The accelerator has concluded the first closing of its investment fund, Europe Foodtech Acceleration Fund I SCSp, focusing on technology-based seed projects in the agri-food sector.

The new investment vehicle, worth 30 million euros, encompasses the Spain Foodtech and FoodSeed acceleration programs in Italy, with a third program set to launch soon in Europe.

 

Despite the global economic context, the Foodtech sector has demonstrated notable resilience in recent years. Innovative technologies and alliances among the entrepreneurial ecosystem, industry, and investors have facilitated the creation of efficient solutions to address significant challenges in the sector. As a result, the promotion of a new vertical in the food sector has been initiated, which not only offers investment and business opportunities but also generates a significant impact on the lives of people and the planet.

 

Eatable Adventures, one of the main Foodtech accelerators globally, has played a fundamental role in the creation and strengthening of these ecosystems, especially in Spain and Italy. These are crucial markets for the European food industry, with the agri-food sector playing a decisive role in the national economies of both countries. To support the accelerator’s activity in these countries, Eatable Adventures has unveiled the establishment of a new 30-million-euro investment vehicle, Europe Foodtech Acceleration Fund I SCSp, with the first closing already completed. Additionally, the accelerator has announced the initial investments made through this fund, totaling six million euros, encompassing nine leading Foodtech technological projects: Agreen Biosolutions, Agreenet, Hypesound, Foreverland, Néboda, Mmmico, Regrowth, Soonapse, and Trusty.

 

The selection of these projects has occurred within the framework of two national acceleration programs dedicated to fostering the implementation of innovative technological solutions in this sector: Spain Foodtech, implemented in Spain through a country program developed in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investments and CNTA; and FoodSeed, operating in Italy as part of the national network of CDP Venture Capital Sgr accelerators, where the accelerator serves as a co-investor and operational manager. Likewise, the investment vehicle will extend its coverage to a third European acceleration program, set to launch in the upcoming months. This expansion aims to amplify the influence of these technologies on an international scale.

“The experience that we have gained over these years in the Foodtech vertical offers us a complete and precise vision of the ecosystem, which has allowed us to select and invest in the startups with the greatest development potential and fit with the needs of the sector”, commented José Luis Cabañero, Founder and CEO of Eatable Adventures. “Incorporating technology and innovation is essential to increase production, optimize resources, and reduce the environmental footprint of the food system.”

In the historical portfolio of the accelerator, global references stand out such as Cocuus, a Spanish company that has developed the world’s first 3D bioprinting plant for products of plant origin and whose products have already reached the retail channel; Ekonoke, a global leader in the cultivation of hops in a climate-controlled agricultural environment and Moa Foodtech, a pioneer company in the production of protein biomass through fermentation techniques.

 

Nine investments boost the Foodtech sector on an international scale

The invested companies present disruptive solutions that tackle issues such as food waste, water resource scarcity, enhanced traceability, and transparency in vital industries, innovative alternatives for crop protection, and the production of new, more sustainable, and healthier ingredients, among other areas.

  • Agreen Biosolutions: a startup that proposes an innovative and efficient solution for the protection and nutrition of crops based on ozonated oils thanks to which it is not necessary to resort to chemical phytosanitary products.
  • Agreenet: an innovative startup that produces biomaterials and functional materials for the preservation and packaging of fresh foods. Their solution is Pìfresc, a small seal made from a plant-based biopolymer and designed to reduce the development of microorganisms in packaged fresh products, increasing their shelf life.
  • Hypesound: this startup has developed So’ Sweep, a technology that seeks to revolutionize the fermentation market using low-frequency sound waves that increase the reproduction of microorganisms by up to 300%.
  • Foreverland: this startup has developed Freecao, a new ingredient derived from carob, which reduces CO2 emissions by 80% and water consumption by 90% compared to cocoa production. In addition, it has 50% less sugar, making it a healthier option.
  • Néboda: an innovative startup that has developed a revolutionary automation technology that, applied to the vertical farming technique, allows the development of a high-density, low-cost cultivation system, maintaining high-quality standards and avoiding possible contamination.
  • Mmmico: a startup that has adopted a highly scientific approach, combining techniques such as fermentation, directed evolution, and artificial intelligence, to develop new natural ingredients that replace their synthetic analogs in record time and cost.
  • Regrowth: an innovative startup that develops cutting-edge Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) solutions to provide farmers with the necessary tools to improve their production, making it sustainable and efficient.
  • Soonapse: a startup that has developed Ploovium®, a patented AI solution for irrigation and water stress management, which provides a 5-day forecast of the water stress level of soils, crops, and the environment, with greater than 99% accuracy. 
  • Trusty: a startup specialized in blockchain-based traceability solutions for the agri-food sector, and specifically, for the cocoa industry. Its platform not only allows transparent transactions between responsible producers and the industry but also offers microfinancing opportunities.

