In a recent live session, TFF Founder & CEO Christine Gould shared some tips and tricks for you to compete collaboratively with your peers and increase your chances to become one of the Finalist Teams.

Below you can find some conversation highlights, as well as the full recording of the session. Use the indicated times to jump to the respective question in the video. Now, sit back and listen along!

00.00 – Introduction from Christine

“The title of today’s AMA is “How to Win” but I do hope you realise that just by being part of TFF and stepping up to this challenge, you’re already a winner.”

02.00 – What stage startups are you looking for?

The TFF Challenge is an open competition, we ask a big question, how are we going to sustainably and inclusively feed 10 billion people by 2050? The question is big and broad. We invite teams to answer it in the way that they see fit, and at whatever stage they are with their project. We are really looking across the gamut for those stars and we have different categories this year. Basically, if you are innovating in the food and agriculture space—join us. The only thing I can say is that we’re not looking for just ideas or just concepts. We want to see actual business models, and potential for this to turn into startups and businesses.

04.27 – What solution areas are you looking for?

Again, the question that we ask is big and broad. So we encourage you to dive into the area that resonates most with you and solves a real challenge in your particular market that you’re trying to develop your startup in. Highlight the specific challenge that you are solving and how you’re doing it. For the TFF Challenge, we also have the solution areas for our special prize categories: The Circular Economy of Food Prize by Food Lab Accelerator at Google (FLAG), the Colonising Space Prize by Beta.Space (a SynBioBeta initiative) and the Regenerative Agriculture Prize by reNature.

Some of the top solution areas include:

  • Nutritious foods
  • Novel flavours and aromas
  • Alternative proteins
  • Regenerative agricultural production systems

Read more in the Participant Toolkit.

Keep in mind we’re not just looking at crop production, but also things like aquaculture and livestock production, controlled environment, agriculture, or urban farming, vertical farming, appropriate tech for smallholder farmers, and anything that has to do with transparent and inclusive supply chains. We had a Finalist Team that was bringing snail products to the market. So really the world is your oyster, you can go in any direction that you feel is solving the challenge of building a sustainable and inclusive food system and solves a real problem in your target market.

07.40 – Some of our teams are international, where they don’t necessarily live in the same country. How can they use that to their advantage?

What we try to really espouse here at Thought For Food is the fact that the next generation thinks and acts in different ways. We’re no longer constrained by the past way of innovating where you had to be in the same place or speak the same language, etc. Use that to your advantage, but still focus on solving a real problem. What are the problems that your customers face and how does your solution help them? Then, we want to understand the scalability potential. If your market is in Nepal, for example, help us understand, how your solution can work in Nepal or in surrounding countries and can grow so that the impact is achieved more profoundly in the world.

09.30 – How can teams tailor their solution to the special prizes and make sure that comes out in their application?

Everybody who submits a pitch to the TFF Challenge platform is eligible for the TFF Challenge prizes. We have the TFF Grand Prize, the TFF Runner Up prize, as well as all of the perks, plus sponsored travel to our program in Southeast Asia. In addition, you have the opportunity this year to opt into these topical prizes.  You can only choose one, and be sure that you are addressing the criteria in your pitch.

Be aware of the word and length limits to the content that you provide on the pitch submission page. We encourage you to do a draft of everything that you plan to submit separately. That way, you can edit in a document and then cut & paste it into the pitch submission page. The pitch submission page is final, you cannot go back in and edit once you’ve submitted, that’s a really important thing to consider.

25.18 – How can teams use Slack to their advantage?

Slack is the tool that we have right now to foster global collaboration. It’s a great chance to connect with our Core Team, our Regional Coordinators and with each other. Go on Slack, ask questions, talk to your peers, it’s your opportunity to share ideas, know-how and learnings in this collaborative spirit. Sure, you’re all competing in the TFF Challenge, but you’re still collaborating to make a difference in our food systems. So many of the solutions that we need to make a difference in our food systems must be built from the ground up, in particular markets and localities around the world.

27.22 – You mentioned mentoring. How does that work? How might that improve teams’ chances of winning?

Anytime you have the chance to connect with a mentor, the better. We have around 100 mentors who are experts in all kinds of areas that are relevant to food and agriculture, from some of the leading companies of the world, as well as universities, and startup founders, etc. They are allocating their time and experience to teams, based on questions and needs. Marie, our TFF Engagement Officer, facilitates the mentor introductions. This is the time to really seek that advice and counsel.

29.05 – Now for the big question: How do I win?

From the years of experience that TFF has in running these challenges, there is no one size fits all solution. How you win is by demonstrating impact and passion for the problem that you’re solving and what makes your solution extraordinary. We’re looking for the WOW-factor. Even if you’re not pitching a breakthrough technology and deep tech, or an IP protected solution; there has got to be something that sets you apart in the market. It can be your brand & reputation, your team, your market penetration or the fact that your customers just love you. Let us know what that is, and elevate it as your unique selling point.

We’re also looking for people who represent TFF’s values of trying to make a true impact through the attitudes of openness, collaboration and a deep understanding of the market’s needs. We don’t want to see a technology that could solve problems. We want to see a problem that your technology and innovation can solve, and why your team is the right one to do it. So much of TFF is about the attitude, passion, and authenticity you show us when presenting your pitch.

TFF Challenge

Sign up and pitch by January 31st, 2020!

Enjoy more live sessions like this one by signing up for the TFF Challenge on the TFF Digital Labs.