Tag Archives: Partner

Horticoop And StartLife Invest In Emerging Horticulture Technologies

Image partnership Horticoop and StartLife including logosThe Dutch investment cooperative Horticoop has partnered up with StartLife to step up its investments in startups and scale-ups with emerging technologies for the horticulture sector.  Together we want to give a significant push towards sustainability in horticulture.

With a rapidly growing world population and increasing concerns for the health of our planet, horticulture is already a proven method for achieving climate-resilient, high-yield production whilst simultaneously minimizing environmental impact. Horticoop believes this method will be taken to even greater heights by adopting many of today’s emerging technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence and big data. Together with StartLife, the company wants to tap into the innovation capacity of startups that are working on applications of these new technologies in the horticulture business.

Masters of Greenhouses

Horticoop was founded in 1904 and has a rich history in the horticulture sector. In the past few years, the company has transformed from a traditional purchasing cooperative to a platform for investment, innovation and development. The company invests in, among others, Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) which entails crop production within a (partially) enclosed growing structure, such as a greenhouse, offering maximum protection from outdoor elements and providing optimal growing conditions.

"Concerns about global warming hence unpredictable weather patterns will amplify the need for CEA even more." ~ Wilco Schoonderbeek, Horticoop

Wilco Schoonderbeek, Horticoop’s Director Investments, points out that the Netherlands is a global leader in CEA. “It’s all about creating the perfect growing conditions for crops with the right amount of light, heat, water and nutrients. We currently have a portfolio of companies that provide solutions in these areas. Concerns about global warming and thus unpredictable weather patterns will amplify the need for CEA even more.”

“We believe startups that are working on emerging technologies can provide fitting solutions. With StartLife being the longest-running and leading agrifoodtech accelerator in Europe, they are in an excellent position to connect us with the international startup community“.

Emerging technologies

Photo of Jan Meiling (StartLife) and Wilco Schoonderbeek (Horticoop)Photo: Jan Meiling (Managing Director, StartLife) and Wilco Schoonderbeek (Director Investments, Horticoop)

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, believes Horticoop’s long history in the horticulture sector makes them uniquely positioned as an investor.

“Horticoop knows and understands the real challenges,  requirements and pitfalls of the sector in order to successfully deploy its capital. In addition to potential investments, startups will greatly benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the growers who are members of Horticoop. Getting early feedback and insights from the professionals who are to adopt the new technology can amplify the startup’s product results and accelerate successful implementation,” Meiling said.

"Horticoop’s long history in the horticulture sector makes them uniquely positioned as an investor." ~ Jan Meiling, StartLife

Schoonderbeek is pleased to team up with StartLife and actively seek collaborations with startups and scale-ups. “Our partnership allows us to work simultaneously on a sound future as well as on contributing to the health and happiness of a growing population in a sustainable world.”

Horticoop is particularly interested in startups that provide solutions in the fields of light, climate, technique and substrates. Startups that are interested in connecting with Horticoop are invited to contact StartLife.

About Horticoop

For almost 120 years, the Horticoop cooperative has been working towards a healthy future for horticulture. We do this together with about 400 members who operate a professional greenhouse horticulture company and with the Horticoop companies that focus on light, climate, technique and substrates for the sector. As from 2021, Horticoop has been active as an investment cooperative.

p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Invest-NL and StartLife Spur Growth Of Impact-driven Agrifoodtech Startups

Creative image of partnership between Invest-NL and StartLife

Dutch impact investor Invest-NL and StartLife announced today a strategic partnership that will facilitate the development and high growth of startups and scale-ups that focus on the transition towards a sustainable, climate-neutral food system. Together we will co-develop new initiatives that will support and enhance a flourishing entrepreneurial climate for impact-driven entrepreneurs.  

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the agrifood chain currently consumes 30% of the world’s available energy. Alternative proteins, precision farming and circular food technologies offer huge opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the food chain. But getting these technologies ready for large scale commercial application is not an easy feat, making them unattractive for most investors. As a result, emerging technologies loose traction early on and few solutions reach their full potential. The partnership between Invest-NL and StartLife aims to help overcome this hurdle.

Fast lane to transformation

Photo: Bram van Beek & Jan Meiling of StartLife, Liz Duijves & Michiel Strijland of Invest-NL

Invest-NL was established by the Dutch Government in 2020 to enhance the possibilities to finance societal transitions. In its investment strategy supporting startups and scale-ups who contribute to the sustainability and energy transition are at the center piece, especially those that are deemed too risky by other investors.

”We increase the willingness of other investors to invest by for instance removing critical obstacles to scaling up and growth”, explains Liz Duijves, Investment Associate at Invest-NL.

"Our partnership will make the transformation of our food system better financeable", ~ Liz Duijves, Invest-NL

“Our partnership with StartLife allows us to build on its 12 years of experience in the startup scene and its large, global community of startups, corporates and investors in the food and agriculture sector,” said Duijves.

“StartLife is in close contact with many early-stage agrifoodtech startups, know what obstacles hinder the implementation of new technologies and have good insights on what’s needed to overcome these hurdles. We believe that this partnership will provide a fast lane to make the transformation of our food system better financeable.”

Opening up new opportunities

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife: “Together we will facilitate growth and open up opportunities by creating meaningful projects and supporting a flourishing agrifood ecosystem. We have already committed to enhance existing initiatives, like the international F&A Next summit and the Fast Lane program for food & ag pioneers, and will jointly represent the Dutch agrifood ecosystem abroad.”

Jan adds: “We are also working towards a new and unique venture building program that is set to launch in 2023, designed to build ventures from scratch.”

Startups and scale-ups with specific needs for scaling their sustainable (agrifood) technologies are invited to contact StartLife.

About Invest-NL

Invest-NL is a Dutch impact investor committed to financing companies and projects that make the Netherlands more sustainable and innovative. Its strategic focus lies on speeding up the transition towards a carbon neutral and circular economy. Invest-NL always cooperates with other investors and us the Dutch partner for European institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF).

p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

StartLife and NoMilk2Day Connect Talents To Purpose-driven Agrifoodtech Startups

Photo Partnership StartLife and NoMilk2Day

StartLife welcomes NoMilk2Day Headhunters to its pool of program partners. NoMilk2Day is specialized in recruitment, executive search en interim management services in agrifoodtech. Together, we will connect startups, scale-ups and professionals active in agribusiness, food and industry to help realize shared ambitions.

Hiring the right people is critical for any business, but even more so if you’re startup with still limited means.

“The first (non-founder) hire is the most difficult one, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. It changes everything. But as the team grows, also new challenges rise,” said Wim van de Worp, Managing Partner of NoMilk2Day.

Connecting ambitions

"Connecting ambitions is the most powerful factor for success in every stage of your company" ~ Wim van de Worp, NoMilk2Day

“We share StartLife’s fascination for entrepreneurs with purposeful journeys and the ambition to contribute to a better world. It’s what inspires us to do our work. We believe connecting ambitions is the most powerful factor for success in every stage of your company. So we are absolutely thrilled to have partnered up and look forward to supporting StartLife’s startups to successfully build and grow their teams and become tomorrow’s business leaders,” said Wim.

Building teams

Also for Loet Rammelsberg, StartLife’s Program Director, supporting companies in building teams is close to its heart.

“From my own experience as both an entrepreneur and a recruitment professional, I know how challenging it can be to find the right person at the right moment. It’s rewarding seeing our startups successfully attract new talents via StartLife’s job portal and receiving sound advice from our pool of mentors. I strongly belief that our startups will be able to scale even faster with the additional expertise and support by NoMilk2Day. I foresee (even) faster growth rates in near future.”

StartLife’ startups that are interested to learn more about the services of NoMilk2Day are invited to contact StartLife for an introduction.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Kraft Heinz Partners With StartLife To Tap Into Startup Innovation

Partnership between Kraft Heinz and StartLifeToday, we welcome The Kraft Heinz Company as the latest strategic partner of StartLife. StartLife will help Kraft Heinz connect with startups and drive innovation to meet consumer expectations for taste, nutrition and the planet. The partnership was announced today at the Future Food Tech event in London.

Although Kraft Heinz already works with startups through various platforms, this partnership marks the first time the company has collaborated with an accelerator program. Miriam Ueberall, VP R&D International at Kraft Heinz, said the company was impressed with StartLife’s ambition, the strength of its network, and its track record in developing successful partnerships in the agrifoodtech sector.

“We maintain and grow skills in our core capabilities, but with our portfolio expanding and as consumer needs become more demanding, startups play a very important role,” she said.

“As we continue to transform Kraft Heinz into an agile, insight-led company with scale, we see startups as key partners in helping us learn, innovate and adopt new technologies or channels even faster, so we can give our consumers and partners the products, flavors and brand experiences they want the most.”

Seeking innovation for taste, health and sustainability

The company is looking for novel technologies to produce healthier, tastier and more sustainable products in areas like clean label ingredients, sugar and salt reduction, waste reduction, as well as new delivery channels and acquisition opportunities. The company also aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.Among other key challenges, Kraft Heinz is targeting ways to ensure security of supply, and to tackle cost pressures as raw material prices have increased across the global food industry.

"We see startups as key partners in helping us learn, innovate and adopt new technologies or channels even faster" ~ Miriam Ueberall, Kraft Heinz

“We are looking for solutions across our entire  value chain  to make sure the global population is able to buy healthy, affordable food at an appropriate price point,” Ueberall said. “We need to re-stitch the value chain in new ways, and that’s where we can benefit from the unique approaches and diverse  thinking most startups have.”

Bringing global markets and R&D facilities within reach

Startups also have much to gain from collaboration with Kraft Heinz, including access to its global network, expertise and market intelligence, as well as R&D facilities to test concepts on a pilot scale.

StartLife’s partnership with Kraft Heinz will give startups the tools they need to scale their business, which can be a knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive process,” said StartLife’s Managing Director Jan Meiling.

"Kraft Heinz will give startups the tools they need to scale their business." ~ Jan Meiling, StartLife

“Many startups in foodtech are first-time entrepreneurs trying to navigate a complicated value chain. At some stage in their development, they need an existing player, either for access to raw materials, to the market and their brands, or to certain facilities. Our partnership with Kraft Heinz brings together the world of startups with the corporate world – and we have already shown that we know how to make this formula work.”

StartLife provides significant coaching to around 40 startups a year, but also works with around 400 more each year from all over the world.

Startups interested in partnering with Kraft Heinz should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.

About The Kraft Heinz Company

We are driving transformation at The Kraft Heinz Company (Nasdaq: KHC), inspired by our Purpose, Let’s Make Life Delicious. Consumers are at the center of everything we do. With 2021 net sales of approximately $26 billion, we are committed to growing our iconic and emerging food and beverage brands on a global scale. We leverage our scale and agility to unleash the full power of Kraft Heinz across a portfolio of six consumer-driven product platforms. As global citizens, we’re dedicated to making a sustainable, ethical impact while helping feed the world in healthy, responsible ways.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Martin Braun-Gruppe and StartLife Call On Startups To Disrupt The Baking Industry

Image Partnership MartinBraunGruppe-StartLife

Today, we proudly announce that the Martin Braun-Gruppe, the food division of the Geschwister Oetker Beteiligungen KG, has partnered up with StartLife for an injection of innovation from foodtech startups. As one of the leading European bakery, confectionery and frozen bakery suppliers, the company is particularly targeting alternative ingredients and ideas that address a host of challenges surrounding current challenges within the food industry.

Grown through traditional M&A activities in the past, the Martin Braun-Gruppe is going to launch a corporate venture capital arm for startup investments and collaborations in the area of alternative ingredients, better-for-you products and technology driven business around the category of baking.

The partnership with StartLife, Europe’s longest-running accelerator for agrifoodtech startups, is geared towards a fast and successful engagement with the foodtech startup community in Europe with the aim to push the baking industry forward in its quest for a sustainable food system.

Shift in demand: targeting reformulation and environment

“Consumers are more conscious about the nutritional value of the food they consume. But ingredients are not easily substituted. Because of food regulation, it takes a long time to get a new, alternative ingredient approved. Another challenge is that consumers are accustomed to the taste and texture of their indulgence. When consumers treat themselves to an indulgence, they don’t want to compromise on these aspects,” explains Andreas Gockeln, Corporate Development Manager of the Martin Braun-Gruppe.

"There is a growing desire to lower the footprint of the baking industry."

In addition to health, environmental sustainability and technology-driven business models are other areas of attention.

“There is a growing desire to lower the footprint of the industry. For example, palm oil, a much-used ingredient in the industry, has a negative impact on the environment. In addition to that we see on our markets new and technology driven business models. We are conscious of these developments and want to act on it,” details Gockeln.

Open innovation

Photo-Andreas-Gockeln-(Martin Braun Gruppe)-Caroline-Bijkerk-(StartLife)

“There’s a lot of growth in alternatives and substitutes for traditional bakery ingredients, especially by startups. It only makes sense for large companies to open up to new ways of thinking and collaborate with these startups,” notes Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager of StartLife.

"Startups will be able tap into decades of industry knowledge by the Martin Braun-Gruppe and its ability to scale fast."

“Adding a bakery and confectionery business of this scale to StartLife’s global partnership network is also truly ‘icing on the cake’ for both StartLife and the impact-driven startups we support. Startups will be able tap into decades of industry knowledge by the Martin Braun-Gruppe and its ability to scale fast and grow internationally,” says Bijkerk.

“When innovations by startups are fueled with the scale of large companies, it can truly accelerate impactful changes,” Bijkerk adds.

The Martin Braun-Gruppe positions itself as a strategic partner and financial investor, aiming to strengthen its core. “We are looking forward to exploring opportunities for commercial partnerships and joint product developments with ambitious startups,” says Gockeln.

About the Martin Braun-Gruppe

The Martin Braun-Gruppe, headquartered in Hanover, Germany, develops, produces and sells a full range of convenience products for the baking, confectionery and catering industries. It delivers its products to wholesalers and retailers, bakeries, pastry shops and food service and industrial companies worldwide.

Today, the Martin Braun-Gruppe has more than 2,500 employees at 23 locations and is represented in all relevant sales channels with its wide range of products in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Startups that are interested should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Lidl and StartLife Introduce 10 Future Goods by Sustainable Startups

Lidl Future Goods Week Founders Collage

For the third time, Lidl and StartLife have collaborated on the Lidl Future Goods. From June 30th, ten sustainable food products from mission-driven startups can be found in Lidl stores across the Netherlands. Lidl provides startups with their first retail experience while striving to make their product selection more sustainable, affordable, and available to all.

