StartLife Accelerate


Validate your business and raise funding

StartLife Accelerate is the #1 acceleration program for Foodtech & Agtech startups to validate customer segments, raise funding and access leading corporates and investors in the industry. The best trainers, entrepreneurs, and Wageningen University & Research experts offer you the resources you need to scale up your company.

In March 2023, we will kick off the 10th edition of StartLife Accelerate. The program is open to promising agrifoodtech startups from all over the world.  The program can be attended (almost) fully online, though we also provide opportunities to join sessions in person. At least one team member is expected to be present in person at the Demo Day.

Interested? Make sure to apply by 2 January, 2023!

About StartLife Accelerate 

StartLife Accelerate is a 12-week (online) program for the most promising food & agtech startups, that offers pre-seed funding, business support and access to leading corporates and investors. The StartLife Accelerate curriculum addresses what is crucial to validate your business, attract funding and grow your company.

The end of the program is celebrated with a festive Demo Day. On this day you’ll present your startup to a wide and international audience of investors, corporates, partners and other stakeholders from the StartLife community. If you want to know what to expect, have a look at the Demo Day of our Spring 2022 cohort.

Our offer to startups Startups commit to
1) €25,000 pre-seed loan after successful completion of the program. After validating your growth strategy you are eligible for another €50,000. If you are a true high flyer then we might even offer you a total loan up to €250,000. 1) Participation with at least two founders for the full duration of the program
2) The connection to industry experts, WUR researchers, corporates, and investors 2) Presence during several training weeks, workshops and events
3) High-quality curriculum addressing team, product, customer validation and investor-readiness

Who can apply?

StartLife Accelerate is open to startup teams working on technologies and new business models in the food, agriculture or bio based economy.  We are particularly interested in highly innovative technologically driven solutions that have a prototype or MVP and have the ambition to scale and grow fast.

Our criteria for entry are as follows:

  • You are active in foodtech, agtech or the bio agtech
  • You are addressing a relevant social, health or environmental need
  • You are developing a highly innovative technology or product
  • You are beyond the idea phase: you have a prototype or MVP of your product
  • You have at least two founders able to participate in the curriculum
  • You have the ambition to scale and grow fast

Step into the footsteps of our startups alumni, among which Orbisk (NL), Zympotiq (FR), Sundew (DK) and Rival Foods (NL), to name but a few. If you like, just check all 75 startups that have benefited from StartLife Accelerate so far.

How are startups selected?

From all applications, a group of about 15 startups are invited to the ‘Selection Day’, which can be attended remotely or in person. On this day the startups present themselves and are scored in three separate sessions, concerning the following categories:

  1. Team,
  2. Product & Technology and
  3. Market & Customers

The best scoring startups (6-10) are offered a spot in the StartLife Accelerate program.

Program timeline

  • 2 January: Pre-Applications Closing
  • 9 January: Full Applications Closing
  • 1 February: Selection Day (Save the Date!)
  • 6 March: Program Kick Off
  • 24-25 May: F&A Next
  • 22 June: Demo Day

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Pre-Application entail and how long does it take to complete it?
In the pre-application we ask for some basic information about your startup, which you’re likely to provide in 5-10 minutes. We will then run a quick check to see if you are eligible for the program. If we feel you’re a potential match, you will be invited to fill out the full application. If we don’t see a match, we’ll have saved you the time and effort to fill out the full application form.

What does the Full Application entail and how long does it take to complete it?
The full application includes approximately 30 questions. The goal is to get a thorough understanding of the technology, the stage of the company, team, financial needs, milestones etc. To answer all questions properly you will need 45-60 min. Please note that the pitch deck, business model canvas and financial projections need to be submitted as well. If these are not ready and up to date then that will take additional time to prepare.

Are we eligible to enter the program if we are not based in the Netherlands?
Yes, you are. However, only startups that are registered in the Netherlands are eligible for a StartLife loan.

What is the commitment expected from the startups?
You can attend the program remotely or in person. For building close relationships with our partners and mentors, attending selected events in person is advised. At least one team member is expected to be present in person at the Demo Day.

What is the minimum number of participants per team?
In order to be eligible for the StartLife Accelerate program, you must have a minimum of two fully dedicated (founding) team members that participate for the full duration of the program.

When will we be notified if we are invited to the Selection Day?
After the application deadline, the startups will be notified within several days whether they are invited to the selection day.

When will we be notified about the outcome of the Selection Day?
The results of the selection day will be communicated to the startups within two days after the selection day.

What does the review board do and who is on it?
At the end of the program a small team of investors and financiers will judge if the participating startups have made significant progress and if they are eligible for receiving a (first) pre-seed loan of €25,000.

What our startup alumni have to say 

“Startlife’s support and advice helped us get over early roadblocks. Iamus would not exist today without StartLife’s support and continued guidance.”
Shane Kiernan – founder Iamus Technologies (IE)

“In 12 weeks I went from just the technology and concept into a real company with a clear business plan.”
Birgit Dekkers PhD – co-founder Rival Foods (NL)

“The program brought us to a lot of relevant stakeholders that provided invaluable feedback. And also the support of mentors was absolutely great.”
Ying Shao – co-founder Plantik Biosciences (FR)

Still questions about StartLife (Accelerate )?

Did we not answer all of your questions yet? Our colleagues Jorien Hattink and Samuel Rapolu are more than willing to answer any question you may still have. Please show us your interest in StartLife Accelerate via our application form.