12 of the Most Relevant Foodtech / Agtech Incubators and Accelerators
Why join a foodtech accelerator or one of the blossoming agtech incubators? Startups face a myriad of challenges that range from capital to general exposure in terms of penetrating the market, experience and expertise, regardless of whatever industry they are in. Growing an idea into a fully-fledged business isn’t a walk in the park, and new companies will need to take advantage of all the available resources at their disposal to make the journey less challenging. An increase in the number of business incubators and accelerators globally is a clear indication of the growing need for giving support to startups.
Disruption of the food and agriculture industry
The Third Green Revolution, also referred to as Agriculture 2.0, is a revolution that has taken over the food and agriculture industry, thanks to the global rise in need for food security. Startups based in foodtech and agtech face challenges just like other startups. Despite this, the revolution in the industry is partly attributed to such startups. It’s the financial and professional support from incubators and accelerators that have made it possible.
Europe is among the continents at the forefront of realizing the revolution, with new startups that have introduced new technologies in the food and agricultural sector. Hence the growing number of agtech incubators. Across Europe and on a global scale, there are companies helping startups through research and innovation. Here’s a comprehensive list of such companies:
Top 12 of Agtech/Foodtech Incubators and Accelerators in Europe
Based in Zurich with some of its verticals in Basel Switzerland, Kickstart Accelerator is one of Europe’s multi-corporate accelerators. They accept startup applications not just from Switzerland but also from around the world. The startups they work with cut across a number of industries, the main 6 verticals being Food, Robotics & Smart Systems, FinTech, Healthcare, Smart Cities and EdTech. Although, they also work with startups outside the six verticals. Importantly, all the startups must fulfill their stated requirements and pass their selection criteria to join one of these support ecosystems, e.g. the agtech incubators.
They have an 11-week program that offers founders of startups CHF 15,000 seed funding with an opportunity to get a grant of CHF 25,000. Once the program concludes, startups get a chance to impress investors and other corporate leaders. Other than funding, startups have access to a shared working space, mentors, and potential industry partners. They usually don’t charge any fees or take any equity in return for funding.
Food Tech startups encouraged to apply are from various sectors that include Food production & processing, Retail, Food Waste or SaaS, CPG, and supply chain innovation among others. They look for new innovations in a rapidly changing with a high growth potential food industry.
Applications run from February 1 and are closed on April 30 Zurich time.
2. Startupbootcamp (SBC) FoodTech
Startupbootcamp (SBC) FoodTech is a global network of accelerators focussed in different industries. They have accelerators in 21 cities across globe specializing in different industries that include Foodtech, Smart Cities, Digital Health, CyberSecurity and Smart Energy among others. Foodtech is specific to Rome, Italy and Eindhoven, Netherlands. However, startups from other countries can also apply. They have a 3 month program where the selected startups get accelerated with the guide of first class investors, entrepreneurs and partners.
SBC Rome offers startups quite a number of perks that include; Mentorship programs, master classes, access to a shared working space, investors and corporate partners, funding of up to €50,000, an opportunity to attend events within the industry, and a 3-month alumni growth program among others. In return, they get a 6% stake in your company. Be sure to check out their key focus areas before applying. Applications are currently closed for now.
They offer the same perks and benefits as SBC Rome, however, they also give a €15,000 in cash for each team to cater for living expenses during the duration of the 3-month program. In return for funding, they get 8% equity in every startup.
This accelerator has professionals who are successful in different sectors of the internet. It’s based in Barcelona, Spain and provides mentoring aid and support by investing in startups that portray a chance for high growth.They select teams of 10-12 for a one-week program where they receive training from mentors. At the end of the week, their projects are handed to various stakeholders for assessments, where they stand a chance of winning a €150,000 in seed investment.
Those who win the award are enrolled in the SeedRocket Barcelona Accelerator program for a 3-month period. In the first schedule, a funding of between €20,000 and €120,000 is awarded. Then after the acceleration program, an additional €150,000 to €500,000 funding is possible during Investor’s’ Day.
Some of the partners include Sadabell, Campus Madrid, IEBS Business School, Media Digital Ventures and Cyberclick. The ongoing online application process is open throughout the year and reviews for applications are conducted every first week of the month.
The Campus of Entrepreneurs takes place in Barcelona in the month of May and in Madrid in the month of October or November.
This Bulgaria-based capital venture fund and accelerator offers to early startups support programs. It provides infrastructure, technical resources, mentoring and support for the first round of investments for over 50 companies. The investment comes in a consecutive double 3-month program for an equity stake of 8%.Being one the largest investors in Bulgaria, they have partnered with IBM, Microsoft, Google Amazon Telerik and TechStars to deliver technological solutions and infrastructure.
Investments are injected in gradual phases starting from pre-seed tickets of €25,000 to €100,000. Support to the companies also goes in incremental stages for their seed and series – a round funding totaling up to €1million.
The ongoing online application process is open throughout the year and reviews for applications to these agtech incubators batches are conducted every first week of the month.
5. Happy Farm
This is a Ukraine based business accelerator that gives business development services to startups and investments for further support. It has a team of international mentors from various business and IT oriented sectors. The main purpose of this accelerator program is to search for and commercialize new technologies and developments in the IT sector.The program starts by selecting 10 startups for a 1month internship program dubbed American Breakthrough, to attract partners and investors and to boost the growth of their businesses.Another acceleration program named Lion Farm for pre-seed IT startups is organized together with Group Venter fund. During this 6-week long program, the startups are offered coaching sessions, intensive workshops and individual consultations with mentors coming from the US and Europe.