Lidl helps small companies to kick-off successfully by sharing valuable knowledge and experiences. Simultaneously, Lidl learns from the startups’ motivation and courage in developing their products dedicated to a more sustainable food system. StartLife has scouted and screened food startups that are in line with this mission and the motivations behind the Future Goods.

Affordable Exposure to Large Audience

Entering a large-scale production phase can be very challenging, in particular for startups – especially when it comes to maintaining consistent quality and meeting food (safety) regulations. From StartLife’s perspective, we are convinced that Lidl’s Future Goods initiative offers innovative food startups a great chance to build up ‘retail experience’ alongside valuable lessons. At the same time, it helps Lidl to investigate the (Dutch) consumer’s appetite for new food products with a sustainability impact.

Lidl Future Goods 2022 Selection

Products Lidl Future Good Week 22

After a yearlong of preparations, StartLife and Lidl have collaboratively selected 10 different Future Goods to enter the shelves at Lidl:

  • Little Hoppers, meatballs made from crickets,
  • GRO Krupi Chips & Oyster mushroom Burgers, made from Dutch mushrooms,
  • Cupplement Coffee, fully biodegradable coffee capsules,
  • Cultcha Kombucha, green tea-based drink in two flavors,
  • Pacha de Cacao Juice, made from coffee pulp side-stream,
  • Willicroft Greek White & Young Dutch, plant-based cheese alternative made in the Netherlands.

Now…rush off and make your way to your nearest Lidl store in the Netherlands to get your own taste of the future of food!


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifoodtech startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account and/or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Astanor Ventures Partners With StartLife To Help Scale Up Disruptive Agrifoodtech

Image Partnership Astanor-StartLife

Astanor Ventures, a venture capital fund uniquely focused on supporting and scaling disruptive solutions to some of the most urgent global needs in food and agriculture, has joined the StartLife partner community. Together we will maximize impact by helping startups grow internationally.

The partnership connects StartLife’s large network of startups with Europe’s largest impact investor in the sector, and facilitates an exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two entities. Based on campus at Wageningen University & Research, StartLife also provides a gateway to up-and-coming technologies and innovations in agtech and foodtech.

Astanor is born in Europe, with offices in Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and the US, with a global reach throughout Europe and the United States as well as a presence in Australia. Astanor has raised over € 370 million to invest in impact-driven agrifood tech companies and has backed over 40 companies worldwide.

Wageningen at the centre of the European agrifood ecosystem

Astanor and StartLife in front of StartLife's partner wall
Arnout Dijkhuizen (Astanor) and Lin Zhu (StartLife)

“Wageningen is really the European centre of food and agricultural development,” said Arnout Dijkhuizen, Investment Principal at Astanor. “We strongly believe in this ecosystem and the part that StartLife plays in it. There is also a lot of opportunity because of the European Union with its Farm to Fork strategy. We like to say we invest in the whole value chain, not just from farm to fork, but from soil to gut.”

Investment Relations Manager at StartLife Lin Zhu said, “Astanor has significant influence in the field of sustainability, which matches our mission and vision as well, and obviously adds very good value to the StartLife ecosystem. For us, we wanted to not only expand the investor network with more international investors to match our startup portfolio, but also increase the knowledge in our network. We always try to create a close-knit community that can push the industry forward.”

Providing agrifoodtech solutions along the value chain

Both Astanor and StartLife are impact driven, meaning that all the companies they back must provide solutions to urgent social and environmental issues in the food and agriculture value chain. That could mean reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it could also be about improving biodiversity, conserving water, tackling societal issues for farmers, or improving health, for example.

"Agriculture has the ability to go beyond sustainability and become regenerative."

“Agriculture has the ability to go beyond sustainability and become regenerative,” said Dijkhuizen. “Currently, we have a system that produces a lot of food but not necessarily in the right place or with the right nutritional profile. We focus on all the aspects of the value chain.”

From startup to scale-up

StartLife primarily targets early-stage companies in the sector, while Astanor’s focus is on taking them to the next level and helping them grow into mature companies.

“We believe in impact through scale, which means the companies we support need to be for everyone and not just a select few,” Dijkhuizen said. “With our international presence we can also help these companies go further in their international development.”

“StartLife provides a safe environment between the startups and the investor,” added Zhu. “Both parties can be very honest about their expectations.”

Startups looking to connect with Astanor should get in touch with StartLife directly to arrange an introduction.

About Astanor Ventures

Astanor Ventures is an impact investor that backs ambitious entrepreneurs across the world with disruptive, scalable solutions that will create systemic change across the agrifood value chain. Astanor partners with founders who are committed to restoring balance and sustainability to the land and oceans, prioritizing nature and culture, nurturing change and feeding growth.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account and/or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

StartLife and Box Enter Partnership To Accelerate Transformation To A Sustainable Food System

Partnership Box-StartLife

We proudly announce our strategic partnership with Blue Ocean Xlerator (BOX). As two startup builders from the Food Valley we aim to accelerate the growth of startups that are developing sustainable innovations for the food supply chain. We also want to increase the international profile of the Food Valley region and draw more domestic and foreign startups and scale-ups to it. 

StartLife and Box have known each other for a long time. There was informal contact, but no structural cooperation until now. “It was only a matter of time before we entered into a partnership,” says Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife. “For years, both our organizations have been committed to helping startups make the transformation to a sustainable food and agriculture supply chain. We both do this in different ways. StartLife is a startup accelerator, while Box is a venture builder. This is why we complement each other so well.”

“We get involved in technological innovations when they are still only rough ideas,” explains BOX partner Raşit Görgülü. “If we think a new technology looks promising, we will form an entrepreneurial team to bring it further if necessary. With our own R&D companies, we can also actively contribute to advanced product development. Of course, we also invest capital; we examine what each startup needs and what we can contribute to it.”

Transformation to sustainable food system

Photo of Raşit Görgülü (Box) and Jan Meiling (StartLife) Signing Partnership Agreement
Raşit Görgülü (Partner, Box), Lin Zhu (Investor Relations Manager, StartLife) and Jan Meiling (MD, StartLife)

“We share an ambition to transform the food supply chain into a sustainable system,” continues Görgülü. “Think in terms of new products like plant-based proteins, sustainable dairy products and meat substitutes. We all now realize that this transformation is badly needed and that it must take place as soon as possible. This demands focused and collective efforts, and by joining forces and actively supporting impactful innovations, we can help to accelerate this transformation.”

"We share an ambition to transform the food supply chain into a sustainable system."

For this reason, BOX recently also became a partner in F&A Next, the internationally renowned conference organized by StartLife in collaboration with Wageningen University, Rabobank and Anterra Capital, among others. Earlier this month, 600 entrepreneurs, investors and major companies from 44 countries attended the seventh edition of F&A Next to share knowledge and explore new partnerships for a sustainable food supply chain

“We’re proud to have made this event possible together with StartLife,” says Görgülü. “It was a major happening and helped put the Food Valley region on the map. With so much energy and inspiration, it will certainly result in beautiful new initiatives.”

Call for startups

StartLife and Box strongly believe in the power of cooperation – with each other, with startup and with all the parties in the Food Valley ecosystem.

“Now that we have joined forces, we can streamline our collective support processes and help achieve great things,” says Meiling. “Any startup that would like to benefit from our support is warmly invited to connect with StartLife. It’s time for a sustainable food system, and there is no time to waste!”

About Blue Ocean Xlerator (BOX NV)

BOX is a venture builder that invests in high-tech start-ups that develop sustainable breakthrough technologies for the food, agriculture and life sciences sectors. BOX combines sound scientific and technological expertise with entrepreneurship and years of experience in building and selling businesses. The two in-house R&D companies of BOX, Top and TDI, both have a solid track record and reputation. BOX’s startup portfolio includes companies like Ojah, Bflike, Eatch, Dutch Structuring Technologies and Advanced Biotics.

p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account and/or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

ICL Planet Joins With StartLife For Next Generation Crop and Food Innovation


ICL, a leading global specialty minerals company, has partnered up with StartLife in its quest to invest in startups focused on new ways to address global challenges in food and agricultural production.  These challenges range from increasing yields and tackling food insecurity, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  With both organizations being fully geared toward accelerating the development and growth of early-stage startups, this partnership enables us to advance in our shared mission.

Headquartered in Israel, ICL Planet serves as the vehicle ICL uses to cultivate, nurture and accelerate innovation in the agrifood tech ecosystem, through open innovation and collaboration on a global basis.  Potential targets also include novel ways to recycle minerals, extract them from waste streams and convert them to fertilizers or to develop innovative functional proteins for clean label applications, among others.

Establishing new generation of plant nutrition solutions

“ICL Planet seeks to establish a new generation of plant nutrition solutions, and our aim is to invest in startups that can make a meaningful difference,” said Hadar Sutovsky, vice president of External Innovation at ICL Group.  Sutovsky first encountered StartLife through its annual summit – F&A Next – which is centered on disruptive agrifood technologies and brings together startups, investors and corporates from all over the world.

"Our aim is to invest in startups that can make a meaningful difference." ~ Hadar Sutovsky

“StartLife has a strong track record of spotting and attracting promising early-stage startups globally, and its position at the heart of the European agrifoodtech ecosystem, its focus on sustainable food systems, and its strong links with the world-renowned Wageningen University & Research were central to our decision to enter into a partnership,” continued Sutovsky.

Scaling and innovation puzzle

StartLife - LauraThissen ICL Planet -Hadar Sutovsky-Partnership
Laura Thissen (StartLife) and Hadar Sutovsky (ICL PLanet)

StartLife’s Operations Director, Laura Thissen, said, “Through this partnership, StartLife aims to accelerate startups’ scaling journey and, at the same time, support ICL in finding the best startups, which match their innovation challenges.  Our team is already identifying startups looking to partner and to help solve a piece of the innovation puzzle for ICL Planet.  The scope includes crop nutrition, such as next generation fertilizers and biostimulants, but also precision farming and alternative proteins.”

Thissen added, “To boost innovation, StartLife actively connects startups to leading players in the industry.  ICL’s core domain is complementary to our partner community value chain coverage.  In our talks, we quickly discovered we have a lot of synergies in our activities and the same drive for sustainability in food and agriculture.”

Gains for startups

Startups have much to gain from a collaboration with ICL Planet, including market access, expertise and world class scientists, as well as the ability for sample testing.  As an on-the-ground industrial partner, ICL can also provide agronomic or food application feedback.  ICL Planet is already an active investor in several agrifood startups, most recently in alternative protein companies Plantible and Protera.

Startups interested in partnering with ICL Planet Startup Hub should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Signature Partners With StartLife To Advance Precision Farming Tech

Partnership Signature-Startlife

Investment management company Signature has partnered with StartLife to tap into European agricultural innovation, as it aims to optimize natural resources and improve food security in Africa and other regions where the company will expand in the coming years. For impact-driven tech startups, the partnership could provide a route to on-farm validation of novel technologies.

Both Signature and StartLife are based in the Netherlands and support startups from all over the world that aim to build a sustainable food system with novel technologies. Signature is particularly interested in startups with solutions for improved resource management and crop productivity for large-scale farms in Africa and beyond, including those producing fruits, nuts, cereals, grains and alternative proteins.

Pressing agricultural issues

Head of Investments at Signature, Tsito Raharison, said, “We want to develop the agri sector in general, and have pressing issues in food security and biodiversity that we need to solve. StartLife can introduce us to ground-breaking technologies that will help us achieve this mission.”

"We are investing in ground-breaking precision farming technologies and organic inputs that tackle pressing issues in food security and biodiversity."

Key concerns include tackling pollution, water security and efficiency and soil degradation, as well as ways to make crops more resilient to extreme weather and less reliant on fertilizers, pesticides, and other farming inputs. The organization is looking for precision farming technologies and organic inputs that can help tackle these issues.

Bridging the gap between farms and technology

Photo: Tsito Raharison (Head of Investments, Signature) and Jan Meiling (Managing Director, StartLife)

Investor Relations Manager at StartLife, Lin Zhu, said, “StartLife is a founder-centric organization, so we want to ensure we add value to our startups. Startups often have a gap to reach the farmers and do the validation testing of their product on the farm. Signature is able to offer the insights and could also provide that access.”

The investment company already invests in large-scale farming projects in conjunction with dedicated outgrower schemes in Morocco, Malawi, Zambia, and Nigeria. It provides much more than funding, as it also sees its role as a steward of natural resources and aims to reduce poverty, promoting economic empowerment through worker and community development.

StartLife’s dedication to sustainability, its position at the heart of agrifoodtech, and its strong links with Wageningen University & Research were central to the Signature’s decision to enter the partnership.

United in sustainability goals

“Technology is the catalyst of changes we want to make on those farms,” said Raharison. “StartLife has the same focus and mission as us and gives us access to the best-in-class technologies in agtech and foodtech. In the end, it boiled down to pushing the agenda for a more sustainable agriculture sector.”

Zhu said, “We expect that Signature will become an active player in our ecosystem and help solve pressing issues with our startups, other partners, and Wageningen.”

Startups interested in partnering with Signature should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.

About Signature Agri Investments

Signature Agri Investments is a leading impact investment boutique which provides nature-based investment solutions to combat food insecurity, create climate resilience, contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem restoration, and transform communities and economies through sustainable and innovative agriculture investments. Signature invests and operates across multiple countries mainly in Africa with a demand-driven value chain approach to build a carbon-negative portfolio of agricultural assets.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

CJ CheilJedang and StartLife Unite Korean Nutrition and European Foodtech

Partnership CJ CheilJedang - StartLife

Korea’s No.1 food and bio company CJ CheilJedang has partnered with StartLife to benefit from European innovations for the global market, while also expanding the worldwide presence of Korean cuisine and ingredients. For European startups the partnership provides a gateway to Asian markets for their novel food technologies.

Founded in 1953, CJ CheilJedang offers a broad range of foods and beverages in every part of the supermarket. It already exports to more than 100 countries and, with the StartLife partnership, it aims to continue expanding the appeal of Korean food, which has impressive traditions when it comes to cuisine, fermentation and agriculture.

That could include sharing the nation’s long-standing expertise in algae cultivation, for instance, or in producing refined and delicious tastes and textures for meat substitutes.

Korea’s healthy nutrition goes global

“Considering recent export successes, including Squid Game, kimchi and Korean barbecue, the world is clearly ready for Korea,” said Heiko Oertling, R&D Hub Manager at the new CJ Research Centre Europe at Wageningen in the Netherlands, where the company has set up its European branch. “Now is our moment, and we want to seize it.”

"We want to bring Korean food to a broader audience, including all of its health and nutritional benefits."

