Next-Gen Startups Represent a New Wave of Sustainable Solutions for Aquaculture, Animal Health, Crop Production, Supply Chain and Plant-Based Nutrition

Basel, Switzerland | 18.02.2020 — Thought For Food (TFF) is pleased to announce the 10 Finalist Teams of the 2019/20 TFF Challenge, as well as 5 teams to take part in the inaugural TFF Boost Program.

Led by top entrepreneurs hailing from Bangladesh, Canada, Cameroon, Colombia, Brazil, Denmark, France, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela, the teams selected as finalists are as diverse as the solutions they have developed.

The TFF Challenge Finalists and TFF Boost Teams have developed locally-relevant solutions that improve food systems by leveraging cutting-edge technologies like biotech, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and blockchain, as well as open and inclusive business models that incorporate circular economy principles.

In 2020, TFF is focusing its efforts on bringing global awareness, collaborative innovation efforts, and investment opportunities specifically to the ASEAN region. Positioned as a global call for sustainable and inclusive food system solutions, the TFF Challenge has helped discover six highly-promising projects with team members from ASEAN countries, who have been chosen to join the ranks of the 10 best teams.

Meet the 10 Finalist Teams of the 2019/20 TFF Challenge (in alphabetical order):

  • Aglonera (Indonesia): online marketplace connecting food trucks with farmers and breeders in order to save time and costs, while improving the quality, nutrition and sustainability of food provisions.
  • AIT Group Poultry Farmers Management Systems/ PFMS (Cameroon): Artificial intelligence (AI)- powered mobile application to connect poultry farmers with veterinarians in order to diagnose and treat animal illness and help predict disease outbreaks.
  • Banoo (Indonesia): aquaculture solution that integrates a microbubble generator, IoT sensor, solar panel, and mobile application to increase productivity, while reducing environmentally-damaging water waste.
  • BumbleChain (New Zealand/Canada): blockchain-based, plug-and-play supply-chain verification system to help prevent fraud, increase transparency, and improve economic opportunities for sustainable honey producers.
  • CBA Sementes (Brazil): automated aeroponic system to produce high-quality, disease-free potato seeds, while also reducing overall production time and costs.
  • microTerra (Mexico): low-cost, modular water treatment system that uses microalgae to convert agricultural wastewater into nutritious animal feed in an environmentally- sustainable manner.
  • Neurafarm (Indonesia): AI-powered crop diagnostic tool to provide early detection and treatment recommendations for diseases and pests, targeting smallholder farmers.
  • SyntheSea (Malaysia/Global): sustainable, cost-effective solution for producing omega-3 nutrients from plant oil precursors for use in fish feed.
  • WTH Foods (Philippines): plant-based, nutritious and delicious food products made from valorized bumper crops that are sourced directly from local growers, processed to minimize waste streams, and delivered to customers in sustainable packaging.
  • Xilinat (Mexico): biotechnology-based process to create xylitol, a natural sugar substitute that can be used to combat diabetes and obesity, by using agricultural waste sourced from poor farmers.

The 10 TFF Challenge Finalist Teams will now take part in the TFF Academy, an intensive virtual and in-person startup acceleration program, where they will receive mentorship and training from experts to further develop their concepts by gathering customer feedback, building their organizational structures and sharpening their business models.

They will then pitch their startups live on the TFF Summit stage in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the chance to win up to $25,000 in grant funding, as well as multiple in-kind prizes from TFF and partners. The TFF Academy and TFF Summit are organized in partnership with Sunway Group, iLabs, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation and the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).

In addition to the 10 TFF Challenge Finalist Teams, TFF has selected 5 additional advanced startups to join its new TFF Boost program, an initiative that focuses specifically on supporting startups with storytelling, industry connections, and team-building. The 5 startups selected to take part are:

  • Agricycle Global (USA/Global): fully-traceable dried fruit snacks, flours and charcoals produced using a fully vertically-integrated supply system approach incorporating circular economy principles.
  • AgriMatch (Malaysia): mobile application that increases transparency about the practices of rice middleman, creating equal access to opportunities across the agri-value chain.
  • GeoPotato (Bangladesh): SMS and voice-based service for farmers that uses satellite and weather data to send alerts and recommendations regarding possible late blight attacks.
  • GrowCab (UK): low-cost, open-source benchtop plant growth cabinets that can be used to shorten plant generation times and accelerate the breeding of crops.
  • Smart Agrometer (Lithuania): hand-held device to measure what specific nutrients are missing for plant growth at certain stages of its vegetation, which makes specific recommendations for nutrient application to save costs and increase sustainability.

TFF has also partnered with the Food Lab Accelerator at Google, reNature Foundation and Beta.Space to offer special prizes in circular economy, agroforestry and space colonization (respectively). The winners of these topical prizes will be announced in the coming days.

This year’s record-breaking TFF Challenge included more than 5200 participants from 175 countries, demonstrating the commitment of the next generations towards purpose-driven, impact-focused innovation and entrepreneurship. The submissions were evaluated based on their potential for positive impact, as well as on their scientific and business feasibility.

“The number of high-quality entries into the TFF Challenge has skyrocketed this year—thanks in large part to the amazing efforts of our Regional Coordinators and Ambassadors, who serve as our local “boots on the ground,” connecting the most innovative people and impactful startups into our programs and global community. This has been dubbed the decade of action, and it is exciting to see that next-generation leaders are stepping up to build the solutions their future depends on. TFF is here to ensure that they have a platform to accelerate and scale their locally-relevant solutions in order to achieve transformative global impact,” states Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of Thought For Food.

Join us

Hear the Finalist Pitches live on stage!

Interested in meeting these top 10 Finalist Teams and seeing who will take home the prizes? Be sure to join us at the next TFF Summit! More details will be released shortly on our social media channels @thoughtforfoodorg (Twitter: @thoughtforfood_).