodBytes! Pitch is an annual multi-week program that helps startups validate and grow their businesses, and their impact, through global industry exposure, tailored mentorship sessions, individualized connections with corporates and investors, pitch refinement and industry awareness and recognition.
This year’s applicants will be vying for a coveted spot among the class of 45 startups – representing 15 companies in each of three sectors: agtech, food tech and CPG. Following an in-depth mentoring and coaching program, 15 of the 45 will be chosen to present at the platform’s live-streamed public competition which will be held on Wednesday, November 10. At the finale, one startup in each sector will be crowned a winner and walk away with prizes. Following FoodBytes! Pitch participation, all 45 startups will have access to the FoodBytes! network of more than 350 alumni entrepreneurs and receive ongoing connections and guidance to help drive their businesses forward.
“We’re scouting globally for startups with validated business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust, diverse team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset that have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain,” said Anne Greven, Head of F&A Innovation, Rabobank. “Each year, the bar gets raised higher in terms of the level of innovation from prospective startups that want to engage with FoodBytes! and the Rabobank global network – they’re more mature and tested than ever, and we’re excited to support entrepreneurs throughout the stages of their growth.”
In 2021, FoodBytes! Pitch is seeking startups ranging from seed to Series B that are working on a truly innovative F&A product or technology with a demonstrated product market fit in the following areas:
- Sustainable supply chains: blockchain/traceability, livestock management, animal feed efficiency, meat processing automation, byproduct upcycling, commodities processing, shelf-life extension, clean food processing
- Improved resource management: carbon sequestration & reduction, precision irrigation, food loss mitigation, sustainable packaging, manufacturing robotics, on-farm automation, ag biotechnology, precision ag & AI, indoor farming
- Next frontier of nutrition: functional ingredients (i.e., aging, mental clarity, performance, immunity), food biotechnology/fermentation, cellular agriculture, grain & sugar alternatives, meal prep/home cooking simplification, personalized nutrition, consumer wearables & data gathering
In addition to opening startup applications, Rabobank revealed this year’s FoodBytes! members, a mix of influential global food and agriculture companies, investors and service providers, including returning partners Albaugh, BFG Partners, Continental Grain Company, DLL Group, Holland & Hart, Morrison & Foerster, PepsiCo, Propeller Industries, Rabobank Food and Agri Innovation Fund and Tate & Lyle, while newcomers Bolthouse Farms, Cavallo Ventures, Cleveland Avenue, Endurance Investments, Fugini, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Herbalife Nutrition, Hormel Foods, iSelect Fund Management, Louis Dreyfus Company, Marfrig/National Beef, S2G Ventures and Step Two Advisors will be joining the platform for the first time. These corporates play a pivotal role in the platform – shaping scouting criteria, scoring applicants, providing mentorship, fostering connections and investments, all while driving collaboration to implement real-world solutions within the food and agriculture industry.
“FoodBytes! is a unique opportunity to put us face to face with start-up businesses that are using cutting edge technology to define the future of food and agriculture,” said Ben Fishman, managing director and co-head of CGC Ventures.
Last year, the platform received 340 applications from across the globe, the most diverse group of participants to date: 51% of the FoodBytes! Pitch 2020 startups are BIPOC-led or co-led, and woman-led or co-led companies made up nearly half (47%) of the Pitch class. Winners were Agricycle Global (CPG), Envara Health (Food Tech), and SWAN SYSTEMS (Agtech). Startups within the FoodBytes! alumni network have collectively raised over one billion since participating.
“Participating in FoodBytes! was a great experience for our team at BPS Agriculture,” said Erik Cooper, chief financial officer of BPS Agriculture. “We were able to connect with ag industry leaders and investors from around the world to share the story behind our technology and the impacts it can have. But more importantly, we were able to learn from the team at Rabobank and their network – the mentorship, probing questions, and counsel has been invaluable.”
Startups interested in FoodBytes! Pitch 2021 can visit www.foodbytesworld.com/apply to learn more and apply by May 16. Finalists will be announced September 8.
If you’re a corporate or investor interested in learning more about how you can join our community, please email FoodBytes@rabobank.com.
About Rabobank F&A Innovation
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. Rabobank’s F&A Innovation team supports the bank’s global mission of Growing a Better World Together – helping to turn today’s promising ideas into impactful solutions for a sustainable food supply. Through the FoodBytes! food and agriculture innovation platform, Rabobank has built one of the most valuable networks for corporates, investors and startups pioneering sustainable ways to feed the planet.
FoodBytes! drives collaboration between startups, large food and ag companies and investors through two complementary programs: FoodBytes! Pitch and FoodBytes! Pilot.
Our approach to industry change: discovering and supporting startup innovation; and helping large food and ag companies embed and drive innovation across their organizations. To learn more, visit foodbytesworld.com or follow FoodBytes! on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
For press information, or interview, please contact Katie Myers:
Katie.Myers@rabobank.com | + 1 214-766-4566