“Culturally, Korea is unique in terms of cooking and especially fermentation,” Oertling said. “The ambition is to leverage this, and adapt it to local tastes. We want to bring Korean food to a broader audience, including all of its health and nutritional benefits.”

Gateway to Asian markets for European foodtech startups


For StartLife, the partnership brings opportunities for its network of startups looking to access the Asian market, especially those involved in health and nutrition and the protein transition. Areas of interest for CJ CheilJedang extend along the supply chain from feed to finished products, as well as technologies and raw materials for more sustainable food production.

“It’s great to have Korea’s leading food company joining our community,“ said Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager at StartLife. “Startups can take advantage of this gateway to Korea and other Asian markets and the many potential synergies with CJ CheilJedang, including new product developments and future supplier-customer relationships.”

Food Innovation Hub

“We want to be part of StartLife’s ecosystem and all the innovations that are happening here,” said Oertling. “Wageningen is an ideal location for that. We want to link with innovative startups, partners and companies and then produce new offerings that bring a benefit to consumers, whether for health, convenience or sustainability.”

The research centre is about much more than product development, however. CJ CheilJedang also aims to attract talent in innovation and training, as well as new perspectives on alternative proteins and sustainable food systems.

Startups interested in working with CJ CheilJedang should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.

About CJ Cheiljedang

CJ CheilJedang is the core subsidiary in charge of the food and bioengineering business sectors of the CJ Group. It has led the development of the Korean food industry for the past 60 years and contributed to the development of the bioengineering industry as the nation’s top food company. Launched in 1953 as a food ingredient company, CJ CheilJedang has expanded its business to processed foods.

CJ CheilJedang has achieved outstanding growth, quantitatively and qualitatively, in food processing and ingredients in the food business, as well as in the bioengineering business sector. CJ CheilJedang is striving to go beyond being the No. 1 in Korea to becoming a global leader in each area. CJ CheilJedang will continue to grow and evolve in the food & bio sectors by practicing the spirit of OnlyOne and develop into a global lifestyle company.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

PeakBridge VC Opens Dutch Office At StartLife

PeakBridge VC is strengthening its European presence by extending its partnership with StartLife, which includes the opening of a Peakbridge office at StartLife on Wageningen Campus. StartLife will assist PeakBridge in building a strong local community while better serving European startups in the Agrifoodtech space.

PeakBridge is a highly networked investment platform dedicated to managing funds worldwide building the infrastructure of agrifoodtech innovation. PeakBridge is focusing on innovative, scalable, and ESG-positive companies with protectable technologies that improve human nutrition and the food production value chain. PeakBridge invests globally in early-stage and series A companies.

In August 2021, PeakBridge joined the investor pool of StartLife alum Orbisk, a company that offers automated food waste monitor for hospitality organizations.

The fresh partnership will elevate the existing collaboration. Thomas van den Boezem, Senior Associate at PeakBridge and former StartLife staff member, will head up the Netherlands office and engage closely with the StartLife community.

Thomas says: “It’s a pleasure to take our partnership to the next level. With PeakBridge’s focus on investing in the most promising agrifoodtech companies, I’m looking forward to meeting and working with both early & growth-stage startups in the StartLife community.

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, says :“Though we’ve always remained in close contact, we are really happy to see Thomas return to the StartLife office in his new role. It’s also great that PeakBridge’s Wageningen location joins their hubs in Malta, Dubai and Tel Aviv. We look forward to taking our collaboration to an even higher level, giving another great boost to the development of a sustainable food system.”

Startups, as well as other community members of StartLife are encouraged to reach out Thomas van den Boezem, or Lin Zhu, StartLife’s investor relationship manager.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Hudson River Biotechnology Partners Up To Optimize Plant Breeding With CRISPR


Hudson River Biotechnology (HRB), a Wageningen-based agricultural biotechnology company, and Computomics, a Tübingen-based bioinformatics company, announced to start offering an end-to-end solution using CRISPR-based gene editing for novel plant trait development.

This partnership combines Computomics’ expertise in accurate and precise machine learning-based identification of novel gene editing targets without off-target effects, and Hudson River Biotechnology’s CRISPR gene editing workflow, which is foreign-DNA-free. The collaboration between Computomics and Hudson River Biotechnology allows for a smooth handover from identification of disruptive gene editing targets to a precision gene editing workflow to deliver new plants to market rapidly.

Develering new crop varieties with desired traits

The joint solution, AccelATrait™, uses tailormade machine learning and CRISPR gene editing technologies to deliver new crop varieties with desired traits. Accel-A-Trait™ covers the entire workflow from experimental design to plant regeneration. It helps plant breeders develop new business based on novel traits and decreases time to market by 3-4 times.

In this partnership, Computomics is responsible for detecting, locating, and identifying novel causal targets using the latest machine learning technology. Hudson River Biotechnology performs the targeted editing using their rapid and validated CRISPR workflow. This workflow allows HRB to address recalcitrant species and offers benefits through transgene-free editing and single cell regeneration.

Crop CRISPR Startup Hudson River Biotechnology Raises €5M Series A Funding

Perfect symbiosis

Computomics and Hudson River Biotechnology complement each other perfectly in this partnership,” says Dr. Sebastian J Schultheiss, Managing Director of Computomics. “We are working together to help plant breeders develop new varieties with improved characteristics in a shorter time and with less costs.”

Rudi Ariaans, CEO of Hudson River Biotechnology, adds: “We see a clear benefit to this partnership, as many of our clients would like to access both the best in class bioinformatics capabilities and the best in transgene free CRISPR protocols to decrease the time to market for new crop varieties. AccelATrait brings these two together, allowing us to really accelerate molecular breeding for our clients. We look forward to being challenged to apply AccelATrait to previously unfeasible breeding projects, such as targeting polyploids and disruptive traits that can make a real difference.”


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

NIZO And StartLife Join Forces: Innovating Together For Better Food And Health

Partnership Nizo-StartLife logos

Today, NIZO, a Contract Research Organization in Food and Health, and StartLife announced that they have entered into a strategic and operational partnership to support food and agtech startups shaping a sustainable food system. Thanks to a blend of accelerator expertise and facilities, the strategic partnership can help startups with both individual challenges and longer-term plans.

A food revolution

People are increasingly looking for food choices with demonstrable health benefits that don’t unduly harm our planet. For many, that means turning more to plant-based foods – the so-called protein transition. Yet fast-paced modern lifestyles mean that they still want food to be quick, simple and convenient. Both for startups as well as existing manufacturers, there is growing commercial pressure to show they are minimizing their environmental footprint by reducing energy consumption, water usage and (packaging) waste. But amid all this change, one fact of food production remains constant. If it doesn’t have the right look, (mouth)feel and, above all, taste – it won’t sell.

This is where the partnership between StartLife and NIZO comes in. Together, they provide startups with promising solutions, and the facilities and services needed to get their products market-ready.

Leading innovation from laboratory to large scale production

Loet Rammelsberg, Program Director StartLife: “StartLife believes that startups are a very important force behind the agrifoodtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. But bringing an innovative food product from a small lab scale to large scale production is not an easy feat. Once a technology proves successful on a small scale, the technical feasibility and economic viability of large-scale production also need to be verified . And if it is, what is the best way to do it? Together with NIZO, we can help startups find answers to these critical questions.”

“Bringing an innovative food product from small lab scale to large scale production is not an easy feat.” 

NIZO helps food and health startups innovate to meet changing consumer demands in food and health. Their multidisciplinary development and pilot production plant enables their customers to quickly and successfully bring new food products to market.

NIZO and StartLife: end-to-end support

In the past ten years, StartLife has provided business development support and funding to more than 400 early-stage startups, propelling breakthrough technologies in the domains of food and agriculture. “With the largest pilot plant in Europe for third-party use and suitable for food-grade processes at close distance to StartLife, we are really pleased to have entered into a strategic partnership with NIZO,” says Rammelsberg.

“Our combined expertise ensures startup have all the know-how available to save time and money in food innovation.”

Ben van der Deen, Business Development Manager NIZO feels the same way. “A holistic view is something that we at NIZO specialize in. We have the expertise to support startups throughout the entire process of bringing a new food products to market. The combination of StartLife’s business development support and NIZO’s expertise in getting from R&D to market introduction ensures that startups have all the know-how available to save time and money in food innovation. This ensures that all levels of innovation are science-based and fully verified to meet fast market introduction.”

Proof of the pudding

Corjan van den Berg, CEO and co-founder of FUMI Ingredients, a young  Wageningen University of Research spin-off company, already benefits from this new partnership. He explains: “In previous years, we successfully developed a proof-of-concept technology that allows animal-based ingredients to be replaced with a high-quality alternative made from brewery yeast residuals.” With animal-based proteins currently being the most important ingredient in food products, this plant-based technology may replace the need for a large amount of animals, reduce food waste and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 95 percent. “StartLife helped us build a strong business case. And now, with the support of NIZO, we are further developing and upscaling the technology to a large-scale pilot. And the results are looking really promising.”

Van der Deen: “It is a pleasure working with Corjan and his team. We believe that their solution has huge potential and are fully committed to helping them succeed. Together with StartLife, we look forward to supporting more such promising startups and helping make a difference.”

About Nizo

NIZO’s wide-ranging expertise as a Contract Research Organization helps customers successfully address their food and health challenges: from managing the protein transition or delivering real health benefits to maintaining food safety and scaling up to industrial production. Through multidisciplinary teams and a unique pilot production plant, we bring all the expertise together to deliver cost and time-to-market savings.  And we can provide support through the entire innovation process; from R&D to (pilot) production. For additional information, please visit: www.nizo.com


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Future Food Fund and StartLife: Elevating Game-changing Agrifood Startups


Future Food Fund, a Dutch seed capital fund with a focus on innovative agricultural and food technologies, announced today that they have joined forces with StartLife. The partners will utilize each other’s expertise and global network to provide innovative startups in the food and agricultural domains with the best possible growth support.

The human race is up against the biggest food challenge of all times: feeding a large and growing world population with a declining amount of resources. The entire food value chain needs to be radically changed in order to ensure a sufficient and healthy food supply whilst also safeguarding our planet. Bringing about change is never easy. And, by definition, systemic change is never achieved by just one organization. Organizations need to work together and utilize each other’s strengths. This is where the partnership of StartLife and Future Food Fund (FFF) comes in, says Peter Arensman, founding and managing partner of FFF:

“Providing potential game-changing startups a combination of capital, know-how and the ability to open doors that otherwise remain shut. Together we can help make that change.”

Supporting entrepreneurial ingenuity

Innovative startups have to overcome many challenges and hurdles to reach the point where they start making an impact. Only a few startups make it that far. “We need to ensure that the entrepreneurial ingenuity that is out there is given all the support needed to reach that threshold for change. This partnership is designed to do just that,” says Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife.

“With FFF, StartLife not ‘only’ brings an investor partner on board, we also welcome a team of entrepreneurs with backgrounds in food & agriculture and technology who are dedicated to lifting early-stage startups to a higher level. What it comes down to is that StartLife helps early-stage agrifoodtech startups to get ready for the follow-up growth support by FFF.

Smart agrifood technologies

Both organizations focus primarily on technology-based startups in the agriculture and food domains. Arensman: “We are particularly interested in technologies related to smart and clean farming, bio-based economy, sustainable food production, circular intelligent logistics and alternative foods as we believe that these areas offer some of the best chances for large-scale impact.” Ambitious startups in these fields are invited to connect with StartLife. “Our doors are always open”, says Meiling.

About Future Food Fund

Future Food Fund is a seed capital fund that is founded and funded by 30 entrepreneurs. They have backgrounds primarily in the food & agriculture and technology domains and wish to actively contribute to the success of the fund, not only with money but also with their experience and network. Future Food Fund is aimed at Dutch companies that want to impact the food & agricultural sector with innovative technology and/or disruptive business models.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

WUR Remains Best Agricultural University Worldwide

For the fifth time in a row, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is ranked as the best agricultural university worldwide, according to the 2021 edition of the Shanghai Ranking. In addition to the number one position in agricultural science, the WUR is ranked 2nd in geography, 3nd in food science & technology and 4nd in ecology.

The Shanghai Ranking, officially known as the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), is regarded as one of the most influential and widely observed university rankings. ARWU rankings are based on the quality of scientific research at those institutions. The ranking is appraised for its objectivity and methodology.

From a selection of 1,200 universities, the best 500 are determined by 6 indicators. These indicators are:

  • alumni winning prizes,
  • staff winning prizes,
  • highly cited researchers,
  • number of papers,
  • publications in journals, and
  • per capita academic performance.

The list is headed by Harvard University from the United States. Utrecht University (rank 50) is one of two European universities that take a spot in the top 50. WUR is ranked as one of the best 150 universities in the world. Check the full Shanghai Ranking 2021 list and the scores of Wageningen University & Research.

How to connect your startup with WUR?

We our very proud of the academic achievements of WUR, that is also one of the co-founders and lead partners of StartLife. We also take great pleasure in connecting startups with WUR researchers and students to support their business development and growth.

If you are a startup in the food & agri space and want to connect with WUR, make sure to reach out to us.


p.s. Stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via StartLife’s Linkedin or Twitter account or via the StartLife newsletter (8x a year).

Future Of Food Texture Challenge: Givaudan’s Call For Startups

Givaudan, global leader in flavors and natural food ingredients and one of StartLife’s corporate partners, is committed to fast-track market access and innovation for  foodtech startups. Together with StartLife, Givaudan is calling for startups that offer solutions for sustainably feeding 10 billion people by 2050 while improving food experience for consumers. Givaudan will provide all the support a startup needs to scale up and commercialize disruptive new solutions.

Givaudan will invite up to 10 startups to follow a 10-15 weeks program to accelerate their development and grow their network with experts and stakeholders. It will form the base for a future collaboration with Givaudan. The winning startup(s) will benefit from close, intensive support by Givaudan, including the opportunity to advance development from prototype to full developed pilot and media exposure via the Givaudan social media channels

Future Of Food Texture Challenge Program

The experience for the startups will be as follows:

  • Stage One – Pitch

5-10 pre-selected startups will participate in an online pitch and networking event where they will expose and connect their innovation for 20 minutes to key representatives of Givaudan. Then, the top 1-3 startups will be selected to work closely with selected Givaudan representatives to plan a pilot program that will take place at ZIC or other innovation centers around the world.

