The 5 most prominent food and ag-tech investors in Israel…
Founded in 2011 by Gideon Soesman and Allen Greenberg, GreenSoil Investments was developed in order to provide food and ag-tech startups who are ready for the global market the opportunity to scale up and expand. As Soesman explains, “We are witnessing a massive investment in early stage food and agriculture startups in Israel, therefore we established GreenSoil Investments to help those companies achieve global reach.” With the understanding that there are tremendous opportunities in this sector, Greensoil Investments is interested in investing in companies that seek to add value to the food and agricultural chain. GreenSoil Investments is specifically scouting companies that have a product that creates more efficiency and flow across the food chain. Being one of the largest investors in Israeli food and ag-tech innovation, to date GreenSoil has invested in six thriving startups, including Tipa, producers of fully compostable food packaging and Rootitly, a breeding company that focuses on the plant-organ responsible for supplying nutrients to the plant. When filtering through food and ag-tech startups, GreenSoil Investments looks for companies that have a consistent story that encompasses a scalable, problem solving technology, that is already generating revenues.
Founded in 2013, by Jon Medved, founder of Israel Seed Partner and one of the most prolific entrepreneurs and investors in Israel, OurCrowd is a global equity crowdfunding platform, developed specifically for accredited investors. For their investment process, OurCrowd utilizes a team of seasoned investors to discover companies with market potential. Once they have narrowed potential companies, they invest their own capital and provide a platform for their community of over 20,000 investors to invest for equity. However, OurCrowd does not only raise funding, they provide post investment support and mentorship for each of their startups, and serve on the board of many of them. Although OurCrowd invests in a wide range of companies, in 2015 they launched a dedicated early-stage fund called OurCrowd First, that focuses primarily on seed-stage investments in technology companies. The fund invests in a range of technology sectors, but one of the fund’s investment focus is on food and agricultural startups that are ready to tackle the world’s enormous food waste and preservation quandary. Their current investments include Taranis, the first crop disease proliferation modeling technology for large-scale farmers, as well as FreshKeep, sensor driven consumer food containers aimed at reducing food waste in households. “When we look at potential companies to invest in, we are looking for companies that represent large opportunities in large markets; potential category leaders in their space powered by deep enabling technology.”
Combining the concept of “startup nation” and Israel’s eminence in agricultural technology, AgriNation was founded in 2016 to provide round A investment in companies that create breakthrough technology in agriculture and agri-food. Whether logistics, packaging, or ingredients, AgriNation seeks to invest in companies that find a vacuum in the food chain and seek to address it. “Israel sets the perfect stage for round A funding due to the support of the government and a number of incubators that provide food and ag tech startups the groundwork they need to develop.” Since it’s founding, AgriNation has invested in two companies including, NoBactra, a natural bacteria based formulation for use in agricultural as a bio-pesticide, bio-bactericide and bio-nematicides.
With combined experience in food science, food technology and medicine, the founding team of FoodLab Capital put their minds together to provide the necessary investment, guidance, and support in companies that are solving a range of food related issues. From resto-tech to plant based protein technology, FoodLab Capital has provided investment, leadership and support to several promising companies that aim to streamline and positively effect the food chain. Their current investments include, SimpleOrder, an automated inventory restaurant kitchen platform that aims to reduce waste and digitize the entire back of house operations and DouxMatok, breakthrough technology that will enable a significant reduction of sugar and salt consumption in traditional high sugar foods.
The Kitchen Hub
Every two years the Israeli government grants funds to create an incubator for companies in the field of medicine, technology, and security. For the first time in the country’s history, the grant was given to Israel’s first food tech incubator developed under the Strauss Cooperation. The Kitchen Hub provides new and upcoming startups with half a million in seed funding, an operational space and a team of industry experts to get these early stage companies up and running. Currently FlyingSpark, a company that creates insect protein powder and MyFavorEats, a recipe personalization software for dietary restrictions and preferences, are two of the six companies on their docket. The Kitchen Hub has not only been instrumental in providing the tools for food tech startups, with a series of meetups and events, The Kitchen has been formidable in bringing the food innovation scene of Israel to the forefront.
