European FoodNexus Startup Challenge

European FoodNexus Startup Challenge


The European FoodNexus Startup Challenge is a challenge for food & agtech startups in seven EU countries that aims to offer growth opportunities to the startups by fostering collaboration with leading food & agri corporates. The challenge is initiated by the FoodNexus consortium, and organized by StartLife.

On the 13th of December the finals of the European FoodNexus Startup Challenge took place in Wageningen! Here, 15 of Europe’s best food & agtech startups pitched for a chance to win €50,000. Moreover, all 15 startups have worked with Unilever, FrieslandCampina and the other corporate partners in a two-day bootcamp.

Check out our online magazine for a review of this year’s edition of the European FoodNexus Startup Challenge.

Impression 2017

13 December 2017 – EU Finals

Winner 2017

European Winner: Boreal Light (Germany)
Public Choice Award Winner: Urban Crop Solutions (Belgium)


11:45     Registration

12:30    Opening by Rens de Jong

12:35     Welcome by Louise Fresco, president Wageningen University & Research

12:40     Startup pitches by Natural MachinesYourLocalLe Champignon de BruxellesInsylo and Seamore.


13:10     Panel on Corporate-Startup Engagement with Rob Hamer (Director R&D Foods, Unilever), Frank Giezen (Founder & Managing Director, OJAH) and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.

13:35     Short networking break

14:00     Startup pitches by KuantomRevoilutionCeresconAnudairy and Melixa.


14:30     Intermezzo: keynote by Marjolijn Sonnema, Director General for Agro and Nature at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

14:40     Startup pitches by WyldssonBoreal LightAveineSensomind and Urban Crop Solutions.


15:10     Keynote: “the future of meat production” by Ira van Eelen, Member Advisory Board, Hampton Creek

15:25     Announcement of the winner

15:35     Networking reception

16:30    Closing


The jury

Adam Anders, Managing Partner, Anterra Capital
Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation, Arla Foods
Claudio Cenedese, Technology Liaisons Manager, Electrolux
Mathieu Rolland, M&A Director, Symrise
Riadh Shaïek, Partner, Emertec Venture
Laurent Genet, Corporate Development Director, Nutreco

The Timeline

The Challenge

Why join the challenge?

If you are selected, you have the opportunity to pitch your startup to a European audience of investors and corporates, for a chance to win €50K. The European finalists will receive additional mentoring and support on collaborating with corporate partners during a two-day bootcamp. This will prepare you for a potential partnership with one of the corporates in the challenge, who can help you as launching customer or R&D partner.

Criteria for startups

Please consider the following application criteria:

  • Your startup was founded at most five years ago
  • You have a multidisciplinary team with strong technical and business skills
  • Your business model and customer segment are clear
  • You have some initial market traction, or you have developed your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Your technology is unique, strong and applicable
  • Your startup is making global economic and societal impact within one of the ten key focus areas

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