  • Stage Two – Pilot Program

The top startups will work in a well-defined pilot of 12 weeks (+/- full length, with in-person/remote) with Givaudan experts to create a prototype (demonstrator, minimum viable product) showing commercial potential. Each startup will:

  • Be part of a team composed of the startup and Givaudan’s technical and business experts and mentors.
  • Have access to the Givaudan ZIC or other innovation centers, industrial equipment, lab and pilot work.
  • Lead the co-development of a prototype and optimize it for a live demo.
  • Stage Three – Demo Day

Each team will present their prototype and a roadmap proposal towards potential commercialization. The audience will be composed of members of the category executives of Givaudan, key stakeholders, some key thought and corporate leaders from its business network, and investors from their innovation network.

Each startup will:

  • Have the option of having a booth at the ZIC to talk more about their innovation with the selective audience.
  • Be exposed and connected to a jury of experts.
  • Co-promote a joint solution to Givaudan’s customer network.

The program will take place at Givaudan’s innovation centers in Switzerland, Netherlands, France, the US and in other locations, with a mixture of online and face-to-face meetings. Travel and accommodation can be discussed to facilitate attendance to live sessions.

Eligibility Criteria

Givaudan is looking for foodtech startups with the following profile:

  • Activity: Focus on technologies and solutions for unique food texture for food consumers around the globe:
    • Methylcellulose replacement in meat analogues
    • Gum replacement (particularly gellan gum) in beverages
    • Modified starch replacement in soups and sauces

The company is also looking for wider ideas to collaborate with which provide natural, clean label and competitive solutions that deliver amazing texture and emulsification.

  • Stage: Typically post-seed and pre-series A. It is important that the startup already has some traction.
  • Other attributes:
    • Impactful: to massively benefit consumers and the environment.
    • Viable: easily adopted by consumers, governments and/or businesses; scalable to mainstream consumers, and; replicable around the world.
    • Innovative: disruptive, preferably solid IP and ‘new to the world’ idea

For more information and support, contact StartLife’s foodtech specialist and liaison to Givaudan, Carla van Heck.

StartLife Links Agrifirm To Innovative Agrifoodtech Startups

Today, at the biannual graduation day of StartLife, it was announced that the agrifoodtech startup accelerator teams up with Royal Agrifirm Group. The Wageningen University & Research (WUR) affiliated startup accelerator will support Agrifirm to engage with its European startup ecosystem. The strategic and corporate partnership aims to further expand their networks and innovative solutions for a responsible and sustainable food chain for next generations.

“As Agrifirm, we have a longstanding intensive collaboration with WUR. In many domains of our R&D portfolio, the WUR centers of excellence are key in our progress. But also in  our Research Farm Laverdonk in Heeswijk-Dinther, we team up with WUR,” says Johan DeSchepper, CIO at Royal Agrifirm Group.

“Together with StartLife, we will explore collaboration opportunities with innovative startups that can accelerate Agrifirm’s sustainable developments.” ~ Johan DeSchepper

“Participating actively in the StartLife startup community is a logical and valuable next step in our relationship. Together with StartLife, and purpose driven, we will explore collaboration opportunities with innovative startups within the agrofood business that can accelerate our sustainable developments, such as biotechnology powered new applications in farms and fields. By combining the years of expertise of StartLife, its large ecosystem and our networks, we look forward in achieving high impact solutions.”

Test, enhance and scale

To StartLife, Agrifirm is a valuable addition to its pool of strategic partnerships with industry leaders. “Their strong presence and specific know-how in the arable and livestock feed and their worldwide network offers startups great opportunities to test, enhance and scale their solutions,” says Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager of StartLife.

“Agrifirm’s specific know-how in the arable and livestock feed and its worldwide network offers startups great opportunities to test, enhance and scale their solutions,” Caroline Bijkerk

“And, being a cooperative that combines the strength of thousands of farmers and growers, Agrifirm understands the synergy of collaboration like no other. We are confident that they will embrace the innovative solutions that European food & agri startups have to offer to its members. After all, we are all better together.”

About Royal Agrifirm Group

With more than 3.000 dedicated employees driven to excel every day, Royal Agrifirm Group contributes to a responsible food chain for future generations. The cooperative delivers measurable, relevant and sustainable value to farm, field and industry level. Founded over 120 years ago in the Netherlands, Royal Agrifirm Group is now a leading agricultural cooperative with an international network of subsidiaries within Europe, South America, USA and Asia and a worldwide distribution network.

Royal Agrifirm Group strives to be the preferred knowledge and solution-driven partner for its customers in animal nutrition, crop cultivation and animal, plant and soil health.

p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Asian Dairy Giant Yili Partners Up With StartLife To Connect To Visionary Ag & Food Startups

Yili, Asia’s biggest and fast-growing dairy company, is now officially partnering with the agrifoodtech accelerator StartLife. Through the partnership Yili strengthens its access to a very large ecosystem of innovative agriculture and healthy food startups to help overcome future challenges facing the industry, including those emerging over the next decade and beyond.

The collaboration with StartLife enables Yili to tap in to the global ecosystem of visionary agrifoodtech start-up and scale-up companies. Together with entrepreneurs and other partners Yili will also brainstorm new ideas and facilitate the exchange of conversation across the industry.

“Yili will be a catalyst in enabling startups to get access to the fast-growing healthy food market in China and the rest of Asia.“ ~ Jan Meiling

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, stated ”This partnership will result in new win-win collaborations, such as proof of concept projects to deliver integrated solutions. It’s great to welcome Yili as strategic partner, as they will be a catalyst in enabling startups to get access to the fast-growing healthy food market in China and the rest of Asia.“

Yili Innovation Center Europe: gateway to Asia

StartLife and Yili team members

Yili ranks among the Global Dairy Top 5 and has sustained an undisputable position of No. 1 in Asia for seven successive years. Yili has the ambition to become the most-trusted healthy food provider across the world. Yili Innovation Center Europe (YICE), that is located in the same building complex as StartLife on Wageningen Campus, is the innovation bridge to Yili in China.

“From this agrifood hotspot we constantly work with European partners on research and knowledge transfer.” ~ Gerrit Smit

Gerrit Smit, Managing Director of YICE, comments “Our research facility has been part of the Food Valley region since 2013. From this agrifood hotspot we constantly work with European partners on research and knowledge transfer in the field of processing technology, new product development, food safety, and farmer management. With Europe’s leading agrifoodtech accelerator as our neighbor, it only made sense to partner up with StartLife to reach out to and include startups in our wider eco-system.”

Calling innovative agrifoodtech startups

Caroline Bijkerk, Corporate Partnerships Manager of StartLife, believes YICE, StartLife and agrifood startups have much in common, among which an entrepreneurial mindset and a drive to co-develop a healthy and sustainable food system. Gerrit agrees, “Our research and development center has the feel of a startup: plenty of room for entrepreneurship without a fixed trajectory.”

Caroline is looking forward to connecting innovative agrifoodtech startups to Yili. If you like to be connected to Yili, send Caroline a message.

About Yili

Founded in 1956, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. (Yili Group) has been the largest dairy producer in Asia. Utilizing technology, Yili aims to build the world’s leading R&D and industry-university research cooperation platform for the health food industry.

Yili was awarded “China’s Best Practices” of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative in 2017, and ranks third in “Top 50 Most Valuable Food Brands in the World” by Brand Finance in 2019.

The group proactively sources high-quality milk from the golden belt area in Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas and aims to become the world’s most trusted health food provider.

Note: on photo (from left to right) Caroline Bijkerk (Corporate Partnerships Manager, StartLife), Jan Meiling (Managing director, StartLife), Gerrit Smit (managing Director of Yili Innovation Center) and Matthias Eisner (Senior Scientist Product & Process Technology at YICE) at the reception room of Yili Innovation center in the Plus Ultra I building on Wageningen Campus.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scale-ups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Yield Lab Europe Expands Agrifood Fund And Partners Up With StartLife

The Yield Lab Europe has announced almost €50 million at second close for its sustainable agrifoodtech venture capital fund, investing in seed- to Series A-stage companies in Europe. They will also open an office on Wageningen Campus as part of a new partnership with StartLife. The Yield Lab Europe will be investor-in-residence with StartLife and actively investing in European agrifoodtech startups.

The Yield Lab Europe and StartLife have joined forces to collectively help promising agrifoodtech startups to scale and commercialize internationally. Investments will be made in startups with technologies that improve the environmental and carbon footprint of the food and agriculture industries, to support the vision and implementation of the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

Decarbonizing agriculture and food

Commenting on the fund close, Chairman Paul Finnerty said: “We believe that zero-carbon agriculture and food production is a tremendous opportunity and can be achieved by 2040. We have invested and will continue to invest in technologies to enable this transition, to position European agriculture as a global leader in decarbonizing agriculture and food.”

With their mutual interest in achieving a sustainable food system, Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, wholeheartedly welcomes The Yield Lab Europe to StartLife’s startup community and hub on Wageningen Campus.

“We look forward to working together and exploiting synergies of our shared competencies and resources.”

Jan Meiling: “We look forward to working together and exploiting synergies of our shared competencies and resources. With StartLife providing business development support, coaching and access to a global network in food & agri. And The Yield Lab adding their funding power and of course their own global network and expertise.”

In the heart of Food valley

Nicky Deasy and David Bowles, managing partners of The Yield Lab Europe, said: “We have known StartLife for quite some time already and are impressed with the quality of their business support to startups and their ability to scout and attract some of the best agrifoodtech startups in Europe.

“We look forward to opening an office in the heart of Food valley”

“We look forward to opening an office next to StartLife, in the heart of Food valley and home of Wageningen University & Research, a globally recognized leader in agrifoodtech innovation and sustainability.”

Lin Zhu, investor relations manager at StartLife, adds “We are open for business, so please contact StartLife if you are interested in raising smart capital, thus funding, expertise and network.”

About Yield Lab Europe

Yield Lab Europe is a leading funder of early stage agrifood and agtech companies that revolutionize agriculture and food systems seeking to sustainably feed the world. Yield Lab Europe provides venture capital funding up to two million euro per company.​ In addition to providing capital, it provides access to a global network of experts, corporates and investors to enable companies to successfully grow and commercialize internationally.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.


Döhler Ventures and StartLife Boosting Healthy Nutrition Innovation

Early-stage venture capital firm Döhler Ventures and StartLife announced today that they extend their running strategic partnership for another three years. The partnership is aimed at supporting startups that apply innovative technologies to develop healthy, natural nutrition and food ingredients.

Startups are a driving force in developing much needed innovative technologies that help develop safe and nutritious food in a sustainable way for our growing world population. But technology alone is not sufficient. To make a true impact, startups need investors for their belief and corporates for their mass impact.

“At StartLife all these parties come together which makes it a great platform for all parties involved, including us,” comments Rodrigo Hortega de Velasco, Venture Manager at Döhler Ventures.

Going above and beyond

Lin Zhu, Investor Relations Manager of StartLife, remarks that Döhler has gone above and beyond in supporting startups.

“Döhler Ventures provides startups in-depth industry insights and warm connections to relevant parties in their network. Next to being a seasoned investor, Rodrigo is also one of our much appreciated startup mentors. He is very approachable, supportive and highly committed to help startups overcome challenges and to grow. Clearly, we are very happy to continue our collaboration for the years to come.”

In for the long run

Döhler commits to partnerships for the long run. “That counts for the startups we invest in as well as our strategic partnership with StartLife,” says Rodrigo.

“We are pleased with the high-quality and relevant startups that StartLife has introduced us to. “

“We are pleased with the high-quality and relevant startups that StartLife has introduced us to. With some we are exploring partnership and investment opportunities. In addition, we highly appreciate the added value of being part of the StartLife ecosystem, and firmly support the ecosystem’s further growth. We definitely look forward to meeting and supporting more promising agrifood startups in the years to come with StartLife at our side.”

About Döhler Ventures

Döhler Ventures is the investment branch of the Döhler Group; a global producer, marketer and provider of technology-based natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industries.
Every day millions of people around the world consume food and beverage products that contain Döhler ingredients, including natural flavors and colors, dairy and plant-based ingredients as well as (dry) fruit, vegetable and fermented ingredients. With their early stage VC firm, Döhler Ventures, the company invests in startups that focus on the healthy, nutrition products and plant-based ingredient innovations.


p.s. You can follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

StartLife Partners With Leading Agricultural Manufacturer, Kubota


Kubota, the world’s leading agricultural manufacturer, has partnered with StartLife. By joining forces, the two organizations will work to identify challenges facing the agriculture sector, brainstorm new ideas and facilitate the exchange of conversation among partners in the industry. Kubota will also tap into StartLife’s ecosystem of visionary agrifoodtech startups to usher in fresh collaborations, such as pilots and proof of concept projects to deliver integrated solutions.

For both Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, and Peter van der Vlugt, General Manager of Kubota Innovation Center Europe, the partnership was a logical step, since both parties recently moved into the same office building on Wageningen Campus.

Collaboration: overcoming present and future challenges

With World Headquarters in Osaka, Japan, Kubota has been a frontrunner in the manufacture of agricultural equipment for over 130 years and has over 40,000 employees and offices in more than 120 countries across North America, Europe and Asia.

Through this partnership with StartLife, Kubota has access to a whole ecosystem of innovative agriculture startups to help overcome challenges facing the industry, including those emerging over the next decade and beyond.

Kubota also believes that this collaboration will generate a wide range of benefits for farmers, who are central to Kubota´s innovation efforts both now and in the future.

“As our neighbors in the FoodValley cluster, it would have been a missed opportunity for us not to partner with StartLife…”

Daria Batukhtina, Business Development Manager at Kubota Group Innovation Center Europe, comments:

“As our neighbors in the FoodValley cluster, it would have been a missed opportunity for us not to partner with StartLife, who we deem a very important facilitator in the agriculture ecosystem. We also believe they encompass the entrepreneurial spirit needed to face the challenges of the future.”

“The partnership was the next logical step for us in achieving our goal to accomplish activities with early-stage startups and open the door for new collaborations, such as pilots or proof of concept projects. We look forward to beginning this journey with StartLife.”

Expanding an ecosystem of expertise

Kubota is StartLife’s 11th corporate partner and will help bring a wealth of expertise to its ecosystem of startup members. Due to Kubota’s global footprint, StartLife also sees the collaboration as an opportunity to strengthen its presence outside the Netherlands, expanding its horizons across the world.

Global Partnerships Manager at StartLife, Caroline Bijkerk, comments:

“It is fantastic to have a new corporate partner in our community, especially a company so very well established in corporate startup engagement such as Kubota.”

“We at StartLife already have a very clear strategy of how to move forward with Kubota and we eagerly anticipate working together in the future.”

About Kubota

Kubota Corporation has been a leading manufacturer of agricultural, turf, hay and construction equipment since 1890. Since its founding, Kubota has placed considerable resources and investment into understanding and overcoming the agricultural challenges farmers face, by working closely with them worldwide. The brand statement, “For Earth, For Life”, speaks of Kubota’s commitment to the preservation of the earth’s natural environment while aiding the production of food and water supplies that are vital to societal needs as our world population continues to grow.