Eatable Adventures has presented the data from its annual study “The State of Foodtech in Spain 2023”. The Foodtech accelerator has presented the fourth edition of this report, which reflects the reality of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this area and the evolution of the investment received throughout 2023.

The challenges linked to problems related to climate change, the exponential growth of the world’s population, and the increase in costs associated with food production continue to drive the development of new disruptive technological proposals that seek effective solutions to these challenges. In a global panorama affected by a deep crisis, the Spanish Foodtech ecosystem is positioned as one of the most dynamic, maintaining a census similar to last year, with 420 startups in 2023.

The Foodtech sector in Spain exhibits a notable geographical distribution with a presence in all the Autonomous Communities. Despite this dispersion, clear patterns are observed in entrepreneurs’ preferences for launching their projects. Madrid leads with 34.2%, experiencing an increase of 6.6 percentage points compared to the previous year. Catalonia continues in second place with 30.3%, reflecting an increase of 4.6 points. On the other hand, Andalusia registers a slight decrease of 2% with a total of 9.1%.

Food production and processing leads the way over other categories

In 2023, Spanish startups experienced changes in the distribution of categories. Agritech, which makes up 21% of the startups surveyed, experienced a decrease of 3%. On the other hand, the Food Production and Processing category leads with 41%, representing an increase of 6 percentage points compared to the previous year, driven by the growing demand for innovations in food production. The Retail and Logistics field (13%) has experienced a decrease of almost 12 percentage points compared to 2022. This change could indicate a redirection or reclassification of startups traditionally associated with distribution and logistics towards Delivery. The Restaurant Tech and Delivery sector (25%) shows continuous growth in technology related to restaurants and deliveries, absorbing part of the startups that were previously classified in the Retail and Logistics category.

When breaking down into subsectors, in the field of Agritech, the three main categories experienced a reduction, favoring segments such as robotics and water management, which showed slight growth, however, crop automation systems continue to be the preeminent area. Regarding Food Production and Processing, there is an increase of 10.5 percentage points in the creation of new products with innovative ingredients, which suggests that startups are responding to the growing market demand for more innovative foods. In the retail sector, there is a growth of almost 8 percentage points in smart labels, while new sales channels decrease in favor of the increase in analytical platforms. Regarding the Restaurant Tech sector, management platforms maintain their leadership, closely followed by online marketplaces and startups specialized in delivery.

The startups have small teams, a prominent female representation, and preserve their technology with trade secrets

When analyzing the composition of startup teams, the study indicates that they are characterized by smaller teams compared to the national average, with 60% of surveyed startups having a team of 1 to 5 employees. As for female representation, it is noteworthy that 36% of surveyed startups have a woman as a partner, a very positive figure considering the national average, which is only 18%.

The technological development of a startup is undoubtedly one of the most relevant aspects for its success. According to the study, 28% of surveyed startupshave at least one patent, and 35% use trade secrets, representing a 5 percentage point increase from the previous year. Regarding the most used technologies, biotechnology stands out, experiencing significant growth since 2022.Regarding technological maturity (TRL), it is highlighted that the majority of startups demonstrate a considerably high level of development, indicating a strong position in technological terms. Despite this success, the challenge arises to maintain constant innovation to remain relevant in a competitive and ever-evolving environment.

Slowdown in global investment: Spain emerges as one of the most resilient ecosystems

The current geopolitical context and the economic crisis have had significant repercussions, in terms of investment at a global level, in all sectors. Regarding Foodtech, global investment reached approximately 27.4 billion euros in 2022. When comparing the second quarter of 2022 with the same period in 2023, a drop of 61% is evident, falling from 5.9 billion dollars to 2.3 billion dollars.

In the Spanish context, a more encouraging scenario is seen despite a slight reduction in total investment. Spanish Foodtech startups managed to secure a total of 226 million euros in 2023, representing a decrease of only 16% compared to the previous year. However, this slight drop, much more moderate than the global slowdown trend, points to the strength and resilience of the ecosystem at the national level.

Regarding the investment phase of startups, stability is observed in the pre-seed and seed rounds, indicating the continued attraction of the sector for national and international investors. In 2023, startups in the seed phase were the majority, representing approximately 38.9%, followed closely by pre-seed phases, which constituted around 29%.

Among the main national investors, Capsa Vida stands out, which has supported baïa, entomo agroindustrial, GrinGrin, and nucaps; BeHappy Investments, which has opted for Harbest Market and Hunty; and Clave Capital, which has invested in Deep Detection and Groots. Eatable Adventures has consolidated its position as a prominent investor in Spain, supporting Bio2Coat, mmmico, and Néboda, all of them accelerated in the Spain Foodtech program. On the other hand, the Spanish ecosystem also continues to attract the attention of prominent international investors, such as ProVeg Incubator, North South Ventures, Big Idea Ventures, and Bynd Venture Capital, among others.

