2019 was a tremendously important year for agri-foodtech in Europe, considering the fact that the investment in the sector practically doubled, rising from 1.1 billion in 2018 to 2.5 billion Euros as stated by Five Seasons Ventures in their last report. Undoubtedly, an excellent result showing that even in Europe there's a willingness to break the status quo and embrace innovation in the agrifood sector.
With such conditions we can absolutely predict 2020 will be a hot year for agrifood innovation, with so many startups that will grow by hitting the market and generating revenue, making both founders and investors happy.
RAISED AND RAISING
In the year 2019 we witnessed so many interesting investment rounds with a huge amount of money invested and the top reached by 125m Round C closed by french insect farm Ynsect and the 100m Round B closed by German indoor farming Infarm.
As a kind and patriotic soul, I would like to mention the rounds closed by Italian startups xFarm (agritech) and Cortilia (digital retail) which raised respectively 3 and 8.5 million Euros. Another honourable mention is Soonapse (agritech) recently invited to Agriscape in Abu Dhabi.
Once filed the great investment round closed in 2019, what will we see in 2020? What awesome projects will we watch by these startups thanks to the raised money? And which other startups will raise money during the year? Besides well known European projects, I would like herewith to give my opinion about the startup that will rock more in 2020, 1 for each country for 10(+1) European countries, from the Mediterranean sea to the cold North.
I intentionally took out a cell-based startup that I discussed in this article. Surely the future is theirs, but not the next one.
ITALY: MIND THE GUM (NEWTRITION) AND JOY FOOD (PLANT-BASED)
A little exception to my country. Both startups are raising funds and in 2020 they aim to consolidate on the Italian market and expand definitively on the European one.
Mind The Gum’s vision is pretty ambitious. Exactly as Red Bull in ‘90 created the need and the market for energy drinks, they want to craft the so-called market for mind gum: food supplement in chewing gum to boost mind energy.
More than on a heterogeneous and passionate team, Mind the Gum can rely on a great partner and testimonial such as world superstar and soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic who decided to join the project after tasting the product.
"For 2020 - it says Giorgio Pautrie, co-founder and CEO - we want to consolidate on the italian market and start the international expansion. We are sure that reputation and popularity of Ibrahimovic will help to push further the project.
I already wrote about and interviewed Joy Food in a previous article. Step by step, Alberto is adding bricks on his wall. Recently two important and reliable advisors joined the startup team and Food Evolution products are being successfully displayed at the Metro in Germany. On the other side, the mission in Italy is pretty hard and we are trying hard to build awareness on plant-based products. But we are on the right path.
SWITZERLAND: AGROSUSTAIN (AGRITECH)
With an high job of agronomic and agrotechnical engineering, Agrosustain guys have been able to isolate natural antifungal compounds originating from broadly present plants, creating Agrostore, a product to be used on fruits and veggies to delay the spoilage, reducing the waste with no negative impact on human health.
During the 2019 they have been carried on some interesting pilot projects and in 2020, once the round will be closed, Agrosustain will be ready to expand on the market, going on with the registration of the product in selected countries.
FRANCE: VITALINE (NEWTRITION)
Sébastien and Alexis, the two founders of Vitaline, have a hard mission: consolidate and expand their business in a market already dominated by behemoths like Soylent, Huel and Feed, and Foodspring recently acquired by Mars. Nothing is impossible of course, with a deep commitment and the encouragement by all of us, ça va sans dire.
Here's Sébastien's thought: "We are strong believers that consumers are getting more educated and pickier on nutrition. Our bet is on quality and nutrition, we want our products to do good."
SPAIN - TAPP WATER (WATERTECH)
Water plastic bottles is a tremendous global issue, one of the most discussed at the table of sustainability. Tapp Water aims to contribute in solving this problem by eliminating the need to buy bottles, thanks to a filter to be placed directly on the tap and a subscription for the replacement cartridges. So, a 2020 with more tap water and less plastic bottles.
PORTUGAL: OCEANO FRESCO (AGRITECH)
Satisfy the growing demand for sustainable protein with clams? Why not. That’s is exactly the aim of Oceano Fresco, which is developing a biomarine center (incl. hatchery) and an off-shore farm to improve, grow and harvest clams.