Note: on photo (from left to right) Peter van der Vlugt (General Manager, Kubota Innovation Center Europe), Caroline Bijkerk (Global Partnership Manager, StartLife) and Jan Meiling (Managing director, StartLife) in front of Plus Ultra II building on Wageningen Campus.


Icos Capital and StartLife Unite Forces In Building Agrifood Scale-ups

Announcement Icos Capital-StartLife Partnership

Icos Capital, a market-leading collaborative venture capital firm, has joined StartLife as investor partner. The partnership will see Icos Capital tap into StartLife’s sizable ecosystem while addressing the needs of agrifoodtech startups that are seeking guidance and investment.

Collaboration: a strategic approach to startup growth

Icos Capital is the sector’s premier early growth stage investor in Europe with investments in companies like Nutrileads (a StartLife alumnus), Gamaya, Innovopro and Bioactor. Icos and StartLife share their collaborative approach in which startups, corporates and investors are united to facilitate growth and impact for startups. The company believes that the new collaboration will help it tap into StartLife’s sizable ecosystem and actively engage with early and scale-up phase startups in the agrifood industry. Startups which could benefit significantly from meaningful training and business development support.

Founder and CEO of Icos Capital, Nityen Lal, comments: “We are impressed by the origination and professional contribution of StartLife to the agrifood venture capital industry. As an early stage venture capital firm with substantial interest in the agrifood sector, we look forward to working closely with StartLife and hope to meet high quality startups that have been curated and guided by the StartLife team.” 

International agrifoodtech startups

For StartLife, the partnership will address agrifoodtech startups that are seeking guidance and investment, helping them to progress through the growth challenges into becoming scale ups. StartLife also sees the deal as an opportunity to strengthen its presence outside the Netherlands and expand internationally across the world. 

Investor Relations Manager at StartLife, Lin Zhu, comments: As one of the top agrifood investors, it is exciting to engage in a new partnership with Icos Capital. It feels very natural for us to build a relationship with the company as there is a lot of overlap in our ambitions and the ecosystems we are embedded in.” 

“We believe Icos will be able to provide valuable, honest feedback to the companies in our ecosystem to better serve startups, not just at the domestic level, but also helping them to succeed internationally.”

About Icos Capital

Icos Capital is a collaborative venture capital firm working at the intersection of digital and sustainable industry. The firm engages corporations and financial institutions in a collaborative partnership to facilitate growth of promising scale-ups. Since 2005, Icos Capital has backed 20 ambitious startups and scale-ups at the intersection of digital and sustainable industry. Through collaborative venturing, Icos Capital has supported and continues to support companies with high potential to transform foodtech, agritech and industrial digitization. 


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

StartLife And Pymwymic Facilitating Growth Of Disruptive Agrifoodtech Startups

Worldwide the food supply chain is in dire need of innovations that aid the transition to a healthier and sustainable food system. Agrifoodtech startups with high potential solutions are now given an extra hand to get from pre-revenue stage to growth. Pymwymic, Europe’s oldest impact-driven growth investor, and StartLife, Europe’s first agrifoodtech accelerator, have partnered up to smoothen the transition between these vital startup stages and thus shorten the time needed for promising new agrifood technologies to reach their full potential.

Pymwymic typically only partakes when a startup passes an annual turnover of a half million euro. Through this partnership with StartLife, the impact investor becomes involved at a much earlier stage. This is beneficial for both Pymwymic as well as the startups, explains Rogier Pieterse, their managing director.

“We know how strategic decisions at an early-stage can impact later stage developments. Through early involvement we can help startups to better line up for growth and follow-up funding. By doing so we, both Pymwymic and StartLife, want to help startups reach their full potential faster. And when it comes to follow-up funding, it clearly helps if we have already have developed a good relationship with a startup.”

Impactful growth capital

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the pressing need for sustainable changes in the food system. In order for startups to reach a position where they can truly start making an impact, they need growth capital. For this reason, StartLife has set course to further facilitate accessing growth capital for their portfolio startups. Now we welcome Pymwymic as growth capital partner complementary to ou existing investor partners.

Both Pymwymic and StartLife target impact-driven tech startups from Europe that provide healthy and sustainable solutions within the food supply chain, from farm to fork. “With StartLife predominantly supporting pre-revenue startups and Pymwymic backing early-growth startups to scale up further, our partnership is an excellent symbiosis that paves the road for growth of much desired systemic innovation in the agri and food industry”, comments Lin Zhu, investor relations manager of StartLife.

New Health Food Systems Fund Ahead

The partnership of Pymwymic and StartLife is part of a larger collaboration agreement with Wageningen University & Research (WUR), one of StartLife’s co-founders. In the third quarter of this year, Pymwymic expects to launch a new fund called Healthy Food System Impact Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in early to growth-stage companies which are transforming the food system through innovative and disruptive technologies. The new fund will be based on the sustainable food system approach model designed by WUR.

About Pymwymic

Founded in 1994, Pymwymic is the “Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community”, a co-owned organization of European wealth holders who take a frontrunner role in the transition towards investing with care for people and planet. A community that consists of over 150 individuals, families, entrepreneurs and angel investors of different backgrounds, ages and nationalities. By combining knowledge, passion and money, Pymwymic brings credibility to the impact-investing industry and continuously pushes for higher standards until investing with care for people and planet is the new norm.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Anterra Capital Strengthens Ties with StartLife As Investor Partner

StartLife and Anterra Capital Investor Partnership

Anterra Capital, one of largest dedicated agrifoodtech venture capital firms in the world and a pioneer in the sector, has entered into an investor partnership with StartLife. Together we will back entrepreneurs who are building a healthier and sustainable food system. The partnership is an expansion of years of fruitful collaboration.

The announcement is made just one day after StartLife was founded exactly 10 years ago. “We did not plan it this way, but it is a great gift to pay forward to our startups!”, comments Lin Zhu, investor relations manager of StartLife.

Better access to growth capital

StartLife and Anterra Capital already work together since 2016 when they co-founded F&A Next, a global platform for agrifoodtech startups, scale-ups, investors and corporates. When StartLife recently decided to expand its investor partnerships; it only made sense for the two organizations to elevate their collaboration.

Lin: “In order for tech startups to excel and make a true impact, they need (better) access to smart capital. We have come to know Anterra Capital as a highly reputable and seasoned agrifood VC fund, with deep sector knowledge and a global reach. They are a trusted partner to help grow promising startups and to build a healthier food system for the world.”

The power of joined forces

Adam Anders, managing partner of Anterra Capital, calls the expansion of their partnership with StartLife a natural evolution of Anterra’s strong relationship with Wageningen University and StartLife over the years. “The whole idea behind F&A Next is to build connections and collaborations that boost technological innovation and make the agrifood industry more efficient, sustainable and healthier,” Adam explains.

“We are thrilled to see StartLife increase its commitment to innovation with the appointment of Lin Zhu as investor relations manager. The agrifood tech sector is continuing to grow and mature, demonstrated by the steadily improving volume and quality of startups partnering with StartLife. We look forward to working together to help these companies succeed and transform our food system.”

About Anterra Capital

Anterra Capital backs the entrepreneurs who are transforming our food economy. They are a specialist venture capital fund combining deep market knowledge and sector expertise with a passion for building groundbreaking technology companies. Anterra is active from company incubation to growth stage, looking to catalyze transformation with a world class network. Operating out of Amsterdam and Boston with a global outlook, they work closely with their portfolio companies and share their commitment to building a healthier food system.


Attend StartLife’s 10 Year Anniversary Event on December 9th!


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Shift Invest and StartLife Prolong Impact-driven Investment Partnership

Partnership Shift Invest & StartLife

Tech startups which help make the agrifood value chain more sustainable can rely another three years on the strategic partnership between StartLife and SHIFT Invest, the largest seed and early-stage impact investor for agrifood, biobased and circular sectors in the Netherlands. StartLife helps ambitious agrifoodtech startups to swiftly validate their business and become investor ready. SHIFT Invest provides the most promising ones with funding for their growth and the realization of their environmental impact potential.

SHIFT Invest has invested, among others, in StartLife alumni Chaincraft, Nutrileads and Fumi Ingredients. Both parties are keen to take the partnership to the next level. With an growing sense of urgency to shift to a different and circular economy, SHIFT Invest has recently launched its 3rd fund at a total €70 million. The larger fund allows SHIFT Invest to help impact-driven startups also overcome one of their biggest challenges, scaling their business.

Investing in Zebra’s and Camels: Impactful, Profitable and Resilient

Both StartLife and SHIFT Invest are keen on backing startups that combine societal impact with profitability at reasonable speed, known as Zebra’s. Covid-19 has also demonstrated the importance of startups being resilient to big, unexpected changes. Extraordinary resilient startups are sometimes referred to as Camels, as they know how to cope with the most unexpected and variable changes.

“These combined terms seem to some it up nicely”, says Florentine Fockema, partner at SHIFT Invest. “We are interested in impact-driven entrepreneurs who are extremely ambitious and know how and when to pivot if needed. They must be flexible and be able to keep course.”

Shared mission and values

The two partnering organizations also recognize the importance of shared missions and values. Florentine: “We see that when people truly share the mission and values of their organization they are willing to make an extra effort, and as such be able to overcome a hard hit.”

Sharing a mission and values is equally important for a successful partnership. Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife: “We have extremely good ties with SHIFT Invest. They are really nice and competent people to work with and we indeed have strong common ground – we both believe start startups are in the lead to push us to a more sustainable food industry and world altogether. We look forward to jointly help make a difference.”


p.s. You can  also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifoodtech startups, scale-ups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Citrosuco And StartLife On Joint Quest To Make Juice Industry Fully Sustainable

Image Partnership Citrosuco-StartLife Today, the Brazilian juice giant Citrosuco announces a strategic partnership with StartLife. The company has teamed up with the StartLife to gain better access to European startups, in particular those with new technologies that can help the juice value chain become 100% sustainable. Citrosuco offers startups funding and technical and operational expertise.

As one of the world’s largest producers of orange juice and orange-based ingredients, Citrosuco is committed to drive the transformation to a 100% sustainable juice value chain by 2030. Citrosuco believes that the innovative power and focus of startups will help them reach breakthroughs much faster. “Startups have creative ideas and are often forerunners in new technologies. We have operational and product expertise, (testing) facilities and both the opportunity and knowledge to scale up new technologies. It just makes sense to combine our forces”, says Alex Marie Schuermans, Product Development and Applications General Manager of Citrosuco.

Searching for foodtech and agtech startups

Searching for the right startups is labor intensive, requires specific skills and a wide network in the European startup community, for which Citrosuco also utilizes the power of collaboration. Alex: “We have come to know StartLife as one of Europe’s leading agrifoodtech accelerators with a solid support program and a rapidly expanding network in Europe. They also have a proven track record in matching startups with corporates. As such, we believe StartLife is in an excellent position to help us achieve our goals.”


Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager of StartLife, is also very pleased with this new partnership. “Two of every ten glasses of orange juice consumed around the globe are produced by Citrosuco. Imagine the impact when they apply new technologies which reduce waste, energy and water consumption or contribute to even healthier nutrition, to just name a few examples. Citrosuco offers a wide array of opportunities for both foodtech and agtech startups to contribute to a sustainable food supply chain as well as to grow their own business at the same time. Clearly we look forward to help making this happen.”

About Citrosuco

As a private company, Citrosuco is a global supplier of orange juice and orange-based ingredients with operations in the entire orange juice value chain—from citrus groves through processing to distribution in more than 100 countries. The company is in charge of growth, production and delivery of orange juice and orange-based ingredients. With 20% of the global market share and accounting for 40% of all orange juice produced and exported by Brazil, Citrosuco is one of the largest orange juice producers in the world.


p.s. You can  also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifoodtech startups, scale-ups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

StartLife Takes Startup Branding To Next Level With HLO Branding Agency


StartLife is excited to announce a new partnership with HLO Branding Agency aimed at helping young agrifood brands to grow and stand out from the crowd.

Startups have loads of great ideas for innovative products and services, but it can sometimes be challenging to market those brilliant ideas in a clear and attractive way that helps the brand to separate itself from its competitors. But with the right support it doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why HLO Branding Agency and StartLife have joined forces to help entrepreneurs!

No story, no startup

As an innovator in the agrifood industry you put all of your energy into the development of your product or service. What you’re doing is so groundbreaking that you’re going to change the world and corner the market! But translating a brilliant idea into a market-ready product is not as simple as it seems. You need a memorable presentation, clear information and most of all; an appealing story. This enables you to convince people of your mission and unique offering, initially to find partners and secure funding, but of course eventually to conquer the world too!

Clearing obstacles

Bram van Beek, marketing manager of StartLife: “We regularly see startup entrepreneurs struggle to make the leap when it comes to branding their business. Considering most of our startup entrepreneurs have an academic or tech background, this makes perfect sense. Their skill sets are generally suited more to developing their product portfolio and less to marketing it. To clear this obstacle from our entrepreneurs’ paths we decided to look for an expert partner. HLO Branding Agency has over twenty years of experience in branding and re-branding in the agrifood space, with a particular focus on branding for startups, so it made perfect sense for us to join forces.”

Turning customers into fans

Isabella van Reeuwijk, Brand strategy director HLO Branding Agency: “We have worked with StartLife in the past and are inspired by the passion and expertise with which they support innovative startups in the early growth phase of their business. This is very much in line with our own vision: we help brands grow by presenting them to the market in a credible, dura-ble and attractive way. Always with a smart brand strategy as a starting point.

We are a people centred agency. We love innovative entrepreneurs who put their heart and soul into their business. We help them translating their passion and conviction into an au-thentic brand personality which turns customers into fans. We’re very excited by this new partnership with StartLife and their roster of startups, and look forward to achieving great results together.”


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.


Normec Foodcare Joins StartLife for Aiding FoodTech Startups

On photo: Loet Rammelsberg, Roger Nass, Jan Meiling in front of new upcoming StartLife office 

StartLife and Normec Foodcare have joined forces to help innovative food(tech) startups get their impactful food products and technologies faster to market. By making highly specialized food compliance knowledge and services more and more easily accessible to food startups, they want to help them overcome the daunting task of figuring out all requirements they must abide to and obtain the certifications they need.

It needs no explanation to understand that food safety and quality requires in-depth knowledge of a rather complex set of international food laws and regulations. “If it is already a challenging execution for large and experienced food concerns, imagine how tough it is for inexperienced, small food startups.”, says Loet Rammelsberg, program director of StartLife. “Therefore we wholeheartedly welcome the expertise and support of Normec Foodcare.”

