Beeplay, Edamam, Healthy Choice Supermarkets, Memora, CityVeggy, Hemav, Fita, Instagreen, Foodif and Vaffle are the names of the projects that have been accepted into the Prometheus acceleration programme. They are from 7 different countries, led by entrepreneurs of 12 different nationalities and will push toward disruptive innovation in the food sector in this edition of the programme.
Artificial intelligence, deep learning, big data, nutrigenetics, aeroponics and drones are just some of the emerging technology that will become commonplace and start to be linked to food over the coming years.
In economic terms, the food sector is booming, as food and beverage companies around the world have attracted 1.1 billion dollars in venture capital in the first half of 2014, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Online grocery sales are expected to hit 18 billion dollars by the end of 2018, according to the business research service at Business Insider.
The projects selected deal with substantial disruptive innovations like an app that uses big data to generate powerful insights for food companies regarding time of consumption, a platform with 1.2 million recipes adapted to specific taste and nutritional preferences, and a supermarket that adapts to the customer’s genome.
There are also solutions for eating habits, like visualising behaviour and interactions with food on a tiny 360º camera that takes a shot every thirty seconds or personalised gourmet meals for under €15 delivered in less than 20 minutes. Other projects propose ground-up solutions, with a system based on drones that optimise harvest performance and quality, an online network of nutritionists that (like in the film ‘Her’) become our nutritional advisor anticipating our decisions, the chance to eat vegetables grown right at the restaurant, and a smart agriculture platform that brings together all the best agricultural practices.
“Remember the name of these start-ups, because with Prometheus our aim is to create, train and advise potential food innovators to design, produce and distribute ground-breaking projects around the world. All of this while seeking to attract foreign capital, drive economic growth and help our start-ups and technology tackle key issues like childhood malnourishment and food waste,” explained Marius Robles, co-founder and CEO of Reimagine Food.
The acceleration programme features noteworthy start-up founders, consultants and chefs, as well as executives from Pepsico, Danone, Domino’s Pizza, Borges, Areas, Bimbo, Lekue, and Gallina Blanca, among other top industry stakeholders. Other participants include venture capital funds like Caixa Capital Risc, consultancy firms like Deloitte and OgilvyOne, the Esade and IESE business schools, and institutions like Barcelona Global and Alimentaria.
After spending a year identifying more than 1,400 food&tech start-ups around the world, Reimagine Food refined its search to select start-ups that can bring about a true revolution in the food value chain, with an impact on their corresponding countries of origin a well as global solutions.
The start-ups, in depthBeeplay is a Spanish start-up whose community of users employ a geolocation app to carry out tasks for food and beverage companies, like store checks, mystery shopping and surveys, receiving an amount of money in return depending on the requirements of the activity selected.
Edamam offers 1.2 million of the best recipes on the web, which can be filtered by number of calories and type of diet, thanks to sophisticated algorithms that categorises the recipes in real time, and shared with friends and on social media, paying by time used. This platform is omnipresent, as most people use specialised sites to look for recipes, but 41% and 33% turn to Pinterest and Twitter, respectively.
Healthy Choice Supermarket is a total disruption in the food sector, basing its food recommendations on each customer’s genomic traits, an individual study and initial cost that the company expects to offset with their customers’ long-term loyalty.
Genomic health is now within reach of the middle class and genetic health reports are “medical devices”. Based on their genome, customers will be able to purchase a personalised selection of food in person or online, as well as signing up for complementary services to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Memora proposes monitoring users’ diet with a clip-on camera, worn on the user’s shirt, that takes a photo every thirty seconds, allowing them to monitor food habits and receive tailored suggestions. This interaction is also of great value for market studies.
As 32% of restaurant-goers take photos of their dishes, Memora aims to make smart use of this through deep learning technology to find out how we are affected by our constant interaction with food.
Cityveggy is the first fast-food app to offer a healthy, gourmet meal for under €15 delivered within 20 minutes of ordering with the option to choose, order and pay on the app, website or social media pages.
High integration with social media platforms that lead to the "one-click“ payment page boosts visibility, updates customers daily and simplifies the purchase experience. To put it in context, Starbucks processes 5,000,000 payments in the USA each week through its app.
Hemav is a company devoted to providing solutions using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones) in the civil sector. According to a 2013 study by McKinsey, the potential market for civil applications for drones will be roughly 0.2-1.9 trillion Euro by 2050.
In this context, Hemav offers farmers the opportunity to create aerial maps with information on each piece of land and crop. These are snapshots of the status of different parts of the same plot at 1/3 market price, cutting crop-care costs for farmers.
Fita is a Peruvian start-up that provides a premium service connecting subscribers with nutrition experts and top food shops. It features geolocation maps and personalised nutrition products. To do so, it has a network of more than 50 nutritionists who are participating actively to develop the project.
According to a study by the Peruvian Gastronomy Society (APEGA), Peruvian cuisine moves approximately 1.5 billion dollars abroad and there are more than 400 Peruvian restaurants in the United States alone."
Instagreen is developing the concept of natural, organic farming, which has only been around for the past twenty years but is already a 30-million-dollar market according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
This start-up based in Barcelona and the Netherlands has developed a food-on-demand service that uses aeroponic technology to grow vegetables at a central location, from which they are distributed to the customers’ local units where they continue growing until harvested fresh. Clients pay a monthly fee for the service, which improves quality and consumer experience while cutting waste.
Foodif is the name of the platform deigned by Chilean entrepreneurs to boost agricultural productivity through recommendations, which will generate the largest database of local agricultural knowledge to ensure everyone has access to nutritious, healthy foods. The business model includes software subscriptions and acquiring packages.
Vaffle was created in India, a 100-billion-dollar fast-food market, and is designed as a win-win service for restaurant owners and customers. Owners attract new customers, branding for their restaurants, and consumers get incremental deals for each purchase, of which Vaffle receives 10%.
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Anna González, Comms Manager
Verónica Garcia, Operations Manager