We just closed applications to our 3rd Sustainable Food Solutions Challenge and are so thankful and impressed with the quality of startups. We had 484 applications from entrepreneurs who want to move forward and take part in tangible change.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
The food value chain accounts for c. 25- 30% of total Green House Gas emissions, and according to the IPCC, observed climate change is already affecting food security through increasing temperatures, changing rain patterns, and a greater frequency of some extreme events. Combining supply-side actions such as efficient production, transport, and processing with demand-side interventions such as modification of food choices, and reduction of food loss and waste, can reduce Green House Gas emissions, and help feed the planet’s projected 9 billion population in 2050.
MassChallenge believes startups and corporations can help this effort. Startups can play a unique role in bringing new disruptive ideas to the table. Corporations can play a critical role in scaling these ideas bringing benefits to society quickly.
MassChallenge Switzerland’s partners, Bühler, Nestlé, DSM, Givaudan, Louis Dreyfus Company, are the largest food producers in the world. They wanted to meet and collaborate with startups, so we naturally created the Sustainable Food Solutions Challenge.
This finds startups with proven solutions or technologies in the areas of sustainable food production and side-stream utilization. It then matches them to MassChallenge’s partners.
Participating startups can be from Seed to Series C+ funding and be from any geography. Partners will see data on all applications and be able to go into detailed discussions with startups.
This year, most common startup areas are Ag-tech, Alternative Proteins and Circular Economy.
The aim is for each partner to choose one startup to collaborate with and create a joint pitch about how the startups’ idea, when scaled by the partner, will feed the planet sustainably. Then, in April 2022, the 6 startups/ partner teams will present their joint solution to a panel of judges to select one winner.
HERE’S HOW THE STARTUPS RESPONDED THIS YEAR
484 startups applied, making this our most popular challenge. This exceeded expectations as we’d narrowed the scope versus the last 2 challenges. 80% of startups have products in the market, are ready to sell, or have an MVP – this indicates they are ready to collaborate without any acceleration.
On top 2/3rds of Startups say their solution has the potential to remove Million+ tons of GHG emissions showing that they can help partners feed the world sustainably.
Each partner has over 140 startups that have made a business case for them for collaboration. 1/3rd of the startups seek investment, 26% scaling up help, 20% a supplier/client relationship, and 12% testing/market validation.
THE CHALLENGE NEXT STEPS
Partners are reviewing applications and will be meeting with startups from 18th February. On 14th March, MassChallenge will announce the startup/partner collaborations; then partners and startups will prepare their joint pitches that will be judged on 28th April.
WHO ARE OUR FOOD PARTNERS?
To learn more about MassChallenge Switzerland go here.