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Why agrifood entrepreneurs are attending the EIT Food Venture Summit 2020

11 November 2020

The EIT Food Venture Summit brings together the changemakers that are futureproofing our food system. Find out why entrepreneurs are attending the 2020 virtual event.

EIT Food is working to make the food system healthier, trusted and more sustainable. To do this, we need new innovation and forward-thinking to come from high-impact agrifood startups and entrepreneurs. 

Qu Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), argues that "with only 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we need a fundamental change of mindset and remodelling of our business approaches" (1) - something agrifood entrepreneurs can drive forwards in the food sector. 

EIT Food supports and educates entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas into scalable businesses as they set out to create a sustainable, healthy and trusted food system that works for people and for the planet.

What is the Venture Summit? 

The EIT Food Venture Summit (17-18th November), now celebrating its third successful year, has evolved into a virtual event for 2020. At this event, the highest impact startups and entrepreneurs within the EIT Food community are given a platform to meet agrifood thought-leaders and investors and explore opportunities to scale their businesses. 

From the comfort of your own home or workplace, 2020’s virtual event will allow you to attend more sessions and presentations, network with more peers, and have the flexibility to structure the event in the way that best suits you. 

There are over 130 agrifood startups and 500 agrifood industry leaders anticipated to attend, with pitches from some of EIT Food’s leading entrepreneurs. Attendees will have access to our 3D virtual walkthrough marketplace where you can find out more about our Business Creation entrepreneurship programmes, visit 60 startup market stalls, set up 1-2-1 meetings with the entrepreneurs that form our amazing startup network, and explore opportunities in our six focus areas: 

  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Targeted Nutrition
  • Alternative Proteins
  • Digitalised Traceability
  • Circular Food Systems.

The startups that benefited from the Venture Summit 2019

EIT Food Business Creations entrepreneurship programmes resulted in a total investment of more than €91 million for successful startups in 2019. As a culmination of these programmes, the Venture Summit was hosted in Lisbon, Portugal where Orbem AI, uFraction8 and Trigger Systems were announced as the three winners of the 2019 EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN) programme, each receiving €100,000 of financial support (2). 

 

  • Orbem AI, based in Germany, is an AI-powered business whose non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology is aiming to prevent the unnecessary killing of billions of one-day-old male chicks in the poultry industry.
  • UK-based uFraction8 assists biomanufacturers to de-water and concentrate biomass to build sustainable and scalable systems. 
  • Trigger Systems, a Portugal-based company, provides a web platform to control systems for the automatic and efficient management of water and energy.

 

The finalists for the 2020 EIT FAN programme have now been selected and the winners will be announced at the Venture Summit on 18 November 2020. 

What are entrepreneurs saying about the Venture Summit 2020?

Engage with a huge agrifood network 

In the run up to the 2020 event, EIT Food Seedbed alumni and now member of the EIT FAN, Dr Lorenzo Conti from Crover, a company developing robotic devices to improve the efficiency of grain and crop storage, said that the Venture Summit “is a unique networking opportunity” and is looking forward to attending the 2020 virtual event. 

Lorenzo Conti, Crover

“The challenge to agriculture is that there is no one size fits all solution. Personally, I think the largest problem is that we are currently focused on increasing production to satisfy a growing demand while we still experience significant losses and waste in the food system. The focus should be on reducing those losses, making the food supply chain more experienced and efficient,” he said.

“For startups in the agrifood and agritech sectors, the EIT Food programmes are the best in Europe. The Venture Summit is the only place in the world where you can meet the entire EIT Food network at one time. If you are a company looking to engage with the network, the Venture Summit is the best place to do it.”

Learn more about Crover and other entrepreneurs in the EIT Food community on a recent episode of The Food Fight podcast.

Connect with leading corporates and secure investment 

Swiss DeCode, from EIT Food’s RisingFoodStars network, will also be attending the Venture Summit 2020. Based in Switzerland, Swiss DeCode helps farmers and food manufacturers to produce safe, sustainable and authentic food with its rapid on-site food safety DNA tests. 

The vision is to become the global standard for on-site food safety tests, which take only 30 minutes to complete compared to seven days for some existing laboratory tests. The device is designed to 1) save time, 2) prevent food waste by reducing the wait time for test results, and 3) ensure only authentic, safe food is entered into the food supply chain. 

“One of the biggest issues facing any startup is a lack of credibility - it can be difficult to form connections with the right people in large corporations,” said Swiss DeCode’s Brij Sahi.  “With EIT Food, these introductions were facilitated and personalised, and we were talking with some of the largest companies in Europe. Joining the programmes is the easiest way to be validated by the agrifood market.” 

“We attended the Venture Summit in Lisbon in 2019 where we met our lead investor for our series A, of which we are now in the process of closing. At this year’s virtual Venture Summit, we are looking for follow-on investors and we are hoping to meet more individuals to close our latest investment round.”

 

Join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn to find out more and use the hashtag #VentureSummit20 to engage with others attending the event. 

Accelerate your research with new partnerships 

Also attending the Venture Summit is EIT Food RisingFoodStar Eagle Genomics, a UK based startup which provides a data platform to allow the food industry to better understand the science of their food products. This sets out to enable the “digital reinvention of life sciences research and development” so that food and nutrition can be tailored to the individual. 

“In the future, open innovation will be even more important than it already is,” said Eagle Genomics’ Anthony Finbar. “This will have to be done on the basis of data sharing, and we are providing that mechanism as the orchestrator of ecosystems focusing on microbiome science.” 

“EIT Food has connected us with a whole range of enterprises and research partners in the food and ingredients space,” Anthony continued. “We are in an extraordinary, exciting and inspirational space, and liberating the understanding of microbiome science will be so important in solving some of the grand challenges of our age, from water supply and sustainable agriculture to climate change. EIT Food has given us an insight into the future of food that we would have never had otherwise.” 

“Join us at the Venture Summit to learn more about transformational agriculture, functional food and the future of our planet.”  

Learn more about Eagle Genomics in a recent episode of The Food Fight podcast (3) where Anthony gives an overview of how Eagle Genomics is using data to understand the health and environmental impact of microbiomes.


Listen Now:

How can you get involved?

The Venture Summit is taking place virtually on 17-18 November 2020. Register your interest and view the agenda here. You can also find additional materials and assets using our Venture Summit Digitial Toolkit, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #VentureSummit20.

Let's improve food, together. 

Further reading

Sources

  1. FAO: FAO launches Green Cities Initiative to help transform agri-food systems, end hunger and improve nutrition
  2. EIT Food: Winners announced for EIT Food Accelerator Network programme 2019 
  3. EIT Food: The Food Fight podcast: Spotlight: Eagle Genomics on data science 
EIT Food

About The Author: EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

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