In our recent post we discussed the history of agricultural and innovation in Israel, to explain why today Israel is one of the leading countries in food tech development and growth. However at the root of Israel’s innovation, is the leaps and strides the country has made in developing varieties of produce that are more effective and conducive for cultivation.
With the development of the Agricultural Research Organization, a government institute devoted agricultural research and growth, Israel has made milestones in the field, bringing new varieties to the table. Varieties that often excel in flavor, longevity and survival. Here are four fruit varieties that exemplify Israel’s contribution to the world of agriculture.
The Jaffa orange was the the agricultural product that put the region on the map. The shamuti orange which originated in Asia, became a staple crop in the region for it’s thick shell and its sweet interior. Recently, to replicate the benefits of the orange, the Jaffa Orri mandarin was developed by the wing of the ARO known as the Volcani Research Center. This mandarin has made an impact in the citrus industry as it boasts an “excellent, fresh and sweet flavor” with a minimal number of seeds. Most importantly, the long shelf lives of these mandarins, make it the perfect fruit for export.
Technology isn’t always about reinventing the wheel. In fact, in many industries today, we are recognizing that breaking away from the rhythm of nature is destructive and causing substantial damage to our environment. For example, using fossil fuels, a process that converts coal and petroleum with heat to generate electric power, has resulted in prevalent amounts of greenhouse gas and carbon monoxide emissions into our atmosphere, while simultaneously eroding our land and polluting our water. We are seeing now that the practice of working against nature, has proved fruitless, and that working with the Earth’s own power sources is the key to sustainable growth and evolution. With this in mind, alternative energy sources using solar and wind energy, has become the solution to alleviate the environmental damage.
Enhancing the resources in nature is also extending to the modern food and agricultural industry. In the past, the concentration of agricultural and food technology was on how to use synthetic solutions to beat nature, today companies are finding ways to use technology to enhance what nature has to offer. Here are three companies that exemplify this idea in a way that is changing our practices and fixing our food systems.
For as long back as agriculture goes, farmers have been cross breeding seeds to produce new varieties of fruits and vegetables that would contain the best features from each variety. However, until now, this practice has been based on observation with little or no data to guide it. In order to create a more efficient and effective seed breeding practice, Equinom has found a method to collect essential farm data, process the data with proprietary algorithms, in order to produce new varieties of seeds with desirable traits. Their technology doesn’t rely on seed engineering like GMOs, because they only breed seeds with qualities that already exist in the environment.
Bill Gates has claimed that the plant protein movement is the “future of food,” reports show that plant-based foods outpaced the growth of the whole food and beverage industry by 3.5%, and Mintel has found that the vegetarian market is a 2.8 billion/year industry. Love it or hate it, plant based foods are making their grand debut, and thanks to modern science, these highly functional proteins are replacing meat in a substantial way. Recently, Beyond Meat, a meat alternative, that tastes, feels and bleeds like meat, has come to the mass market across Safeway stores in California, Nevada and Hawaii.
Plant based proteins come in number varieties. In this article we take a deeper look at the meat alternative choices, how each is serving a need for protein replacements and what challenges need to be solved in order to bring them to the mass market.
What’s the difference between different insect proteins and which will be the most viable for consumers?
It used to be that animal protein was a luxury that we could afford ourselves occasionally, however in recent years, with the advent of industrial agriculture, eating animal protein has become the norm and consumption is dramatically increasing yearly. In America alone, people are eating 198 pounds of meat per person per year.
As these numbers grow, it seems unforeseeable that we will be able to depend on livestock alone to meet the market demand for protein. This means that we will have to be open to alternative sources of protein, and of those insects seem one of the most viable.
Although, still taboo in the western world, according to the FAO Edible Insects: Future Prospects and Feed Security , twenty percent of the world’s population is already consuming insects.