From blockchain to kombucha: 5 start-ups get backing from food accelerator
The five start-ups — 321 Cooking, Inspecto, OriginTrail, Papp’s Tea and Souprise — were unveiled on “Harvest Day 2” of the accelerator programme.
“Outcompeting over 100 applicants, these five teams hail from across China, Israel and Slovenia, bringing solutions that are shaping the future of food in areas that include food safety, nutrition, and sustainability,” said Matilda Ho, founder and managing director of Bits x Bites.
The event took place in Shanghai, China where the five demonstrated their business and product propositions to a roomful of 170 investors and food corporation representatives.
Bits x Bites offers up to US$500,000 worth of investment to each start-up.
In the programme, over a period of 120 days, Bits x Bites provides coaching, resource networking, and a co-working space in Shanghai to the chosen teams. The goal is to help these new food start-ups tap into the huge Chinese market and to scale their businesses.
“A few of them are now well on their way to reach their fundraising goals, and others are making great strides with potential channel or pilot partners,” said Ho.
The following are the five start-ups backed by Bits x Bites.
321 Cooking is China’s leading meal kit start-up, preparing and delivering affordable meals that require only a few simple steps for consumers to prepare. The chef-designed recipes change every week to make dinner planning a breeze.
The founding team is from XiaChuFang (“enter the kitchen”), China’s largest online recipe-sharing community with over 70 million active users per month.
Inspecto tackles food safety by developing new nanoscale contaminant detection technologies in a portable and easy-to-use device for the food and agriculture industries.
The new technology significantly improves existing contaminant testing processes in terms of cost, efficiency, convenience and frequency. Pilot programmes with leading food corporations in China and Israel have already commenced.
OriginTrail builds blockchain-based middleware technologies to enable interoperable and scalable solutions for food supply chain transparency. It is the first purpose-built protocol for supply chain data based on blockchain.
The interoperable supply chain data enables food suppliers to quickly detect contaminated food and pull it off the shelf.
This Slovenian team won the Walmart Food Safety Innovation Award in Beijing.
Papp’s Tea reinvents the tea category with China’s own probiotic-rich kombucha and a line of contemporary tea blends. Its products are already available at Hunter Gatherer, Wagas, Element Fresh, Sproutworks and other major stores across China.
Bits x Bites said that kombucha is one of the fastest-growing functional drinks in the world.
Souprise is a millennial-focused soup brand that transforms the traditional slow-cooked functional food into a new ready-to-eat product. It satisfies consumers’ desire for both health and convenience.
Bits x Bites invests in purpose-driven hardware, software, biotech, and even consumer packed goods start-ups in the food sector, “to shape the future of good food”.
Apart from coaching and capital, the start-ups get to learn essential skills to achieve product-market fit, refine their business ideas and “bring world-class execution” to build a sustainable purpose-and-profit business to tackle global food system challenges.
Application to Bits x Bites’ Harvest Day 3 is open until Dec 31.