Kitchen-sharing Platform Takes Out Top Gong at FoodBytes! Sydney

SYDNEY (Nov. 7, 2016) — Food tech start-up Sprout Kitchens has been awarded the top honour at FoodBytes!, a dynamic food and ag pitch competition bringing together food and agri tech entrepreneurs alongside potential investors and industry thought leaders.

Held last week as part of Rabobank’s Farm2Fork Summit at Cockatoo Island in Sydney, the FoodBytes! event saw eight finalists chosen from a field of international applicants pitch their business idea on the main Summit stage to more than the 1000 delegates in attendance.

Established in the United States in 2015, this was the first FoodBytes! event to be held in Australia.

As the Judges’ Choice Award winner, Sprout Kitchens were singled out for their industry creativity, sustainable practices, growth potential and social innovation. They were also congratulated by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima of The Netherlands who attended some of the Summit as part of a State Visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Sprout Kitchens co-founder James Jordan is excited about the win and has big plans for the popular platform that has only been running for six months.

“What started as a concept earlier this year and was launched to the market 12 weeks later, has already received good traction in the marketplace,” Mr Jordan said.

“We’re basically a marketplace for kitchen space, which sees us find cafés and kitchens with underutilised space to rent out to other food businesses looking for commercial kitchens.”

The concept came to Mr Jordan through a previous business start-up.

“I started a business delivering on-demand burritos around Sydney,” he said, “and the way we were doing that was by renting out café kitchens at night time to manage the logistics of that business.

“We came to realise that the café space was really the most valuable part of our business so we decided to build a platform where we could aggregate that kitchen space and then other people could build their own food businesses off our platform.”

Manuel Gonzalez, Rabobank North America Head of Start-Up Innovation and Founder of FoodBytes! said the entrepreneurial multiplying effect of Sprout Kitchens was an aspect that appealed to the judges.

“What Sprout Kitchens will be able to do with their platform is enable new entrepreneurs to find a way of developing their product in a professional and safe environment,” Mr Gonzalez said.

“Currently there are food businesses developing their product at home without the equipment they need, but with this service they can hire a kitchen, even for a few hours if they need it.

“There is a need around the world for services like this, where there is better use of assets and I see plenty of opportunities for scalability of this product.”

The Sprout Kitchens team is also excited about the future Mr Jordan said, and has been focussing on strategic partnerships to help.

“Finding available kitchen space has not proved difficult, particularly when we explain our process of vetting customers and providing insurance,” he said, “and we currently have 45 kitchens signed-up with plenty of opportunity for more.

“Our challenge now is to reach people who want to use our space so we have started to partner with Deliveroo and other similar business that can help us in a one-to-many strategy to reach these businesses in a meaningful way.

“Within the next 12 months we hope to have a presence across the east coast of Australia and we will then look to expand globally.”

As the Judges’ Choice Award winner Sprout Kitchens receive a six-month mentoring program facilitated by McCarthy Mentoring.

The FoodBytes! People’s Choice Award, as voted on by delegates of the Farm2Fork Summit was awarded to AgriWebb – a software company providing end-to-end farm management solutions. Incorporating ‘real-time’ record keeping, a mapping service and livestock analysis features, the software developed for farmers aims to simplify data collection for improved management decision-making.

 

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media Contacts
Denise Shaw | Head of Media Relations, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand | denise.shaw@rabobank.com | 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525

Skye Ward | Media Relations Manager, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand | skye.ward@rabobank.com | 02 4855 1111 or 0418 216 103

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