An initial investment of a minimum $30,000 is offered for the share in the capital of the startup company. This is an open application program whereby the process starts with the submission of your project for assessment and analysis.
Some of the partners include Global Management Challenge, City State, Hatchers, A Telecom and Business People.
This is a US based program partnership between the Kirchner Food Fellowship and The Hunger Solutions Institute Universities Fighting World Hunger. It is an opportunity for engaging in investment choices on agriculture-oriented ventures by the elite student leaders groups from top North American Universities. The resulting ground-breaking technologies have provided long-term sustainable solutions for food security issues on a global scale.The program offers academic training and business mentorship as well as financial capital with the aim of accelerating the rate of the global deployment of their solutions. The solutions have the following attributes that make the deployment process feasible: low-cost, high-impact investment models and talent which deploy money and business resources to areas where they are most needed.Some of the partners are Kirchner Group, Kirchner Impact Foundation, Hunger Solutions Institute, Food Security Group and Bonaventure Capital. The application window for the 2017-2018 Fellowship program is now closed. Applications window for the 2018-2019 program will open next year in March 2018.
Applications window for the 2018-2019 program will open next year in March 2018.
INiTS is a top university business incubator, ranked 3rd in Europe and 11th globally among the Global Top 25 in 2015 by the Swedish Research Initiative UBI Index. Over 180 startups have benefitted from INiTS since 2002, others still in the incubation stage while some have achieved the Alumni status. They offer support to various industries including agriculture, food technology, and life sciences among others.Based in Vienna, Austria, INiTS is part of the Ministry of Infrastructure program, AplusB. It is a company co-owned by University of Vienna, the Vienna Business Agency, and the Technical University of Vienna. They have a rather extensive 18-month long incubation program offering startups mentorship, hands-on support, infrastructure such as workspace, funding and access to a network of experts, investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs. All these services are meant to assist startups to grow their innovative ideas and market them.
Application for startups is currently is open
AgFunder is the “premier marketplace for the most promising Agriculture and AgTech startups seeking to raise investment capital from an accredited investor.” Online based, it’s a leading platform for investors with interest in Agriculture, food, and Agtech. Startups make an application to AgFunder which then proceeds to call them to conduct due diligence, after which investors will be more comfortable to give support. It not only offers support through funding but also exposure to industry clientele, executives, professionals, and partners. Being online based, it has managed to offer its support on a global scale, and some of the European countries’ startups have benefitted.
Founded in 2010, Beta-i has been identified as one of the biggest non-profit innovations hub and entrepreneurship organization in Europe by the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in 2014. It also received recognition from Wired magazine as “the top incubator in town” in 2016. It’s based in Lisbon, Portugal. Beta-i offers assistance to not just new but already established businesses.They have received over 4000 applications from over 60 countries since inception. Having worked with over 600 startups in various programs, they offer support in terms funding, conducive work spaces, organizing community events, and investments summits such as Lisbon Investment summit. Beta-i has successfully launched acceleration programs which include the Lisbon Challenge, Beta start including quite a number of corporate accelerators.Thanks to its efforts of promoting innovations, Beta-i has made it possible for giant corporations such as Nestle and Airbus to work with startups. Some of the partners include the Portugal Government, Câmara Municipal de Lisbo, Turismo de Portugal, Microsoft, the European Commission, KIC InnoEnergy and Caixa Geral de Depósitos among others. They recently announced partnership with Tetuan Valley team for startup programs along the Iberian Peninsula.
Applications are currently closed.
Reimagine Food Prometheus, is a Barcelona based accelerator. 20 startups are identified that will undergo a 3 and a half month long training program that includes networking with leading food companies and experts in the industry. Startups also get knowledgeable on funding sources, working in a common space where various investors, food producers, and other entrepreneurs meet and experiment with new ideas.
This Lithuania based startup accelerator is an early seed stage fund that was founded in 2011. It supports innovative technology startups through the individually designed support investment program. This program is designed according to the specific business needs and scope. It gives seed funding, sufficient working space, support and mentorship from an international team of experienced mentors and expert guidance.The program has a second stage funding which is awarded to best performing teams after being selected for the subsequent round investment from StartupHighway and the venture capital partners.Investment: the chosen startups might be given up to €30,000 in seed funding, a value not exceeding a 7.5% equity stake according to the standard global practice.
The spring application window is now closed. The reviewing process is underway until the next hiring opening. Some of the partners are Funderful, Practica Capital, Vilnius Tech Park and Northtown Technology Park
The rate at which the number of foodtech and agtech incubators / accelerators is growing is frankly quite high, probably faster than the understanding of how they operate by many. However, this hasn’t stopped startups from accessing their services. They have positively influenced the entrepreneurial scene in all industries and brought about positive change. The food and agricultural technology industry in Europe is among those that have realized benefits from such accelerators. The Lisbon challenge, an acceleration program by Beta-i is one of the biggest globally. Based in central Lisbon it has benefitted a number of food tech and agtech startups across Europe. It’s vital that startups understand what motivation drives them before getting into a partnership, this will be significant in realizing the most benefits.
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