Rabobank, ScaleUpNation and FoodValley partner to boost food and agri scale-ups

Rabobank, ScaleUpNation and Foodvalley NL announced today the launch of ScaleUpFood: a comprehensive support program dedicated to scaling entrepreneurial ventures in food and agriculture.

“Climate change, global population size and waste – are all opportunities for innovative, technology-driven enterprises throughout the value chain”, says Menno van Dijk, founder of ScaleUpNation. “Though many startups are launching and exist for some years, only those that scale will move the needle in terms of impact and economic value creation.” Research by ScaleUpNation shows that less than 1% of early stage companies make it to $10 million annual revenues within 5 years. Scaling can be even more challenging in food and agriculture. The agrifood sector differs from other with respect to innovation speed and implementation due to growing seasons, long sales cycles, conservative customers and complicated regulation.

Though the Netherlands has historically been a center of food innovation, this future is far from guaranteed – investment in innovative early stage companies lags behind other countries and too few of our young, promising food and agri companies manage to scale. “In food and agri the Netherlands has always been scale-up country, testimony our position of 2nd largest food exporter in the world. But many products have commoditized”, says Roger van Hoesel, Director FoodValley. “This partnership will create a new wave of food and agri scale-ups focused on technology and sustainability.”

Game changing solutions

Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director, Rabobank Food and Agri Innovation, says: “Current food production systems are simply unsustainable, even with today’s population. The need for true innovation in the food & agri value chain is bigger than ever before. Many leading food & ag corporates are realizing that fine tuning of their existing research and development may no longer be sufficient to keep up. If we wish to turn today’s new ideas and technologies into tomorrow’s game-changing solutions, we need to support the most promising early stage companies in scaling to disrupt a traditional and inefficient industry”. Rogier Raaijmakers, Head of Rabobank Direct Investments, adds: “The Netherlands is a frontrunner in innovation, but clearly lagging in access to sufficient scale-up capital. With our networks, expertise and capital, we are fully committed to strengthen the global F&A innovation ecosystem, as well as the Dutch ecosystem around innovation and fast growing companies. The ScaleUpFood initiative clearly fits this ambition and we are determined to make it a success.”

Engaging top Dutch corporates

ScaleUpFood will address venture scaling challenges first by carrying out ongoing factbased research to uncover the success factors of global food and agri scale-up companies. Then, the invite-only support program starting in October addresses areas specific to food and agri scale-ups like strategic selling to large corporates, specialized finance, and data driven business model extensions. The program engages top Dutch corporates and innovative mid-caps for collaboration with the scale-ups. After the program, qualified ventures will be invited for longer term tailored support, collaboration opportunities and access to series-B level funding.

Anieke Wieringa, Director of ScaleUpFood, explains: “Entrepreneurs who have made it to the scale-up stage in food and agri are the best of the best. But what got them here will not get them to the next level. We’re looking forward to unlocking significant growth opportunities with our first class this fall.”

Published: 25 July 2019, 11:00 CET

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