Israeli foodtech incubator launches aiming to invest $282m in start-ups

The incubator will focus on milk and protein substitutes; improving nutritional value and personalised nutrition; novel raw materials; smart food packaging; cannabis, and Industry 4.0

Photo from Ourcrowd facebook page

Four companies have come together to launch their NIS 1 Billion "Fresh Start" FoodTech Incubator. The consortium, who won the tender to operate the FoodTech incubator from the Israel Innovation authority in June 2019, will invest in over 40 advanced technology start-ups that will drive the food industry.

Israel Minister of the Economy Eli Cohen, said via video message: "The FoodTech incubator in the North marks an important milestone in transforming Israel into a food technology superpower. In light of the success in the field of cybersecurity, medical devices and autonomous vehicles, we are targeting the FoodTech industry as our next goal."

The incubator will focus on advancing Food Technologies along the entire chain of the food and beverage industry, specifically in the following fields: milk and protein substitutes; improving nutritional value and personalised nutrition; innovative raw materials; smart food packaging; cannabis, and Industry 4.0, including IoT, AI, and Big Data.

The four companies setting up the Incubator are:

  • Finistere Ventures, a global agrifood investment leader
  • OurCrowd, one of Israel's most active venture investor
  • Tnuva, Israel's largest food manufacturer
  • Tempo Beverages, a leading Israeli beverage company

Kiryat Shemona Mayor Avihai Stern, said: "We are proud of the selection of Kiryat Shemona as the residence for the venture and expect that the venture will generate a national-level impact, both for Kiryat Shemona and for the Galilee as a whole. The incubator will offer additional tens of new workplaces for the residents of the town and the region and will inject a significant economic incentive to the region."

"Besides the establishment of the FoodTech centre in Kiryat Shemona, this unique technological incubator is a major milestone for the eastern Galilee, which will create significant economic value for the region, draw many investments, industries and human capital. We will keep promoting the industry in all of the periphery and in the northern periphery in particular. This task is the top priority of the Ministry of the Economy," Cohen added.

Local associations

Tnuva and Tempo, two of Israel's leading food and beverage companies already have existing operations in Northern Israel and will utilise this existing stronghold on the local food industry to advance the incubator's efforts.

Global food giants PepsiCo, Bright Food, and Heineken will be actively involved in the incubator offering their rich experience in research and development, innovative prowess, as well as their access to global markets.

The incubator will also work alongside leading research and academic institutions in northern Israel, including the Migal Galilee Research Institute in Kiryat Shemona, the Tel Hai College, the Northern Research and Development and others.

As part of the effort to strengthen the Galilee, "Fresh Start" will invest in the resources needed to draw in local entrepreneurs, as well as encourage other start-ups to relocate from other parts of the country to the Galilee. A new benefits package has been devised to encourage this relocation process, including assistance for purchasing homes and land, locating employment, child placement in schools and more.

40 start-ups and $282m

The consortium "Fresh Start" is currently reviewing several start-ups, with the aim of accepting its first company by the beginning of 2020. The consortium will operate the Fresh Start incubator over the next eight years with the goal of supporting approximately 40 start-ups.

It is expected that Fresh Start will invest NIS 200m (US$56m) in direct operational costs and in investments in the start-ups. The consortium will also take the lead on attracting follow on investments at an estimated NIS 800 m (US$226m) provided by partners in the consortium, venture capital funds and global companies.

On 24th September, the incubator will hold a FoodTech start-up competition, where the winners will benefit from a fast track entry process to the incubator (subject to due diligence and approval by the Innovation Authority).

Companies