Seed production and off-Shore aquaculture is very capital intensive and Oceano Fresco has been able to close a 2,7m Round A in November, reaching the total of 7,5 millions raised (source Agfunder). we reached Bernardo Ferreira de Carvalho, founder and CEO for a short quote: “Oceano Fresco is building the first, fully integrated, systematic, scalable and science-based aquaculture operation for the production of environmentally sustainable and nutritious bivalve species”.
UK: DRYGRO (AGRITECH)
Soy is probably the most criminalized crop in the world, not without reasons. The world needs even more and the land is even less. Basing on this principle Sean Peters and his team founded Drygro, specialized in breeding Lemna also known as “Water Lentil”, a plant that can substitute perfectly the soy in animal feeding but with a much lower environmental impact. During the 2019 Drygro closed a 1,4m round A and there are great plans for the 2020
“We are delighted to work with these investors to further DryGro’s progress towards commercial-scale production of sustainable protein,” DryGro’s CEO, Sean Peters, said. “This funding marks an important step towards DryGro’s contribution to global food security, and particularly to food production that is resilient to climate change.”
GERMANY: BELLA&BONA (FOOD DELIVERY)
What would you think about the best food of the world prepared in a dark kitchen and delivered on B2B basis to the comfort of your office? That’s Bella&Bona, translated as “Nice&Good,” the startup founded in Munich by Nicolò and Matteo, two Italian guys with a bank background and an innate passion for good food. They plan to open a round A during 2020 to bring the German lunch break to the next level.
SWEDEN: ECOBLOOM (HOME FARMING)
Ecobloom is a Stockholm-based AgriTech company developing AI-powered micro farms for households, restaurants, cafes and offices. They empower people to grow fresh and organic food more locally by combining the power of nature with the beauty of technology. With the EcoGarden - a fully automated and app-compatible miniature aquaponics system, users are able to monitor and control the whole growing process right from their phones. A new and revolutionary way of growing food at home, while being immersed in the growing process while learning about sustainable farming in a fun and interactive way.
Hamza Qadoumi, founder and CEO awarded as Sweden's Young Entrepreneur 2019 says: "Our mission is to help create a better and more sustainable world for future generations. We went to empower people with the tools to grow smarter, eat better and live healthier. Creating a new generation of urban farmers."
FINLAND: PAPTIC (ECO-MATERIALS)
This Finnish startup aims to contribute to fighting plastic bags thanks to an innovative material called Paptic Tringa that combines print quality paper, durable non-wovens and versatility of textiles. Paptic is being closed as Round A, for a 2020 with less plastic and dedicated to sustainability.
Tuomas Mustonen, co-founder and Ceo shares its thoughts: “The interest from the big brands towards Paptic makes us humble, but it also sets a huge pressure on us to increase the availability of Paptic materials.”
ICELAND: ATMONIA (AGRITECH)
The patented process developed by Atmonia allows for the production of ammonia fertilizers, directly on the field, using only water and solar energy with zero CO2 emission where it is needed and and when it is needed. The startup and the team are growing steadily and 2020 aims to be particularly hot, even in the extreme north.
Last but not least, even if it's not exactly Europe and the choice has been hard as the country can rely on awesome agrifood - tech ecosystem.
ISRAEL: WASTELESS (FOOD WASTE)
Wasteless developed an interesting solution that uses Artificial Intelligence to reduce food waste; their algorithm in fact calculates the optimal discount of fresh products as the expiration date gets closer. I had the chance to follow them closely during the first edition of the FoodTech Accelerator in Milan. Full price for longer expiring products, or discounted for those expiring sooner? Thanks to Wasteless, that's now a customers' choice.
"Cutting down food waste in supermarkets by almost 90% while pushing profits was only part of our success in Europe and the US. Most importantly, we made retailers understand that technology enables a shopping experience that today's customers are looking for, especially when it has a sustainable impact such as avoiding food being wasted." says Tomas Pasqualini, Head of Global Operations.
Do you know some of these startups? What do you think about them?
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