- A new global database, which went public Monday, is designed to assist innovative food and agriculture startups with finding early-stage resources such as incubators and accelerator programs to help them grow.
- Users navigate through the system to narrow down what they need and from where using its current total of 131 resources offering access to possible funding, expertise and partners.
- The new digital tool — free to users — was created as a joint project between AgFunder, an online investment platform based in New York, and AgThentic, a food system innovation consulting network based in Australia.
Agrifood startups may have solid ideas, but it's often a challenging path from initial plans to making them happen. That's where accelerators come in: To support early-stage food system ventures at critical development points with business development help, mentors and a network of potential investors.
The new database is organized into four basic steps. If someone has a CPG concept and wants to pitch at a one-time event to connect with possible investors, he or she would choose that sector in the database and then pick "Pitch Event." The system then asks where the startup is located and, if the individuals are willing to travel to California, could match them with FoodFunded, an investor and entrepreneurial fair based in San Francisco.
Alternatively, users can skip the four steps and simply browse all 131 resources currently in the system.
Startups can review and rate programs they've taken part in to help others navigate the growing list, Burwood-Taylor said. The database will be updated as new resources are identified.
Nolet told Food Dive there are some agrifood resources available on TechCrunch and elsewhere, but "there's nothing like this for startups that we know of." Future steps might include mapping the startups and investors and work on branding the ecosystem.
"There is definitely more work we can do with startups giving feedback about what's working and what's not, especially as more corporations get involved and are understanding what leverage can be gained," she said.
In an article Nolet and Burwood-Taylor co-wrote about agritech accelerators, they describe how an increasingly crowded field of support options can make it complicated for startups to navigate the landscape and help entrepreneurs get off the ground and into the market.
"Agritech Accelerators: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," which appeared on AgFunder News about a year ago, summarizes survey results from 13 startups which had participated in nine accelerators. Eleven of the 13 identified food or agritech as a focus sector. The article discusses four key areas in which accelerators operate — terms, network, program and location. It recommends what startups should look for (the good), when to think twice (the bad), and when to run for the hills (the ugly).
Agrifood tech is defined as the "small but growing segment of the startup and venture capital universe that’s aiming to improve or disrupt the global food and agriculture industry," according to a recent piece by Burwood-Taylor.
"Globally, food and agriculture (agrifood) is a $7.8 trillion industry, responsible for feeding the planet and hiring well over 40% of it," she wrote. "It is also responsible for a large portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions; agriculture alone contributes to around one of third of all carbon emissions, without counting the contribution of supply chain processes before it reaches the consumer, such as food processing, transportation, and retail."