When analyzing the most outstanding tools for growth, startups are aligned: learn from the best success stories, facilitate access to public aid, increase media visibility, establish “co-investment” agreements, and collaborate closely with the food industry.

 

“In the year 2023, the Spanish Foodtech ecosystem has overcome critical challenges, facing the repercussions of the global economic crisis. Despite the slight slowdown in total investment, this period has marked a crucial milestone for the sector. We have not only witnessed the resilience of our ecosystem but also the consolidation and market launch of disruptive technologies, as has been the case of the arrival to the Retail channel of the first 3D bio-printed vegetable bacon by Cocuus and Foody’s. This achievement highlights the technological robustness of Spain, reaffirming its prominent position in the international Foodtech field,” commented Mila Valcárcel, Managing Partner of Eatable Adventures. To continue consolidating Spain’s strategic role in the Foodtech panorama, however, a greater drive in investment and more strategic collaboration between all the key agents of the food system is needed “If we want to be truly competitive against the most developed international ecosystems We need to be more ambitious and have a vision of the future of this sector that is so strategic for Spain. It is essential to put greater effort into investment and collaboration with the industry, but also to have greater support at the institutional level and to have a strategy aligned between territorial and national initiatives.”

For more information, download the report here

The Spanish startup Innomy has raised 1,3 million euros in its Pre Series A funding round. The round was led by international investors as Corporación Cervino, Rockstart, Zubi Capital, Eatable Adventures and the National Center for Technology and Food Safety (CNTA), who have taken equity stakes in the company to scale the startup’s disruptive technology and promote a much more sustainable and healthier protein consumption alternative in other markets.

The leading Argentinian team, composed by CEO and co-founder Juan Pablo de Giacomi, biotechnologist COO and co-founder Pablo Sánchez Rey, and mycologist CSO and Technology Partner Francisco Kuhar, has dedicated years of research to the properties of mushroom-based proteins and their benefits for the health of people and the planet.

Innomy is the third foodtech Spanish startup announcing its first funding round after successfully completing the acceleration program Spain Foodtech developed by Eatable Adventures, in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investment and the National Center for Technology and Food Safety (CNTA) and the Rockstart AgriFood program. Disruptive startups Cocuus and Moa Foodtech were also selected in Spain Foodtech program.

Juan Pablo de Giacomi, CEO and founder of Innomy states “We were born as a platform to channel many years of research in the field of the properties of edible mushrooms. Our mission is to respond to consumers that demand good food products for their health but also for the planet’s wellbeing. We want to reach new markets and bring our product to thousands of people”.

Mycelium, a filamentous, protein-rich ingredient extracted from the root structure of mushrooms is considered to be one of the most promising sources of protein for the future. Its quality in terms of nutrition was recognized by scientists a long time ago, but its current production for human consumption is not yet widespread. Furthermore, the fact that fungi do not produce cholesterol or significant amounts of saturated fats has redirected the attention of the food industry towards them.

On the other hand, José Luis Cabañero, CEO and founder of Eatable Adventures notes “We are very proud to be part of this new milestone that consolidates the leadership of the Spanish foodtech ecosystem. In the last few months, we have managed to raise Funding rounds of an average of 1.8M for three of the startups that have been selected in our acceleration program. We continue to bet on disruptive technologies that impact the way food is produced and consumed, ensuring food safety for all”.

Mark Durno, Managing Partner AgriFood of Rockstart said: “At Rockstart, purpose driven and determined founders are central to our investment selection. In the case of Innomy, the founding team is composed of specialists in mycelium and have all shown amazing commercial insight and humble curiosity during the mentor sessions throughout our accelerator program. We are delighted to make our second investment in the company.”

“With the entry into the capital we formalize the collaboration we have maintained in recent years to develop Innomy’s proprietary technology. And now, with this financial injection, it will be possible to bring this technology to the market and continue contributing to transforming the future of food to make it healthier, more sustainable, safer and available to everyone,” said Héctor Barbarin, CEO of CNTA.

In the context of the current global environmental and demographic challenges, meat alternatives, such as mycelium, are an effective solution to reduce meat production effects, which are responsible for almost 60% of all greenhouse gasses generated by food production, according to FAO data.

Innomy has been awarded in the fourth edition of the ‘Ingenia Startup Awards’, promoted by the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), the Technology Platform Food for LifeSpain (PTF4LS) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). In addition, it has been a finalist in the Foodtech Heroes 2022 in the F&A category and has been chosen as one of the top 15 foodtech startups according to El Referente.