As part of the global scouting tour for cutting edge food innovation and technology, the Foodforward team had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Israel, home to one of the most rapidly growing and dynamic startup environments in the world. The team took an ecosystem discovery tour to better understand Israel’s food and ag tech scene, and to meet some of the influential investors, startups, and institutions that are quickly turning Israel into one of the global hubs for food and ag innovation.
The first part of the trip involved meeting some of the most important players in the Israeli food and ag tech sector and getting a sense of the relationship between private and public sectors, a relationship which makes Israeli innovation particularly interesting. The team met with Nadav Berger, partner at Peakbridge Ventures. As a third generation food entrepreneur, Berger specializes in building companies focused on food applications, marketing, and distribution. In 2008, he founded FoodLab, whose innovative developments led to the founding of FoodLab Capital, a seed fund with a highly successful portfolio of food tech companies. We also met Adi Vagman, Managing Director of AgriNation, a venture fund that leverages lucrative technological opportunities and diverse portfolio of Israeli agritech and food tech innovative ventures. Vagman is one of the only women in the world to found an agritech based VC fund, and her extensive experience and unique perspective makes her a valuable source of ideas on innovation. Finally, Foodforward met with Carmit Oron and the team behind Israel 2020, a country wide initiative led by Erel Margelit, who is building an innovation hub in Galilee to promote sustainable land use, food and ag tech, and resilient technology for the next generation.
The next leg of the trip involved scouting some of the most important bases for startups to gather and work on developing their ideas in food and ag tech, and to hear about their upcoming projects, to help build the Foodforward knowledge base. One of the most interesting stops was at The Kitchen Hub, an incubator funded by both the Israeli government and the Strauss group, a huge multinational food company and one of the largest supporters of food innovation in the country, that invests in startups and helps them grow through pilot projects and a venture division. We attended a ‘Clean Meat Meetup’ promoted by the Kitchen, the Good Food Institute, and Israel 2020, where we had a chance to see the enormous progress being made in cellular agriculture and clean meat and to look at the various projects that are working on solutions in this area. Finally, we were introduced to Startup Nation Central, an enormous database of Israeli innovation that brings the entire ecosystem together to share ideas and develop new projects in all areas of the food chain, from omnichannel to ag tech to cooking apps.
Israel is brimming with cutting edge technology and is embracing innovation all over the country, and connecting with the ecosystem was one of the most rewarding experiences that the Foodforward team has had. This was the first of what will surely be many visits, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
Written by Seeds&Chips