As the world’s population grows, so too does the sector responsible for feeding an estimated 10 billion mouths by 2050.
And it’s not just multinationals innovating in this space. Agri-food start-ups around the globe are developing new ways to produce, distribute and store food for the future.
Start-ups are “helping the industry leverage external innovation to create a better food system as a whole,” Forward Fooding’s CEO and founder Alessio D’Antino told FoodNavigator. “We believe that one collaboration at a time, we can really change – or at least contribute to – creating a better food system.”
The founder is also convinced that technology can play a major role in changing “some of the broken dynamics” of this industry. From precision agriculture to sugar reducing food reformulation, “we think that technology is changing the whole supply chain and the traditional practices of upstream and downstream”.
In response to the ever-expanding growth of this sector, London-headquartered Forward Fooding has launched a database to help users navigate the agri-food tech space.
Connecting big and small players
Forward Fooding is a collaborative platform that aims to link start-ups with established industry players from the food and beverage industry. Such a link-up could come in the form of a professional partnership, an investment arrangement, or an acquisition opportunity, D’Antino explained.
“We select companies that we consider to be ‘scale-ups’,” he said, suggesting the most suitable start-ups are those that already generate an income. “A turnaround of around the £1m mark is the sweet spot for us to consider them. They are more credible when we put them in front of corporates,” D’Antino continued.
Forward Fooding’s latest platform adds yet another partnership-focused tool to its toolbox. According to the firm, the FoodTech Data Navigator is interactive, fully customisable, and “the first of its kind”.
“Forward Fooding envisions the FoodTech Data Navigator as a pivotal tool in helping businesses and individuals navigate the food tech landscape and discover the latest innovations, trends, funding information and movements from key start-ups, investors and accelerators across the globe” – Forward Fooding
The platform includes data from a wide range of sources, including the company’s own Global FoodTech Map – a free tool that offers access to approximately 2,500 start-ups around the world.
But whereas the Global FoodTech Map features agri-food start-ups only, the FoodTech Data Navigator “captures the whole ecosystem”, D’Antino told us. The platform “also includes investors, venture capital (VC) funds, accelerators, and incubators.
“The idea is that corporate customers, who struggle to really understand who the players in the ecosystem are, [can] keep track of ‘who is doing what’.”
Forward Fooding’s artificial intelligence tools have been programmed to check database entries, and ‘data enrichers’ add new companies and update information as it becomes available on the web. Data is also manually added to the FoodTech Data Navigator.
The platform, which works on a subscription model, will be an “enabler” to help build data intelligence for every company or every investor looking to get involved in the ecosystem, D’Antino continued.
In addition, the platform allows companies to add their own layers of data. “If you’re an investor who is meeting a lot of companies on a monthly basis, you can add these companies to your ecosystem to keep track of their development”, he explained. “New information can be pulled in every day.
“Down the line we are looking to integrate financial data, to analyse the performance of these portfolios.”