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Europe’s top agrifood startups announced at Venture Summit

€300,000 awarded to EIT Food Accelerator Network startups to fast-track agrifood innovations

18 Nov 2020

EIT Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), today announced the top three startups transforming the food system from the EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN), which have each received €100,000.

The winners were announced at the first ever virtual EIT Food Venture Summit, on 17 and 18 November 2020, where international investors and corporates were matched with over 130 high-impact startups and scaleups to explore commercial partnerships and investment opportunities.

After being selected from a group of 60 agrifood technology businesses, the winning startups from the EIT Food Accelerator Network, one of EIT Food’s Business Creation programmes, were awarded the funding to accelerate growth after demonstrating pioneering approaches to future-proofing Europe’s food system.

Benoit Buntinx, Director of Business Creation at EIT Food, says:

“At EIT Food, we believe that innovation holds the key to fixing our food system so that it is healthier and more sustainable for all. These startups and scaleups represent the inclusivity and innovation of the EIT Food community and embody the important role entrepreneurs will play if we are to accelerate the transformation of the food system.”

The EIT Food Accelerator Network is a four-month programme delivered at six innovation hubs across Europe. By participating, startups build skills and gain exposure to their relevant markets, customers, investors and media. The programme provides access to experts and partners with facilities such as labs, agricultural land and pilot sites.

The three winning agrifood startups, each receiving €100,000, are:

Odd.Bot (the Netherlands)

Odd.Bot is the creator of an alternative solution to manual and chemical weeding. The company has developed the 'Weed Whacker', an intelligent mechanical in-row weeding robot that can detect and distinguish weeds from crops and eliminate weeds autonomously. The solution can be utilised via its Robot-as-a-Service offering and can be hired to clean fields.

Martijn Lukaart, Founder & CEO of Odd.Bot, says:

“We are honoured to be the winner of the Food Accelerator Network and it really strengthens our belief that we are on the right track. This recognition from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology will surely help boost the number of sign-ups even further for our recently launched 'Trailblazer Program' for which we will utilise most of the prize money - money that we will now double by re-investing in our current funding round, as our lead investor will match the funding being raised. Thank you EIT Food!”

Arborea (UK)

Arborea has developed a breakthrough cultivation system, the BioSolar Leaf, which harnesses sunlight to mimic photosynthesis and facilitate the growth of microscopic plants to produce healthy food. The solution generates breathable oxygen and reduces carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change.

Julian Melchiorri, Founder & CEO of Arborea, comments:

“We are so happy about this prize as it is a great endorsement of our team, technology and mission from global industry leaders. It will allow us to take a step closer to becoming a new, fresh dynamic entry to this industry, allowing the production of affordable healthy food ingredients and proteins in a carbon neutral way. We will use the prize money as bridge funding, which will make our current fundraising safer and our development more efficient going forward.”

The Mediterranean Food Lab (Israel)

The Mediterranean Food Lab develops naturally produced, plant-based flavour-bases impart rich meaty flavours for a wide range of meat replacement needs. The company’s fermentation methods transform low-cost commodities (such as grains & legumes) into delicious, nutritious, clean label products that are affordable and sustainable.

B.Z. Goldberg, CEO & R&D Director of the Mediterranean Food Lab, adds:

“We would like to thank EIT Food for this great opportunity. Winning this prize fund will enable us to hire a flavour chemist and buy equipment that is essential for our work. Plant-based diets will only work if they are simple, sustainable, healthy, trustworthy and delicious. That might sound obvious, but it’s actually revolutionary. We’re honoured to be part of that revolution."

Applications to join the EIT Food Accelerator Network and the other Business Creation programmes will open early next year and close in Spring 2021. Register your interest and find out more here.

For further information, or to set up interviews with the startups, please contact:

Jenny Briggs
T: +44 (0) 7542 566437

Sam Mehmet
T: +44 (0) 7794 395090

About EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector. The initiative is made up of a consortium of key industry players, startups, research centres and universities from across Europe. It is one of eight Innovation Communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.

EIT Food aims to collaborate closely with consumers to develop new knowledge and technology-based products and services that will ultimately deliver a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for all European citizens.

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