Making impact-driven ideas thrive

Normec Foodcare initiated the partnership with StartLife based on their ambition to deliver added value throughout the chain as a knowledge partner in the field of food safety, product quality and taste. “We believe that no one has the exclusive right to a good idea. Let alone the impact it can have. The best results are achieved when working together. That is why we join forces with partners like StartLife”, explains Roger Nass, director Sales & Marketing of Normec Foodcare. Loet concurs. “We share the believe that collaboration is key to making an impact-driven idea thrive. That makes our organizations a great match.”

Number 1 in Food & Agri Worldwide

Considering the close ties between StartLife and Wageningen University & Research, Normec Foodcare is proud to broaden their collaboration with the number 1 knowledge institute in Food & Agri worldwide. “Through our additional partnership with StartLife, we look forward to helping impact-driven food startups with solutions and advice in areas such as food safety, quality, process control, laboratory testing, label control, legislation and training & education,” says Roger, “and contribute to shaping the future of food.”

About Normec Foodcare

Normec Foodcare originates from a collaboration between leading laboratories, expertise and consultancy firms, and inspection and training organizations in the food sector. All with decades of experience. Together they form Normec Foodcare: knowledge partner in food safety, product quality and taste. By joining forces we help organizations with food consultancy, lab analyzes and sensory research to make an even better contribution to quality throughout the entire chain. From raw material to consumer.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Lidl Provides Shelf Space To StartLife Startups During Future Goods Week


For the second year in a row Lidl and StartLife co-organize the Lidl Future Goods Week. From July 9th you will find six sustainable food products from promising startups in all Lidl stores in the Netherlands. With this initiative Lidl provides food startups the opportunity to get their first retail experience, whilst Lidl works on its mission to make sustainable products available to and affordable for a large audience at the same time.

Sharing knowledge

Lidl feels it is important to use their knowledge and experience to help small companies kick-off successfully. At the same time Lidl learns from the startups, who show courage and vigor by developing their own product. As one of Europe’s leading agrifood accelerators StartLife is involved in the Lidl Future Goods Week by scouting and screening food startups that develop products contributing to the sustainability of our food chain. Erik van den Hoogen, senior purchasing manager at Lidl, explains: “StartLife knows which concepts are disruptive and solid and how Lidl can help attain an even more efficient and sustainable food production”.

From 100 to 1000s consumers

Producing and selling a large number of products at consistent quality that meets all food (safety) regulations is a daunting challenge, in particular for startups. At StartLife we feel that the Future Goods Week offers startups an excellent chance to build up ‘retail experience’ and learn valuable lessons. Caroline Bijkerk, global partnership manager at StartLife, elaborates: “With support from StartLife and Lidl experts the startups get the change to scale their production from hundreds to thousands consumers with products that meet all requirements. This is an unique opportunity for the startups to hit the shelves and start making a true impact”.

Lidl’s Future Goods Selection

From eleven startups that were given the opportunity to pitch their products at Lidl’s Headquarters in the Netherlands the following six Future Goods products made it to the shelves at Lidl.

  • Farmer&Foodie burger, a plant-based burger made from side stream materials like tomato and mushrooms,
  • BrewBar, a bar made from brewers’ spent grains,
  • Little Hoppers, mini sausage rolls filled with crickets,
  • SauerCrowd, fermented vegetables with gut-friendly lactic acid bacteria,
  • This is Not Parmesan, plant-based cheese made in the Netherlands,
  • JOAN, tea grown in the Netherlands.



p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Limagrain Explores Partnership Opportunities At Wageningen Campus

Limagrain Innovation Day 2020 at Wageningen CampusThis week we held a virtual Innovation Day for and with one of StartLife’s newest corporate partners, Limagrain. Limagrain, one of the largest seed companies worldwide, actively explored their partnership opportunities with the StartLife community on Wageningen Campus. And when we say active, we mean active!

Devoted to innovation

We were impressed with Limagrain’s truly company-wide interest and devotion to startups, innovation and new partnerships. We had the pleasure to get acquainted with well over 50 Limagrain staff members, including innovation managers, R&D staff and heads of department. The Limagrain staff met with a wide array of people and organizations on Wageningen Campus, amongst which 14 innovative startups with which they had dedicated in-depth Meet & Greet sessions.


Valérie MAZZA, head of Scientific Affairs and Innovation of Limagrain, provided the following reflection on the Innovation Day: “Today our young partnership with StartLife has gotten wings. We have all been inspired so much and learned a great deal from our interaction with the startups and other organizations we met. We are thrilled to have partnered with StartLife and look forward to future meetings and connections to be made.”

Rabobank And StartLife Extend Strategic Partnership To Drive Food & AgTech Innovation

Rabobank-StartLife Extend Partnership May 2020

Rabobank and StartLife announced today that they have extended their strategic partnership aimed at supporting impactful food and agtech startups for another three years. Both parties feel it is vital to ensure innovative and sustainable solutions that help secure the future of our global food supply get the best chances to succeed. Now more than ever.

“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed alarming fragility in our agrifood supply chains. It demonstrates the undisputed urgency of investing in a more resilient agrifood system. We need the creativity, agility and eagerness of startups to make that change.” With these words Mariska de Kleijne, director Rabobank, underlines the importance of the partnership between Rabobank and StartLife. “Startups can help make the change, but need all the support they can get. Together with StartLife we can provide startups the support they need.”

First European platform for startups and investors

Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, concurs fully to Mariska’s words. “At StartLife we strongly believe that the innovative capacity of startups are, and will be, the driving force behind the innovations needed to meet the global food demand in the future.” At the same time Jan believes startups cannot manage by themselves but need collaboration with the big corporates for their mass impact and investors for their belief. “For this reason StartLife and Rabobank co-founded, together with Anterra Capital and Wageningen University & Research, F&A Next five years ago, which (still) is the leading European platform for investors, startups and scaleups in the F&A domain. We could not have pulled that off single-handedly.“

Agrifood startup nursery

Gerben Dijksterhuis, innovation manager at Rabobank, loves working with StartLife’ startups. “StartLife is a startup nursery in the field of agri-food, which makes it a great place to connect with the bright and ambitious minds that are the creators of innovative startups. Like FUMI Ingredients.” FUMI Ingredients, a spin off from Wageningen University & Research, developed the world’s first all-natural egg-white replacer that -at the same- is potentially cheaper than regular chicken egg protein. “They won the Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award last year and have the potential to truly make a difference. It is exciting to see how such a company makes incredible progress in such a short period of time.”

Added value to startups

“It is undisputed that Rabobank and StartLife have a great partnership going,” says Jan Meiling. “The enthusiasm and helping hand of Rabobank and their staff is truly amazing. They provide our startups with valuable industry insights, help make connections with customers that are leading companies in the F&A domain and offer our startups friendly funding facilities like subordinated innovation loans. We look forward to continuing our partnership for decades to come.”

Photo: Because of the Covid-19 health protection measures the extension of the partnership was heralded with an energetic virtual high five by Mariska de Kleijne (Rabobank) and Jan Meiling (StartLife), facilitated bij Gerben Dijksterhuis (Rabobank).


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Royal Cosun Opens Doors For Innovative Agtech Startups With StartLife

Virtual Champaign Toasting on Partnership between Cosun and StartLife
Because of the Covid-19 health protection measures the start of the partnership was heralded with a remote champagne toast by the signees of the agreement.

Today, 23 April 2020, Royal Cosun and StartLife announce a strategic partnership aimed to actively connect innovative agtech startups with Cosun. Cosun’s ambition is to be a leader in plant based innovations. To increase their innovative strength and development speed they seek out for close collaborations with innovative startups.

Cosun has set out the ambition to be 100% plant based, circular and transparent by 2030. Entrepreneurship and open innovation play a key role in reaching their ambition and so Cosun is opening their doors for innovative agtech startups, with the help of StartLife. “Cosun already works closely with Wageningen University & Research, so it only made sense to enter into a partnership with StartLife who is also based on Wageningen Campus and is one of Europe’s leading agrifood accelerators,” explains Frank van Noord, VP Cosun Innovation.

Sharing R&D facilities and coaching

Cosun has a lot to offer to agrifood startups. First of all, startups are welcomed to use the R&D facilities at Cosun’s innovation center in Dinteloord. Secondly, the company offers individual coaching and brainpower to startups. “We know how to scale up a new business. And we are familiar with all challenges and hurdles that you face when bringing an innovation to the market,” says Frank. “Our experts look forward to coaching young entrepreneurs and help them think through their business case.”

Making a difference together

Cosun is a valuable addition to StartLife’s current lineup of corporate partnerships. “Cosun’s focus on plant based innovations and agtech, our overlapping innovation themes and shared vision of innovating with startups makes our organizations a great match,” says Jan Meiling. “We are also particularly fond of the 2030 ambitions of Cosun. They really want to make a difference – just like StartLife and our startups.”

About Royal Cosun

Royal Cosun is a modern cooperative that processes arable crops and other vegetable raw materials. They work with thousands of growers, both members of the cooperative and suppliers. Cosun recognizes the enormous potential of plants and knows how to turn them into practical solutions for everyday life. The Cosun business groups (Aviko, Duynie, Sensus, Suiker Unie and SVZ) produce not only plant based ingredients and foodstuffs for people and animals, but also green, biobased applications and energy.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.


Klasmann-Deilmann Extends Corporate Partnership with StartLife

corporate partner startlife klasmann-deilmann substrate horticulture
Signing partnership agreement in 2017 by (from left to right) Ted Vollebregt , Jan Meiling, and Sjors Beijer.

In May 2017 Klasmann-Deilmann entered into a strategic partnership with StartLife. The partnership was aimed at boosting their innovation development program and gaining access to innovative startups in commercial horticulture. As the collaboration exceeded their expectations by far, the market leader in professional horticulture substrates decided to extend their corporate partnership for another three years.

“StartLife has demonstrated to be a truly valuable partner in further developing our innovation road map and help initiating our corporate-startup engagement,” says Ted Vollebregt, managing director of Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux. “The StartLife staff gave us great input for our innovation program and has been very helpful in building bridges to numerous organizations,” adds Sjors Beijer, Innovation Manager at Klasmann-Deilmann.

Innovation community

Ted Vollebregt notes that they have learned a great deal from their interactions with startups, most notably from Sigrow with whom they partnered up with, but also from the close contacts with the other corporate partners of StartLife. “The corporate partners of StartLife cover a broad section of the value chain, which allows us to gain from a diverse set of experiences on corporate-startup engagement and a more holistic perspective on developments in the market.”

Finding horticultural talents

Wageningen is an excellent spot to connect with business peers and stay up-to-date with latest developments. For Klasmann-Deilmann, Wageningen has also proven to be an excellent source of horticultural talents. Sjors Beijer explains: “It is challenging to find good staff in commercial horticulture. Our close connections with Wageningen Campus, among them StartLife, are helpful in finding the right people. During our partnership with StartLife we have successfully attracted several talented employees from Wageningen University & Research who are now employed with us in several parts in the world.”

Stirred, not shaken

For Caroline Bijkerk, who is fully dedicated to making each corporate partnership with StartLife successful for all parties involved, the extension is as much a business success as personally rewarding. “Getting the right mix of corporate partners, startups and other stakeholders together can be a challenging task. It is a cocktail of diverse organizational cultures, shared believes, love for innovation and much more, stirred but not shaken by the desire to create real impact,” expresses Caroline Bijkerk. “I look forward to the following three years of collaboration with the team of Klasmann-Deilmann.”


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on Linkedin, Twitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.


StartLife Becomes Partner Of EIT Food

Logos of Partners EIT Food and StartLife

StartLife proudly announces to have been accepted as Network Partner in EIT Food, a pan-European consortium that focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the food sector. Its members are world-class players in the international food and agricultural domain. Being a member of EIT Food enables StartLife to connect with new startups and partners as well as participate in activities that help to create and scale-up impactful food and agtech startups.

Building bridges

Both StartLife and EIT Food support innovative impactful startups to deliver new food innovations and transform the industry. There are many different EIT Food activities aimed at creating and scaling-up food startups that help build a future proof food system. “As official Network Partner StartLife is now in the position to contribute and participate in these activities and help connect our startups with even more world-class players in the food domain,” explains Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife.

Shared agenda

Dr. Georg Schirrmacher, Director of EIT Food Central, welcomes StartLife wholeheartedly as new member of the EIT Food community. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. This famous quote definitely applies to the mission of EIT Food,” says Dr. Schirrmacher. “As an active and trusted player in the European startup ecosystem, StartLife is a great addition to our consortium. By bringing all key players together, we are building a shared vision for the future of food, and a shared agenda to transform it and make it better.”


EIT Food is a Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe. EIT Food entails a unique and growing network of partners that provide a holistic view of the ag-food value chain, including key industry players, agrifood startups, research centres and universities from across Europe. The EIT Food community members work closely together to deliver an innovative and entrepreneurial ag-food sector that is more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

Logo EIT FOOD with EU flag


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on Linkedin, Twitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.


4 Reasons For Talking To A Patent Attorney At An Early Stage

EP&C Patent Attorney Mark Jolink

This month EP&C, a patent attorney agency, extends their partnership agreement with StartLife. StartLife helps early stage technology startups to validate their business, find investors and achieve their growth ambitions. Patent protection is crucial at this early stage, so EP&C help the young entrepreneurs with this. In recent years, the company has assisted them with patent applications, Freedom To Operate studies and more. And they will continue to do so in the coming years.

Many entrepreneurs, both those starting out and more experienced ones, only realize when it is too late just how important it is to talk with a patent attorney at an early stage. There are several good reasons for doing so. Mark Jolink from EP&C explains.

Reason 1:
We can identify third party patent rights at an early stage

Many entrepreneurs are so busy developing their product, setting up their business and finding investors that they forget about their competitors’ patent rights. You may know who your competitors are, but do you know what their patent rights are? This is a question that investors regularly ask. So you must look into this. You can either do so yourself or have someone else do it for you. However, if you fail to do so, you run the risk of developing a product that infringes someone else’s intellectual property rights. This brings me to my next point.

Reason 2:
It is still fairly easy to tweak the design

The sooner you know about the patent rights of others, the easier it tends to be to make minor changes to a design and work around existing patents so that you can enter the market without infringing them. It is, of course, also possible to do this at a later stage but it is often much more expensive then. After all, it costs a lot more money to change an entire production line than to modify a concept.

