Organisations joining forces to develop next generation of crop nutrition and food tech start-ups
ICL, a leading global specialty minerals company, has partnered with start-up accelerator StartLife in its quest to invest in start-ups 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. Both organisations are fully geared toward accelerating the business development and growth of early stage start-ups, and this partnership enables them to advance in their shared mission.
Headquartered in Israel, ICL Planet Startup Hub 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 fertilisers or to develop innovative functional proteins for clean label applications, among others.
“ICL Planet Startup Hub seeks to establish a new generation of plant nutrition solutions, and our aim is to invest in start-ups, which 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 centred on disruptive AgriFood technologies and brings together start-ups, investors and corporates from all over the world.
“StartLife has a strong track record of spotting and attracting promising early stage start-ups globally, and its position at the heart of the European AgriFood tech 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.
StartLife’s Operations Director, Laura Thissen, said: “Through this partnership, StartLife aims to accelerate start-ups’ scaling journey and, at the same time, support ICL in finding the best start-ups, which match their innovation challenges. Our team is already identifying start-ups looking to partner and to help solve a piece of the innovation puzzle for Planet Startup. The scope includes crop nutrition, such as next generation fertilisers and biostimulants, but also precision farming and alternative proteins.”
Thissen added: “To boost innovation, StartLife actively connects start-ups 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.”
Start-ups have much to gain from a collaboration with ICL Planet Startup Hub, 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 Startup Hub is already an active investor in several AgriFood start-ups, most recently in alternative protein companies Plantible and Protera.