Rabobank is kicking off the 2021 Pitch programme for FoodBytes!, the bank’s global food and agriculture innovation platform, which drives connections and collaboration between startups, corporate leaders, investors and farmers to implement solutions to food system challenges.

From now until Sunday 16 May, Kiwi agtech, food tech and consumer food and beverage startups are invited to apply for selection to present at the global virtual pitch competition in November.

FoodBytes! Pitch is an annual multi-week programme helping food and agriculture startups from throughout the world validate and grow their businesses, and their impact, through global industry exposure, tailored mentorship sessions, connection with corporates and investors, pitch refinement, industry awareness and recognition.

“We’re scouting for startups with validated business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust, diverse team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset that have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain,” said said Anne Greven, Head of F&A Innovation, Rabobank.

Nathalie Gibson

Nathalie Gibson, Head of Innovation, Knowledge & Networks at Rabobank.

Nathalie Gibson, Head of Innovation, Knowledge & Networks, who is leading the search for startups across Australasia, including New Zealand, added: “New Zealanders value innovation and we know there are many progressive food and agriculture startups in the country.

“In 2017, New Zealand company Regen pitched at FoodBytes! and its business has gone from strength to strength and in September 2020 it was acquired by CropX, a global soil sensing and agricultural analytics leader. We encourage New Zealand startups to engage with FoodBytes! and the Rabobank global network, we want to support Kiwi entrepreneurs throughout the stages of their growth.”

Rabobank is seeking startups ranging from seed to Series B that are working on innovative food and agriculture product or technology with a demonstrated product market fit in the following areas, which are aligned with corporate and investor member priorities:

  • Sustainable supply chains: blockchain / traceability, livestock management, animal feed efficiency, meat processing automation, byproduct upcycling, commodities processing, shelf-life extension, clean food processing
  • Improved resource management: carbon sequestration & reduction, precision irrigation, food loss mitigation, sustainable packaging, manufacturing robotics, on-farm automation, ag biotechnology, precision ag & AI, indoor farming
  • Next frontier of nutrition: functional ingredients (ie. aging, mental clarity, performance, immunity), food biotechnology/fermentation, cellular agriculture, grain & sugar alternatives, meal prep/home cooking simplification, personalised nutrition, consumer wearables & data gathering

This year’s applicants will be vying for a coveted spot among the class of 45 startups – made up of 15 companies in each of three sectors: agtech, food tech and consumer food and beverage.

Following an in-depth mentoring and coaching program, 15 of the 45 will be chosen to present at the platform’s live-streamed public competition on Wednesday 10 November. At the finale, one startup in each sector will be crowned a winner and walk away with prizes. Following FoodBytes! Pitch participation, all 45 startups will have access to the FoodBytes! network of more than 350 alumni entrepreneurs for connections and guidance to help drive their businesses forward.

New Zealand startups interested in FoodBytes! Pitch 2021 can visit www.foodbytesworld.com/apply to learn more and apply by Sunday 16 May. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday 8 September.

New Zealand corporates, investors and farmers interested in learning more about joining the FoodBytes! community can email FoodBytes@rabobank.com

FoodBytes by Rabobank