Reason 3:
We can discuss R&D results at an early stage

Innovative entrepreneurs often overlook two things in the development process. First of all, they often fail to realize that they are making simple but valuable inventions. Secondly, they sometimes disclose information about new products before they have been patented. In which case, the invention will no longer meet the novelty requirement and they can no longer apply for a patent on it. By discussing the R&D results with a patent attorney at an early stage, you can avoid these pitfalls.

By looking at these things together, we can learn about the inventions that seem obvious to you, and you will not disclose any information you should be keeping to yourself. This will ultimately make your patent portfolio a lot stronger. It will also increase the value of your company and strengthen your position in the market.

Reason 4:
We increase the chance of investment

At StartLife, where finding investors is an important goal, we often encounter that a proposition is much more investor ready after a sound check on intellectual property is done. Thanks to their better understanding of the opportunities and threats related to their intellectual property rights, they come across more professionally and have a better grip on the situation. People are more likely to invest in an organisation that knows what it has already done, or wants to do, when it comes to patents.

Small investment

Talking to a patent attorney at an early stage means more traction on the initial steps of your business. Many entrepreneur only take this step once their technologies are at a more advanced stage. This may seem logical, but it can ultimately cost a lot more time and definitely money. Even a short meeting with a patent attorney can provide you with so much relevant information for your company that it is well worth the small investment.

Learn more about EP&C and how they can help your agrifood startup.


p.s. You can also follow StartLife on LinkedinTwitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.

Catalyze and StartLife Partner Up to Maximize Funding for Agrifood Startups

Neeltje Ramnaths of Catalyze and Jan Meiling of StartLife shake hands after signing strategic partnership

What if funding wasn’t a barrier to innovation? With this question in mind funding consultancy firm Catalyze and agrifood accelerator StartLife today announced they have entered into a strategic partnership. The partnership aims to help innovative agrifood startups establishing an optimal long-term non-dilutive funding strategy. By joining forces they expect to better enable game changing startups to realize their full potential.

Many potentially game changing innovations don’t reach their full potential as a result of lacking funds. Program director Loet Rammelsberg said: “It’s such a shame seeing high potential startups fail because they are short of funding. In Europe it is particularly difficult to attract early stage venture capital for startups with a high-risk profile. As a result, they are mostly reliant on non-dilutive funding. We truly believe that together with Catalyze we are better equipped helping agri-food startups succeed and also help prevent founders having sleepless nights over funding issues.”

The right mix

Neeltje Ramnath, manager Agri, Food and Bio-economy of Catalyze, feels the same way. “It is exciting to know that there are billions of Euro’s available for innovative companies. We fully understand the challenge in finding the right grants and being successful in applying.” Next to successfully winning subsidies and taking away the associated administrative burdens Catalyze helps companies secure their financing needs by establishing an optimal mix of financial instruments. This includes bank loans and venture capital but also fiscal arrangements.

Neeltje provides an interesting example of how founders of an early stage company can shoot themselves in the foot by paying themselves little or no wages. “Although we fully understand the rationale behind this, a subsidy can actually enable raising the founders’ wages with little impact on the startup’s finances.”

Moving mountains

StartLife is the first startup accelerator that Catalyze officially partners up with. Neeltje explains: “We found out that several startups that we already supported, were part of StartLife. They all spoke very enthusiastic about the StartLife Accelerate program, which lead us to get into contact with them.”

Loet quickly came to appreciate the in depth knowledge of the agrifood business of Catalyze as well as their entrepreneurial spirit. “They share our common purpose and drive to help startups succeed. Once committed they really go for it. I am convinced we can move mountains together and look forward doing so.”

StartLife And BDO Continue Collaboration To Support Food & Agri Startups In The Foodvalley

Rachel Dibbets of DBO and Jan Meiling signing partnership agreement

StartLife and BDO continue their collaboration to support Food & Agri startups in the Foodvalley. The goal for the coming years is to help even more startups make a positive impact.

When you start your own company, it is not only important to validate customer needs but also to have up-to-date and accurate insights into your business finances. BDO helps startups and scaleups from the StartLife community to obtain these insights. In addition, BDO provides the startups with strategic advice and brings them into contact with parties from their own network. The collaboration is greatly appreciated by all parties involved, so a follow-up was in the offing.

Gateway to partners

As one of the largest accounting and consulting organizations in the world, BDO has an enormous network, from research institutions to companies, both large and small. Due to their role and position they know very well what is going on with their clients, what they find important and where their needs lie. Rachel Dibbets, senior consultant accountant at BDO, confirms this. “We can quickly estimate what advice and guidance startups need to help them grow. In addition, we are happy to go the extra mile for our clients by, for example, putting startups in contact with other organizations that may be of interest to them and bringing them in contact with the right people. We not only find this a valuable contribution, but also enjoy doing so.

During the earlier collaboration Jan Meiling, Managing Director at StartLife, soon noticed that BDO has very close relationships with their customers, which allows them to lay very good connections. What Meiling particularly appreciates about the relationship with BDO is that they are above all very active in connecting startups to their huge network.

In the video below you can see how BDO connected food startup UmaMeats, one of the startups of StartLife, to one of the most innovative catering companies in the Netherlands, Hutten. (in Dutch)

Growing number of ambitious companies requires more intensive cooperation

Both StartLife and BDO note that more and more startups and scaleups are settling in the Foodvalley region. The ambitions are often high and the challenges are becoming increasingly complex, as evidenced by the issues that the startups present. “Of course everyone is very happy with this development,” says Rachel Dibbets. “Together with StartLife we ​​want to offer these growth companies even more support to flourish, sometimes literally but mostly figuratively.” This includes support on topics such as internationalization, legal structures and agreements, but also ad hoc advice with regard to staffing, business valuation models, taxes and strategic (growth) issues.


Limagrain Enters into Partnership With StartLife

Team of StartLife and Limagrain toasting on the kickoff of their partnership

Yesterday Limagrain, the Fourth Largest Seed Company Worldwide, and StartLife entered into a partnership for a close collaboration in the next three years. The partnership is aimed at moving agriculture forward to meet the huge food challenges that our world faces. Limagrain will benefit from early access to innovative projects from qualified startups, dealing with all the value chain regarding agriculture, emerging technologies, new processes and new food products fitting with strategic needs.

Fulfilling global food needs

The partnership between Limagrain and StartLife will help face the challenge to feed close to 10 billion people by 2050. “In order to fill our global food needs we must increase our agricultural production by more than 70%, whilst taking climate changes into account and preserving our invaluable natural resources at the same time. This partnership will aid in developing and improving agriculture practices, for everybody and everywhere and in accelerating innovative and responsible agri-food solutions”, says Valérie Mazza, head of Scientific Affairs and Innovation of Limagrain.

Innovation and scouting partner

StartLife will be Limagrain’s innovation and scouting partner. We will support Limagrain to further expand their innovation ecosystem by acting as a connector and early startup innovation enabler with agri-entrepreneurs. Valérie Mazza: “We chose StartLife as our partner because they are the leading food and agritech startup accelerator in Europe and have a great track record as intermediary between corporates and startups.

Opening doors for startups

Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, is also very excited to welcome Limagrain as new partner. “Entrepreneurs who enter into StartLife’s programs will immediately benefit from this partnership. It provides them with in-depth industry knowledge, capabilities to scaleup upstream technologies, access to other partners in the value chain, as well as valuable reality checks.

About Limagrain

Limagrain is an agricultural cooperative owned by nearly 1,500 farmers located in Limagne Val d’Allier (in the center of France), and an international seed group with more than 10,000 employees in 56 countries. The Group breeds, produces and distributes field seeds, vegetable seeds and cereal products. Focused on the genetic progress of plants, it is driven by its purpose: cooperating for the progress of agriculture everywhere, for everyone.

As the fourth largest seed company worldwide, Limagrain, with well-known brands on their markets such as LG, Vilmorin, Hazera, Harris Moran, Jacquet and Brossard, makes 1,883 million euros in sales, to which is added 678 million euros made jointly with its strategic partners.

StartLife and five other prominent Dutch university-linked Incubators commit to Fundsup

The six most important Dutch university incubators, including StartLife, will collaborate with Fundsup, a platform that brings startups into contact with investors. The other incubators are YES!Delft, Bright Move in Eindhoven, Novel-T from Twente, the Amsterdam ACE Incubator and UtrechtInc.

Fundsup is a platform that brings startups into contact with investors. With the partnership, StartLife’s startups can come into contact with a suitable investor faster and they can they can expand their investor network.

4-bullets Factsheet

  • What’s new? The incubators of all six major Dutch universities will collaborate with Fundsup: YES!Delft, Bright Move (Eindhoven), Novel-T (Twente), Startlife (Wageningen), ACE Incubator (UvA, VU, HvA, Amsterdam UMC) and UtrechtInc.
  • Why? To make it easier for their early-stage startups to come into contact with smart capital.
  • Because? Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time (and money) on finding suitable investors who, in addition to capital, also bring in their network and knowledge. This has an inhibiting effect on innovation in the Netherlands.
  • The result? More suitable investment opportunities for individual early-stage investors + more smart capital for startups = more innovation in the Netherlands + more efficient use of public funds.

Build up a Relevant Investor Network

By using Fundsup, it becomes much easier for startup founders to build up a relevant investor network. Fundsup also offers them insights into the traction their company receives from investors. Incubator startups are also given a badge for recognition, making it instantly clear to investors that these startups are connected to an incubator and which one.

Arjen Strijker, founder of Fundsup, is pleased with all these new collaborations: “The fact that we have connected almost all university incubators in such a short period of time confirms once again that Fundsup fulfills an enormous need in the world of early-stage financing”.

For incubators it’s indeed a great challenge to build up and maintain an informal investor network for their startups. The choice for a partnership with Fundsup is therefore a logical one. The platform efficiently creates valuable connections between screened startups and verified investors, thereby facilitating high quality deal flow.

Social Impact

The collaborations between Fundsup and these six incubators also generate a valuable social impact. The fact that the market for early-stage investments has so far been opaque and highly inefficient, which slowed down innovation in The Netherlands. By collaborating with incubators, Fundsup facilitates interregional and international improved access to high quality risk capital.

“This so-called smart capital makes more private money and — above all — expertise available. Which is so much needed amongst early-stage startups. The Dutch government, which has so far financed 60% to 70% of all early-stage startups in The Netherlands with relatively ‘dumb’ capital in a fairly arbitrary manner, can now deploy our taxpayers’ money in a much more supportive manner, alongside real smart capital” says Strijker. By definition, this will lead to more innovation.

Jan Meiling, Managing Director StartLife, about the partnership with Fundsup: “StartLife has supervised 300+ food & agri startups. Attracting venture capital and linking with informal investors has proven to be a time-consuming process. With Fundsup we give our startups access to an online platform where supply and demand come together.”

About Fundsup

Fundsup is a matchmaking platform that facilitates meaningful connections between entrepreneurs and early-stage investors. Entrepreneurs in need of capital create an extensive company profile that they can publish after screening by Fundsup or a Fundsup partner. In this way, they can efficiently and effectively bring their company to the attention of a rapidly growing network of investors that are right for them.

In turn, investors on Fundsup can find interesting new startups more easily and anonymously. They simply indicate their investment criteria by means of filters. When a new deal opportunity that meets their criteria is published, they receive a push notification in the Fundsup app (iOS and Android). If the investor is indeed interested, then it is possible to contact the entrepreneur directly via a chat function.

Currently, 380+ Dutch investors already use Fundsup. Roughly 80% of them are informal investors and 20% are VCs, government funds and Regional Development Agencies. More than 2,500 registered startups are using Fundsup today.

For more information on Fundsup see: fundsup.co

For more information on the collaboration of StartLife and Fundsup: contact Loet Rammelsberg, StartLife Program Manager, at loet.rammelsberg@start-life-oud.inthemake.nl.

Givaudan fosters entrepreneurship and innovation in the food sector through partnership with StartLife

Givaudan, the world’s leading flavour and fragrance company, announced today a new partnership with StartLife, the leading agrifoodtech accelerator in Europe. This is the latest example of Givaudan’s strategy to enable the development of real-world applications for disruptive ideas and breakthrough technologies to deliver superior and sustainable solutions for the food industry.

StartLife, which is based on the campus of Wageningen University & Research – the leading agriculture and food technology university in the Netherlands – will be Givaudan’s innovation and scouting partner. The organisation will support Givaudan to further expand its innovation ecosystem by acting as a connector and early startup innovation enabler with Dutch-based food entrepreneurs.

Givaudan’s Head of Science & Technology, Flavours, Fabio Campanile, said: “Givaudan’s Front End Innovation Ecosystem is constantly evolving as new ‘hot spots’ of activity emerge. The Netherlands and Wageningen is clearly an emerging place for foodtech, and this is where we want to build mutually beneficial collaborations.

“Our partnership with StartLife forms part of our wider commitment to address global food challenges through collaboration and innovation. We are engaging with top universities with strong research capabilities and with the ability to commercialise intellectual property. Partnering with StartLife enables us to engage with the reseach and emerging startup mentality on the Wageningen campus, which is becoming a centre of co-innovation for The Netherlands. We offer them technological and scale up know-how and market access facilities which can only boost their chance of success.”

StartLife’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship in Food and Agtech by supporting entrepreneurs and their teams as they build their business ideas into global enterprises with a lasting impact.

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife said: “We currently work with over 300 startup enterprises and believe they are the propelling force behind the food and agtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. Our partnership with Givaudan will provide startups with access to a wealth of food science knowledge and expertise to help them navigate challenges in their product development journeys.”

About Givaudan

Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavours and fragrances. In close collaboration with food, beverage, consumer product and fragrance partners, Givaudan develops tastes and scents that delight consumers the world over. With a passion to understand consumers’ preferences and a relentless drive to innovate, Givaudan is at the forefront of creating flavours and fragrances that ‘engage your senses’. The Company achieved sales of CHF 5.5 billion in 2018. Headquartered in Switzerland with local presence in over 145 locations, the Company has almost 13,600 employees worldwide. Givaudan invites you to discover more at www.givaudan.com.

About Givaudan Flavours

Givaudan’s comprehensive knowledge of local flavours, extensive global footprint and strategic insights enable close partnerships with customers wherever they may be. With a customised approach to product creation, the Flavour Division is a powerhouse of knowledge, innovation and creativity equipped to surprise customers and consumers with fresh, unique ideas and solutions. Givaudan creates lasting flavour and taste experiences that touch emotions across key segments including beverages, sweet goods, savoury and snacks; regardless of product category Givaudan’s passion is to make food and beverage products taste delicious. We invite you to ‘engage your senses’ and learn more about Flavours at www.givaudan.com/flavours.

