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EIT Food’s partnership with Microsoft and Danone to accelerate AI startups to improve the food system together

28 February 2020 Headquarters, West, News EIT Food continues to broaden its community of people who care about food and its impact on our health and planet by partnering with Microsoft and Danone to select and accelerate 6 agrifood startups specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is a further step forwards in our mission to guide and accelerate pioneering innovations to solve the major challenges facing the food system.

EIT Food’s partnership with Microsoft and Danone to accelerate AI startups to improve the food system together

A world-class partnership to develop digital intelligence for healthy food and sustainable agriculture

This world-class partnership has been formed with Microsoft’s AI Factory based at Station F in Paris, the world’s largest startup campus, along with Danone, one of the world’s leading agrifood companies and an existing partner of EIT Food’s innovative agrifood community. The 3-month acceleration programme will focus on developing ‘responsible AI solutions’ for the agrifood sector, where EIT Food will be facilitating access to its community of leading agrifood startups.

What is the AI Factory for Agrifood accelerator?

A true start-up accelerator, the AI Factory for Agrifood is a co-innovation laboratory that will connect startups, the research world and key players across the food system. By joining all of these innovative people together, the AI Factory for Agrifood aims to encourage projects in the service of regenerative agriculture (e.g. soil health, animal welfare and support for farmers), sustainable food, waste reduction and supply chain optimisation. Agnès Van de Walle, Director of The Partner Entity of Microsoft France, explains that the worthy ambition of the programme is to “help develop digital intelligence for healthy food and sustainable agriculture”, which it is hoped will be achieved by developing leading startups’ expertise in artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

How startups will benefit from the AI Factory food Agrifood acceleration programme

The selected startups will benefit from genuine personalised support through the 3-month acceleration programme, with access to world-class companies, coaching and technology:

  • Microsoft will provide personalised support through its technological skills and services, sponsoring the startup’s application to its Microsoft for startups program and providing $25,000 of free access to its leading Azure platform. Microsoft will also connect the selected startups to its VC partners
  • Danone will give privileged access to their domain experts and their commercial network, as well as feedback and support throughout the process. Startups will also be able to test and refine their solutions under Danone’s demanding quality and performance conditions.
  • At the end of the programme, the startups will remain a Microsoft partner and will be automatically integrated into the AI Factory Community, with hosting at Station F (depending on availability)
  • There will be further potential for ongoing collaboration with the programme partners

Another great reason for entrepreneurs and startups to join the innovative EIT Food community

The opportunity to participate in the AI Factory for Agrifood acceleration programme is one of the many benefits of being part of the EIT Food startup community. We support entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey, providing expert mentoring, tailor-made entrepreneurship programmes and easy-to-access funding to enable them to launch, accelerate and scale their agrifood businesses.

  • Benoit Buntinx  
    Director of Business Creation for EIT Food

Early stage startups can apply to join our EIT Food Accelerator Network (FAN) and scaleups can apply to join our RisingFoodStars Association, where they can work together with corporates and academia to solve important problems affecting the food system.

The announcement of the 6 selected startups will be made on March 5th, 2020. More information on the AI Factory for Agrifood acceleration programme can be found here. To find out more about EIT Food’s entrepreneurship programmes and activities please see visit the startup section of our website.

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