About StartLife

StartLife believes that startups are the propelling force behind the food and agtech innovations required to meet future global food demand. StartLife fosters entrepreneurship in food and agtech and supports entrepreneurs in translating innovative business ideas into global enterprises. StartLife collaborates closely with Wageningen University & Research and other knowledge institutes, corporates, government organisations and investors. Since 2011 it has built, supported and funded 300+ startups, in bringing breakthrough technologies, to market.

Collaboration with Lidl: organises innovative pitching event

Supermarket chain Lidl is looking for suppliers and startups that create innovative products for Lidl to sell in 2019. During the new theme week, Lidl will present a number of products that are new, healthy and/or very sustainable.

Suppliers and startups can register until 16 September, after which they will be invited for a selection day. “Those who are invited to the selection day are asked to pitch their product and, for example, tell the jury how they came up with the idea,” says Christine Braun from Lidl Netherlands.

For years now, Lidl has been organising theme weeks to promote Italian, French, or Spanish products, to name just a few. In the spring of 2019, the chain will introduce a new theme. “We want to keep surprising our clients, this time with products that are very sustainable or highly innovative. To help us, we’re looking for producers and startups that we can help and guide towards production,” says Braun. “The idea is to sell the products during the theme week, which is unique. Should a theme week product be very popular, we will of course consider adding it to our core product range,” Braun continues.


For this project, Lidl is collaborating with StartLife, which helps the supermarket chain to select the startups. StartLife is the leading European Food & Agtech incubator. Marloes Groenewegen, Director of Operations at StartLife: “With this project Lidl can really help startups, precisely because a regular purchasing order is issued long before goods have to be delivered. This pushes startups to speed up and can help them launch their products

Depending on the number of applications, Lidl will decide how many startups are to be invited to the selection day. The number of products to be sold during the theme week is also as yet unknown. “A good theme week ordinarily has between 30 and 50 products, but it’s still early days to put an exact number on it,” Braun emphasises.



New partner StartLife: PHW Group! PHW Group invests in young F&A talent

Wiesenhoff PHW partner agreement startLife

StartLife: PHW Group invests in young talent and innovative food as well as agricultural solutions

Rechterfeld / Wageningen, At the beginning of this year, the PHW Group entered into a strategic partnership with the Israeli startup SuperMeat, which specializes in the production of meat from cell cultures. This was followed by the announcement, which was made several weeks ago, that the family-run company from Lower Saxony has entered into a distribution partnership with the California-based company, Beyond Meat.

Today the PHW Group has announced that it is joining into a corporate partnership with StartLife and will continue its trend of promoting startups and innovative ideas, as well as providing strategic and cooperative support to young entrepreneurs. StartLife is the leading Food & Agtech incubator in Europe, supporting startups with its programmes, wide network, and early stage support. The company was co-founded by Wageningen University & Research and has sponsored and signed up more than 200 startups over the past five years alone.

“The high level and sheer excellence of the ideas that talented young people want to bring to market has made a great impression on me personally. Which is why we have deliberately decided to financially support StartLife. Furthermore, we will use our experience and network to advise young entrepreneurs and act as mentors in the poultry sector. At the same time, we as a family business will benefit from the innovative power of the startups by gaining an early insight into what business ideas are becoming more relevant,” explains Peter Wesjohann, CEO of the PHW Group.

The StartLife community consists of high-potential startups that bring innovative ideas to life in the food and agriculture sector. A good example of food technology is the development and cultivation of potato varieties that require fewer pesticides. This makes it possible to grow potatoes almost anywhere in the world as the varieties can be adapted to the local climate. But startups are also important in robotics, for example the development of a harvesting robot for the automated harvesting of fragile crops such as asparagus.

“The challenges of tomorrow’s global food supply require a radical approach to innovation in food and agriculture today. StartLife believes that thanks to their strength in innovation, startups are the driving force behind the food and agricultural innovations that are needed to meet future global food needs,” Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife.

About PHW Group
The PHW Group, based in Rechterfeld in Lower Saxony, employs 6,772 people and has a total turnover of around 2.48 billion euros producing and marketing high-quality poultry specialties such as chicken, turkey and duck under the Wiesenhof brand. Other areas of business include animal nutrition and animal health, as well as human nutrition and human health in a group of more than 35 independent companies. More information can be found here: www.phw-gruppe.de

Additional information:
Engel & Zimmermann AG
Management Consultancy for Communication
Maria Große Böckmann
Schloss Fußberg, Am Schlosspark 15, 82131 Gauting
Phone: 0049(0)89/89 35 633, Fax: 0049(0)89/89 39 84 29
Email: m.grosse-boeckmann@engel-zimmermann.de

Collaboration StartLife startups & Makro results in healthy burger

As part of StartLife’s cooperation with METRO, wholesale specialist Makro helped several food startups to develop their products further and prepare for market introduction. Together with Groentenbrood (bread with vegetables), Botanic Bites (vegan burgers based on vegetables) and  Organic Love (healthy mayonnaise based on vegetables), Makro created a super healthy burger: a tomato or seaweed burger, served on crispy carrot bread with delicious fresh garnish and pumpkin or carrot mayonnaise. The burger can be tried at the Makro Foodcourts now!

Makro shops in the Netherlands, startups can get a stage at the Network Squares. Read more about them (in Dutch) at https://www.makro-netwerkplein.nl/home.


The METRO AG is an internationally leading specialist in wholesale and food retail. METRO operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people around the world. In 2015/16, METRO achieved sales of around €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. More information is available at www.metroag.de/en.


Klasmann-Deilmann starts partnership with StartLife

corporate partner startlife klasmann-deilmann substrate horticulture

Supporting young entrepreneurs and innovative ideas | Aimed at finding innovations to promote horticulture

The Klasmann-Deilmann Group is increasing its activities to develop innovative product solutions for the professional horticulture sector. They have recently begun a partnership with the Dutch Food & Agri Accelerator StartLife, which is supported by Wageningen University & Research and hosts its headquarters at the Wageningen campus. The partnership will focus on co-operations with startups by promising sustainable innovations that can take horticulture to a next level.

In addition to Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, the official contract signing ceremony was attended by Ted Vollebregt, Managing Director of Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux, and Sjors Beijer, Project Manager at the Netherlands branch of the sales company. Both of them are responsible for innovation at Klasmann-Deilmann and therefore will engage in StartLife activities on campus.

The value of StartLife

In the run-up to the partnership, Klasmann-Deilmann has attended several events at the Wageningen Campus and talked to candidates from all over the world about their projects. “We are delighted with the diversity and intensity that Wageningen devotes to research and innovation,” said Norbert Siebels, Managing Director of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group.

“These young entrepreneurs and their excellent ideas deserve a chance – and we wish to give, at least some of them, that chance. We will have close contact with the startups by being present on campus to support the selected innovations that will help to advance horticulture for the industry and the entrepreneur.”

The value of Wageningen

Wageningen University & Research is one of the world’s most highly respected institutes in the field of agriculture and life sciences and one of its main research areas is commercial horticulture. StartLife is affiliated to the university and promotes graduates and young entrepreneurs whose startups work on promising projects with a practical focus.

Managing Director Jan Meiling comments on the partnership with Klasmann-Deilmann: “Growing media are still essential for the success of horticultural companies. In view of the company’s keen interest in research and development, we are confident that Klasmann-Deilmann is an ideal match for us and our startups. We are already looking forward to exciting joint projects which will lead to the development of innovative applications and sustainable growing media.”

About Klasmann-Deilmann

Klasmann-Deilmann is the leading group of companies in the international substrate industry, with subsidiaries and trade partners in more than 70 countries. Their substrates provide the basis for plant growth and for the success of horticultural companies. As an up-and-coming provider of renewable resources, they are also active in the renewable energy sector. In the 2016 financial year, they had a workforce of 940 employees and generated sales worth approximately EUR 186 million.

Partnership with SHIFT Invest

startlife startup partner shift invest florentine fockema

SHIFT Invest is an impact investment fund that invests in disruptive innovations within the field of agri, food, health and clean/biobased technologies. SHIFT Invest will share its knowledge, its investors Menzis, Rabobank, WUR, TU Delft, WWF and Topfonds Gelderland and the extensive network created by SHIFT’s team.

What makes SHIFT Invest unique is their focus on sustainability. The fund only invests in companies that have a positive impact on either the environment or on health. Florentine Fockema, investment partner at SHIFT Invest says “Our impact committee assesses each investment opportunity, to guarantee the importance of the company’s innovation in terms of sustainability”. SHIFT invests in both early phase as well as later phase companies and looks for companies that can make a significant change in their value chain.

Florentine Fockema shift invest startlife startup partner“Our impact committee assesses each investment opportunity, to guarantee the importance of the company’s innovation in terms of sustainability”


Florentine: “our partnership with StartLife is of dual benefit. It enables us to connect to StartLife’s agri-food ecosystem and it provides us with a good starting point to invest in seed and early stage innovative companies. StartLife is an excellent incubator for agri-food startups.”

The fund management of SHIFT is New Balance Impact Investors (NBI-Investors). They also manage Dutch Greentech Fund and Mainport Innovation Fund I & II.

SHIFT Invest aims to be present at the StartLife partner room on Thursdays every two weeks. Please, contact SHIFT if you would like drop by for questions.


StartLife and METRO sign partnership agreement

On 6 March StartLife signed a partner agreement with METRO in order to develop innovative FoodTech solutions. The company is represented in the Netherlands by its wholesale sales line Makro. Until 1st of March 2020 StartLife and METRO will cooperate on supporting startups.

Get in touch with METRO/MAKRO

The METRO Wholesale & Food Specialist Company (W&FS Co.) is an internationally leading specialist in wholesale and food retail. With its sales lines METRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as its other associated companies, METRO W&FS Co. operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people around the world. In 2015/16, METRO W&FS Co. achieved sales of around €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. More information is available at www.metroag.de/en.

Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, on the importance of this partnership for both parties: “Food wholesale and retail companies have been selling their food products in the same way for thirty years or more, but this is about to change. Companies try to anticipate this change, but to do so they need insight into new technology and new, often shorter, logistics lines. The cooperation enables access to the disruptive innovations our startups are working on, from new food products to new ways of delivering or presenting products.” According to Fabio Ziemssen, Head of Food Innovation, the partnership benefits both parties. “It gives startups linked to StartLife access to the stores of wholesale and retail sales lines of METRO, providing them with the opportunity to test their products in a real environment. Whilst our professional customers will gain new business ideas and opportunities through enlarged and innovative assortment”.

With the partnership, METRO is also officially partnering with F&A Next, the match & deal-making event for Food & Agri startups held at the Wageningen Campus every May. From the METRO side the cooperation will be executed by the team of HoReCa.digital, as FoodTech innovation is one of the major areas of work of the newly created subsidiary.

If you would like to get in touch with METRO or Makro, please send an emailMarloes Groenewegen.

Metro group

Partners: StartLife, Rabobank & BDO Accountants

StartLife, Rabobank and BDO accountants sign a three year partnership deal

Op 22 september ondertekenen StartLife, Rabobank en BDO accountants een driejarige samenwerkingsovereenkomst ingaande per 1 oktober 2016. 

Jan Meiling, directeur StartLife: ‘Wij zijn enorm trots onze eerste twee premium partners te mogen verwelkomen. Deze partnerships zullen zorgen voor een intensieve samenwerking met StartLife Startups én met StartHub Wageningen bij het ondersteunen van de startup gemeenschap binnen de sector Food en Agri’.

Samenwerking Rabobank en BDO accountants

Ben Smeenk, Rabobank Vallei & Rijn: ‘Wij willen in de Food Valley innovatief ondernemerschap een boost geven. Juist omdat in deze regio veel vernieuwende ideeën ontstaan.

Om daaraan invulling te geven heeft de Rabobank het platform ‘Teckle’ gelanceerd. Adviseurs van het Teckle-team helpen innovatieve ondernemers bij het realiseren van hun plannen.

Daarnaast zorgt het partnership met StartLife ervoor dat we met een Teckle-adviseur op de incubator ruimtes op de campus  aanwezig zijn om ondernemers (in spé) met raad en daad bij te staan.

“BDO vindt het belangrijk een actieve rol te spelen bij maatschappelijk relevante ontwikkelingen binnen de Foodsector. Binnen deze samenwerking zal BDO concreet bijdragen aan de ontwikkeling en coaching van innovatieve startups in de Food Valley”, zegt Dick den Braber CEO van BDO. “Wij zien er naar uit samen met StartLife verder te investeren in de toekomst van Food Valley”.

Opening nieuw kantoor Wageningen 22 september 

Naast het ondertekenen van de contracten vindt op donderdag 22 september om 16.00 uur ook de feestelijke opening van het nieuwe StartLife kantoor plaats door de heer dr. IJ.J.H. (Tijs) Breukink, lid raad van bestuur van Wageningen University & Research.

StartLife nodigt u hiervoor van harte uit.

Voor programma en aanmelding, kijk op www.start-life.nl/events

Locatie nieuw kantoor StartLife 

Gebouw Plus Ultra
Bronland 12h
6708 WH Wageningen

Plus Ultra is het nieuwe incubator en bedrijfsverzamelgebouw (7.000 m2) op de campus waar startende, en kennisintensieve technologische bedrijven in de agro- en food-industrie een plek krijgen voor onderzoek en innovatie. Het prachtige centrale atrium is het kloppend hart van het gebouw van vijf bouwlagen met diverse ontmoetingsruimten, vergaderplekken, pantry’s, flexwerkplekken en een aantal bedrijfsloketten om de startende bedrijven te ondersteunen. ‘StartLife heeft twee kantoren op de vierde verdieping, waarvan een flexruimte waar straks onder andere inloopspreekuren plaats vinden tussen startups en onze nieuwe partners’, aldus Meiling.

Over StartLife en StartHub Wageningen

StartLife stimuleert ondernemerschap en ondersteunt startende ondernemers in de sector Food en Agri. StartLife bouwt continu aan haar relatienetwerk en samenwerkingsverbanden en biedt een compleet aanbod van onderwijsactiviteiten, netwerken en actieve ondersteuning en coaching van starters en jonge innovatieve bedrijven.

StartHub Wageningen is dé broedplaats voor (PhD) studenten op de campus van Wageningen University & Research, die een eigen onderneming willen starten. StartHub Wageningen biedt studenten ondersteuning bij de ontwikkeling van hun idee tot en met kantoor- en experimenteerruimte voor hun eigen bedrijf.

Noot voor de redactie

Voor meer informatie neemt u contact op met de heer Jan Meiling, directeur StartLife te Wageningen, telefoonnummer 0317-486103, jan.meiling@start-life-oud.inthemake.nl